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I should soon complete my masters degree in engineering and have decided to apply for a PhD after I finish.

An issue I face is that I cannot afford to not receive a wage that I could for example get by going into industry. So far I have been very fortunate to study for free in Scotland and Switzerland - and during my time in Switzerland it became apparent that the PhD students not only didn't have to pay fees but in fact were employed as staff of the University and received a good wage. As a comparison in Scotland you would normally have your doctorate fees covered by the project funding but would only receive a modest stipend on which it would be a real struggle to get by upon fully depending on circumstance. Further, in other countries, I know it is normal to pay your fees for doing the PhD and receive no stipend whatsoever.

My question is: are there many other countries in which, as you do in Switzerland, you receive a staff wage comparable to a wage you would receive from going straight into a job in industry? The only other countries I'm aware of in which this is the culture are Denmark and Sweden.

1 Answer 1

I can attest to the Netherlands and Belgium being on this list. PhD students are (normally!) considered employees of the university and are paid salary. As far as I know this is the case when the project has secured funding.

The questions surrounding the project funding are generally more difficult - i.e. in some cases the student needs to find an own source of funding - either another institution providing funding (scholarships etc) or a company.