Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²)

Application Procedure

    Combining a PhD degree with a full-time job? The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) offers a programme that supports the ambitions and intensifies the research and analytical skills of fellows. The training programme invites GPAC² fellows to join the stimulating and challenging research community of UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

    GPAC² meets the needs and availability of working professionals and researchers with full- or part-time jobs, allowing them to combine their careers with obtaining a PhD. The programme is designed to provide advanced training in the theory and skills crucial to policy analysis and design. The research that participants will focus on fits into one of the School’s research themes. The key lecturers of the programme are leading scholars in the field of policy analysis and the related areas like governance, social protection, migration, growth and development, technology and innovation .

    The Dual Career Training Programme to obtain a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis (GPAC²) is taught in English and consists of a first year with three training workshops, followed by two progress workshops a year.

    Specialisations in “Governance and Policy Analysis” and in “the Economics of Technology, Innovation and Development”
    The Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) at United Nations University research institute UNU-MERIT uses the expanded expertise of the institute by offering two tracks. The GPAC² programme in year one can be taken with a focus on Governance and Policy Analysis or with a focus on the Economics of Technology, Innovation and Development. Basic courses in year one are similar, specialisation courses are different between tracks. All programme requirements are identical in the tracks.

    Employment as a prerequisite for applying to the GPAC² training programme
    The GPAC² training programme differs from a regular PhD programme. Although GPAC² fellows participate in the training with the objective of obtaining a PhD, they are not considered regular PhD fellows. Employment is a prerequisite to be eligible for the training programme. GPAC² participants are either self-employed or employed by business or the public sector and have, therefore, their own source of income. MGSoG will not employ a GPAC² participant, or pay a salary or scholarship for either participating in the programme or conducting research. GPAC² fellows will be enrolled as training participants, and not as employees of the university.

    In order to graduate, GPAC² fellows have to submit a manuscript and fulfill conditions equal to standards that are required for the full time PhD programme participants. This means the fellows have to comply with the Regulation governing the attainment of doctoral degrees. At the beginning of the programme you will receive more information about coursework, research and programme procedures.

    GPAC² training programme
    After successfully finishing the training programme and submitting a PhD proposal, fellows will have and/or receive:

    • a certificate confirming participation in and completion of the training programme in year one
    • research material sufficient to for a number of articles, (to be) submitted, accepted and/or published in refereed scientific journals
    • a PhD thesis in printed book format
    • a PhD degree, upon successful submission and defence of the dissertation

    Student profile
    UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance welcome researchers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to participate in the GPAC² training programme. We are looking for fellows with a Master’s degree who have strong academic records, professional and/or volunteer experience, affiliation with academic research and a special interest in policy analysis. We welcome fellows from all over the world with a wide variety of cultures and disciplines. The programme is tailored to synergise the various backgrounds.

    Participants in the GPAC² programme have external work responsibilities, leaving them less time for PhD research. Ideally, the PhD candidate’s employer offers support by allocating time and allowing the candidate to incorporate their studies into their work (by providing data, support, related assignments and the like).

    For more information, visit the website.

  • Application requirements
    Please use the online application form, to apply for the programme.  When filling in the form you will be asked to provide the documents listed below. Please note that all documents need to be provided digitally; official documents need to be scanned:

    • certified copies of bachelor’s and master’s diplomas and grades
    • proof of proficiency in English –  the minimum level accepted is 600 PBT, 100 ICT or 240 CBT (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS). Native speakers and students who have received their bachelor’s or master’s education in English are exempted
    • motivation letter (400-500 words)
    • two signed reference letters on original letter head (by current or former professors or employers)
    • letter from current employer, including a statement of support of the GPAC² fellow and an indication of ways to support the fellow (for GPAC² applicants only)
    • one–page PhD research proposal
    • curriculum vitae
    • copy of passport
    • passport size picture

    We prefer to receive the documents in the following ways:

    • research proposal, motivation letter and CV – via the application form  in PDF format
    • diplomas and transcripts – via the application form as scanned pictures or PDF format
    • passport, proof of English proficiency and picture – via the application form as scanned pictures or PDF format
    • reference letters, GPAC² support letter,  – by mail directly sent to us by the referee

    For questions related to application documents or the application process, or questions you would like to have clarified before applying to the programme, we kindly refer you to our blog. The most frequently asked questions are already included in there, and in case you  cannot find an answer to your specific question, feel free to ask it on the blog.https://gpac.maastrichtuniversity.nl

    Code of conduct for recruitment of researchers
    All applications are considered according to our code of conduct for recruitment of researchers, composed of principles that are complementary to those outlined in the European Charter for Researchers. We are committed to providing transparency in the recruitment process and equal treatment to all applicants.

