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The AISSR is dedicated to providing supervision and support to post-graduate students pursuing a PhD in social sciences at the University of Amsterdam. Our goal is to ensure that PhD candidates have a stimulating and high-quality experience, leading to the timely completion of their research projects.

Project & activities

During your PhD appointment, which typically lasts three to four years, your primary focus will be conducting research for your doctoral dissertation. However, we also encourage you to engage in other activities such as taking courses offered by the PhD Training Programme, teaching undergraduate courses in the Departments of Social Sciences, and actively participating in the research community, both within AISSR and at national and international levels.

Close-knit community

As a PhD student at AISSR, you will be part of a vibrant community that values your growth and development. We offer coaching, training, and a strong PhD Community to support you throughout your doctoral journey. We encourage our students to publish their research early in their careers, enhancing their academic profiles and fostering their future career prospects.

Programme Groups

You will be assigned to an AISSR programme group where you will conduct your research and be immersed in a supportive and collaborative environment. We are excited about newly interest in pursuing a PhD at the University of Amsterdam and look forward to welcoming postgraduate students to our dynamic academic community at AISSR.

  • Cultural Sociology

    Communication with others, categorizing and identifying people and objects, establishing symbolic and moral boundaries, is strongly influenced by culture. Moreover, culture is the way we try to understand and interact with the world around us. At Cultural Sociology, the way social meanings and expressions associate culture will be questioned. How do people create status differences and maintain boundaries between groups? How are international beauty standards (re)produced?

  • Institutions, Inequalities and Life courses

    The Institutions, Inequalities, and Life courses programme (IIL) examines institutions in a broad way as the formal and informal rules and arrangements in society that govern individual behavior and social relationships. Examples of institutions are welfare states, labor market arrangements, educational systems, occupational groups, norms and rules in organizations, and gender role norms.

  • Political Sociology

    The programme group Political Sociology researches evolving relations of conflict and cohesion in various national and international settings. Our research on citizenship, politics, policies, social movements and the state extends beyond actor-centred approaches through relational analyses and a keen eye for power differentials.

Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO)
  • Governance and Inclusive Development

    Governance and Inclusive Development (GID) scrutinizes development dynamics at various geographical, jurisdictional and temporal scales, realizing that these are situated in different but interconnected multi-level processes. GID analyses and rethinks dominant development paradigms, and engages with international, national and local development practices, policies and debates to identify viable and socially just alternatives.

  • Political and Economic Geographies

    The Political and Economic Geographies (PEG) group investigates the role of multi-scalar relationships that are crucial in understanding contemporary economic and political geographies.

  • Urban Geographies

    The researchers within Urban Geographies study the socio-spatial processes that shape cities and urban life across the world. Our research concentrates on the formation of urban difference and inequality. It seeks to understand how specific spaces, places and mobilities reflect, reproduce and transform social differentiation in terms of class, ethnicity, generation, gender and sexuality. In addition, it studies how resources, risks and political voice are distributed unevenly across urban spaces and populations, analyzing geographies of inequality within and between city regions.

  • Urban Planning

    Urban Planning research and teaching at the University of Amsterdam focuses on the relationships between the social, spatial, and environmental dimensions of urban processes, and on ways of purposefully and positively impacting on them.

Political Science
  • Exploring Diversity: Critical ethnographies of belonging and exclusion

    We investigate the manifold ways gender, race, class, citizenship, religion, and sexuality are made and unmade in everyday life, including the ways in which differences and similarities among people, communities, and other living things are created, contested, celebrated or distrusted. We are interested in the everyday experiences of belonging and exclusion and how they shape individuals, institutions, and environments in lasting ways. Our research delves into the political dimensions and the impact these have on people's aspirations and pursuits. We investigate the aesthetics of these world making projects, their pasts, presents and futures.

  • Health, Care and the Body

    The Health, Care, and Body programme group aims to analyse evolving health experiences, sexual identities, body practices, and social/cultural influences on scientific knowledge utilization in clinical settings. It also examines care and self-help practices, the exercise of biomedical power, and patterns of resistance or acceptance of medical regimes, scientific knowledge, and technology.

  • Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

    The social consequences of the mobility of people, goods, power, and ideas constitute the central focus of the Moving Matters research programme. Members of the research group explore migrating people and moving commodities, as well as the shifting networks that result from such practices. These networks stretch from the local to the transnational and necessarily involve encounters with the state through deportation regimes, access to resources and technologies, border infrastructures, decolonial and postcolonial movements, labour relations, and violence and conflict.


More information can be found on the AISSR wiki. This an informative platform for all (and only) AISSR researchers with internal information like guidelines, policy documents, templates and more.


If you have any questions or require further information, please don't hesitate to reach out to our PhD Coordinator, Mr. Simon Cijsouw.

S.T. (Simon) Cijsouw

AISSR PhD Coordinator