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Theory courseThe program is designed for graduates in sociology, economics, or one of the other social sciences and in some cases also of other sciences, such as mathematics, computer sciences or history, who would like to acquire a PhD degree and pursue a scientific career. Access to the program depends upon the quality of the applicants and is independent of the place of their undergraduate training. Because all courses and seminars are in English, non-Dutch students can easily follow the program.

Each year, the ICS selects 10-15 promising new PhD students. In general about 3-5 students are selected for each of the three locations of the ICS (i.e. Groningen, Utrecht, or Nijmegen).
All members of a new cohort start the program together at the beginning of the new academic year, i.e. September 1. They follow all courses together, thus forming a ‘year group'. All courses consist of a combination of independent work and class meetings. The PhD students work through a set of assignments in small groups and discuss the results in weekly meetings. The diversity in disciplinary backgrounds makes this method of education interesting and fruitful. Due to their different backgrounds, joint assignments, and close communication, students also learn a good deal from each other. Supervision is close and the PhD students are under pressure to produce good results.

The introduction of research master's programs at each of the three ICS locations and elsewhere in the Netherlands has been a reason for the ICS, in collaboration with the graduate schools of the three Faculties for behavioral and social sciences, to develop an integrated graduate training program that includes research master's and PhD training. This program covers 6 years and its structure is schematically given here.

Year 1 and Year 2: ICS research master's programs.
These are the specialization ‘Sociology' of the research master's program Behavioural and Social Sciences in Groningen or the specialization ‘Sociology' of the research master's program Social Cultural Science in Nijmegen, one of the Utrecht research master programs Sociology and Social Research (SaSR) and Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism (MERM) or the Nijmegen program ‘Social Cultural Science: Comparative Research on Societies'.

Year 3 - Year 5/6: ICS PhD training program.
After having graduated from the one of the research master's program in Groningen, Utrecht or Nijmegen, students can apply for a position as ICS PhD student. Having followed a research master's program in Groningen, Utrecht, or Nijmegen, though, is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for entering the ICS PhD program.