  • Admission requirements

    • a Master’s degree from a relevant academic field such as economics, international relations, political science, law, social sciences, business administration, health sciences or public health
    • basic knowledge of mathematics and statistics – measured by reviewing the content and grades of previous studies and/or the content and level of working experience
    • basic knowledge of economics, social sciences, political science and/or law –  measured by reviewing the content and grades of previous studies and/or the content and level of working experience
    • proficiency in English. The minimum level accepted is 600 PBT, 100 IBT or 240 CBT (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS)
    • approval and support from current employer to participate in GPAC² training programme (for GPAC² applicants only)
  • The objective of the programme is to support fellows in setting up, carrying out and finishing a research project leading to a PhD, alongside a regular job. Please note that GPAC² participants will not be employed by Maastricht University.

    GPAC² workload
    The first year of the programme requires participants to undertake part-time research and study activities during the year. The workload includes three workshops of two weeks in Maastricht (six weeks in total), as well as activities in-between workshops. We estimate the workload for the first year training during the workshops full time, and about 10 hours a week in between workshops. (about 16 weeks full time equivalent a year). In the following years fellows are required to attend two  full time workshops of one week each in Maastricht, to participate in progress presentations, research discussions skills training and master classes. Time investment during the period working home is flexible,  depending on each individual situation.

    We expect the fellows to finish their PhD proposal after one year. The PhD research project on average takes four to five years, depending on the time fellows can spend on their research and on their research expertise before joining the programme.

    GPAC² training programme structure
    The training programme consists of the following main elements:

    • Year one: a basic training programme in year one of the programme, provided in Maastricht. This basic training programme consists of three visiting periods of two weeks each. Course modules are compulsory for all fellows and will be assessed by the tutors. Basic courses are obligatory for all participants, specialisation courses allow for a personal choice.
    • All subsequent years: Two workshops of one week per year, jointly with all higher year GPAC² cohorts at the School. The workshop programme includes fellow presentations, with reviewer discussions, progress meetings, skills workshops, seminars and master classes.
    • Voluntary participation in online course modules, offered with tutor assistance in for instance governance and political science, statistics, mathematics, economics, impact evaluation, social protection, human development, migration, innovation and entrepreneurship.
    • Personal supervision and monitoring during the entire programme, in year one by staff members of the School and the partner institutes and in subsequent years by an individually selected supervisory team.

    In addition to the compulsory modules specifically designed for the programme, the fellows are welcome to participate in the regular MGSoG events, including:

    • PhD courses in the full-time PhD programme in Innovation, Economics and Governance for Development
    • Seminar series with weekly seminar speakers
    • Research conferences organized by UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance

    Compulsory modules & research proposal
    In the first year, GPAC² fellows must attend all three two-week workshops. In addition to the obligatory coursework during the face-to-face workshops, the fellows are expected to prepare a detailed research proposal. This proposal will be presented to and discussed with the GPAC² fellows and research staff of the School during each workshop in Maastricht. The content of the course modules will be communicated to the fellows at the start of the programme. The courses are offered in a interactive, small group format.

    Programme flexibility
    The GPAC² training programme allows for maximal flexibility, without jeopardising academic rigour and standards. To allow for individual participants to combine their coursework with their professional life or with their research ambitions and needs, the GPAC² Programme Director, in agreement with the GPAC² programme committee, can make adjustments to the programme which may include rearrangement or replacement of programme elements.

  • For more information about studying at Maastricht University, including facilities, getting a visa, etc., please go to the general information for PhDs page.

    You can request our brochure to be sent by post, email or direct download by sending an e-mail to: gpac2_coordinators@maastrichtuniversity.nl

    UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance
    Boschstraat 24
    PO Box  616
    6200 MD Maastricht
    The Netherlands

    Phone: +31 43 388 4650
    Fax: +31 43 388 4864