4 tips to keep costs down when obtaining a doctorate

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4 tips to keep costs down when obtaining a doctorate

4 tips to keep costs down when obtaining a doctorate

Finally, after 4 years of hard work, the end of your doctoral research is in sight. You know better than anyone that the road towards obtaining a doctorate is long. Getting a PhD is not something you do “on the side” or in between other things. It is actually a full-time job with a relatively low salary. And, especially at the end of your doctoral trajectory, you have to spend a considerable amount of money. Think for example about the costs of printing your thesis or the expenses of the PhD defense ceremony. For your benefit, we have assembled a number of tips that will help you obtain your doctorate with less financial stress involved!


Tip 1: Budget the costs for obtaining your doctorate

First of all, it is important to find out how much you roughly have to spend to get your PhD. In this way, you won’t be faced with unpleasant surprises!

Below, you find a handy overview. You can of course fill this out according to your own criteria and needs. To name just a few examples: Will you host a lunch or dinner? Will you invite everyone involved in your PhD trajectory (colleagues, friends and family) or only your supervisors? Will you opt for an extensive reception or something at a smaller scale? These choices can make a huge difference!


Costs of dissertation 
  • Specialist literature
  • Travel expenses for supervisors/jury
  • ISBN registration costs
  • Packaging and shipping costs
Clothing of PhD candidate / assistants  € 100,- á € 300
Expenses of reception (including travel expenses) € 300 á € 700


Lunch / Dinner costs € 30,- per person
Expenses of PhD graduation party € 500 á € 2.500

Now that you have an overview of the costs, you can start saving!


Tip 2: PhD defense costs are tax deductible

We already mentioned above that costs associated with your dissertation and expenses directly linked to the PhD defense are tax deductible. Profit from this while you still can!

2018 will most probably be the last year in which study costs are tax deductible. This tax arrangement will probably no longer exist in 2021. Originally, its cancelation was planned for 2018, but it won’t happen before January 1, 2021. Instead of tax-deductible study costs, a new arrangement will be implemented that takes the form of schooling vouchers. Therefore, keep a close eye on the changes!

Below, you find some other issues that you should take into account:

Under what conditions are costs associated with obtaining a doctorate tax deductible? 

  • The training or study is aimed at your (future) profession or career.
  • The expenses minus reimbursements (including the government-provided performance grant) exceed € 500.
  • The maximum tax-deductible amount is € 15,000.

Printing expenses are largely tax deductible

Please take note! The expenses involved in printing your dissertation are largely tax deductible. Officially, you can only deduct the number of copies that your university requires you to print. Mostly, this ranges from 10 to 15 copies. In most cases, this is not enough. Therefore, if you want to print a larger number of copies, we advise you to opt for offset printing. You will incur high start-up costs, but afterwards, the price per extra book will be low. If you go for offset printing, you can deduct the full amount of start-up costs, which means more tax advantages.


Tip 3: Low-budget PhD graduation party

Obtaining a doctorate represents a special moment in your life, and of course you want to celebrate it! Unfortunately, the expenses of hosting a dinner and a PhD graduation party are the only costs that are not tax deductible. Don’t worry though, because organizing a dinner and a party does not have to cost an arm and a leg!

Be creative in terms of location and the food 

People often end up spending most on the food and location of a party. Reducing spending on these is simple. Do your parents have a large garden? Host your party there. Is the weather good? Host it in the park. Hence, take a good look around in your social circles. The same holds true for the food. You probably know someone in your family or social circle who is a good cook. Ask that person whether they are willing to take care of the food for your dinner.

Critically evaluate your invitees

Misschien wel het moeilijkste van alles. Maar schrap mensen op uw gastenlijst het bespaart een hoop geld! En zeg nou zelf: een intiem feestje is toch veel leuker dan 80 mensen, waarvan u de helft niet heeft gesproken?


Tip 4: Look for someone to sponsor the dissertation

Last but not least: look for a sponsor. If you find it difficult to find the right sponsor for your dissertation, you can simply order the handbook on funding at the Vereniging van Fondsen. In this handbook, you find all available funds. Another option is to look at scholarships or subsidies for your dissertation at the Beursopener.

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