PhD Position in Psychological Methods

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences


PhD Candidate in Psychological Methods

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  24 July 2022
Vacancy number:  9518

Are you interested in developing and using statistical and mathematical methods to study psychological phenomena?  The Psychological Methods group is seeking two PhD candidates, one for each of the following projects:

Project 1: “Bridging the gap between latent variable models from deep learning and psychometrics”. In this project, the PhD candidate will focus on the development of methods for various psychometric applications in which neural nets from deep learning are combined with measurement models from psychometrics. The project is coordinated by Dylan Molenaar and Raoul Grasman.

Project 2: “Cognitive Modeling meets Educational Data Science”. In this project, the PhD candidate will apply cognitive models to large data sets from educational data science. The main aim is to develop more nuanced performance indicators for online education that are based on models of cognitive processes. The project is coordinated by Julia Haaf and Abe Hofman.

Both positions are for 5.5 years and involve 28% teaching within the educational programme of the Psychological Methods group.

The Psychological Methods group of the University of Amsterdam is one of the largest and most successful research and education centers in the field of psychological methods. Its main areas of research are network analysis, Bayesian statistics, mathematical psychology, and psychometrics. Next to developing novel research methodologies, we also actively develop psychological theories on a variety of topics, including intelligence, psychopathology, and decision making.

In addition, the group has a general focus on supporting open science and has made important methodological contributions to facilitate transparent research practices in the past decade. Our educational program consists of first-year and second-year courses in methodology, statistics, and philosophy of science, a premaster and a master in Behavioral data science, and a series of courses in the research master of the psychology department.

What are you going to do

You will

  • conduct PhD research in the field of psychological methods;
  • present research results regularly at (international) workshops and conferences, and publish them in international journals;
  • complete academic work resulting in a PhD thesis that will be defended at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam with the goal of obtaining a PhD degree;
  • contribute to the educational track of the Psychological Methods group by teaching courses and supervising individual student projects.

What do we require

For these positions, it is essential that you have:

  • a master, research master or equivalent degree specializing in psychological methods, psychometrics, mathematical psychology, statistics, computational science, econometrics, or a related discipline. The degree must have been obtained by the start of your employment;
  • a serious interest in mathematical or computational statistics with a working knowledge of elementary calculus;
  • an interest in, and experience with, teaching on at least a bachelor’s level
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • excellent programming skills in R;
  • excellent social and organizational skills;

It is also required that you will make Amsterdam (or a location within commuting distance) your primary residence for the duration of the PhD project.

It is furthermore desirable (but not essential) that you have:

  • experience working with deep neural networks and related models (for project 1).
  • experience working with psychometric models (for project 1).
  • experience working with Bayesian methods (for project 2).
  • experience with cognitive modeling/mathematical psychology (project 2)
  • experience with computational statistical methods, including Expectation-Maximization algorithms and Markov chain Monte Carlo (for project 1 and 2).

Please note that knowledge of the Dutch language is not required for this position (also, the Netherlands is very internationally oriented, so you can live in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch).

Our offer

The position concerns temporary employment of 38 for a maximum term of 5.5 years. The initial employment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended for a total duration of 5.5 years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students. 

For this position the University Job Classification profile 'promovendus' applies.

Your salary will be €2.443 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3.122 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with theCollective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

About the faculty

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. Thesocial and behavioral sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future. 

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more aboutworking at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Project 1: Dylan Molenaar, D.Molenaar@, 020-5256584
  • Project 2: Julia Haaf, J.M.Haaf@

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 24 July 2022. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in combined 1 pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae; 
  • a letter of motivation (indicating a project preference) explaining your current goals, career plans and reasons for your interest in a Ph.D. in psychological methods. Elaborate on your study plans and your research interests. The motivation letter should be in English and not exceed two pages (not more than 700 words).
  • a Grade transcripts of your Master's degree (If you have not finished your Master's degree yet, you should alternatively provide your most recent transcript).
  • a Writing sample of up to 10 pages in English, e.g. a paper you have written during your studies, a representative excerpt from your thesis, or an essay on a topic related to your research interests.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application. 

No agencies please

In your application, please refer to


amsterdam uni

antwerp uni

cambridge uni

florida uni

hamburg uni

harvard uni

hiroshima uni

oslo uni

purdue uni

ryerson uni

shanghai jiao tong uni

stockholm uni