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General Information

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel en the TAOS institute have been in collaboration for some years now. The TAOS institute ® is a community of scholars and practitioners concerned with the social processes essential for the construction of reason, knowledge, and human value.

TAOS collaborates with several universities, in which they bring in students who have written proposals for their research. These proposals are then reviewed and a selection is sent to the universities. The university then reviews the proposals again, before they are sent to possible promotors. 

The TAOS PhD students that are accepted are in constant collaboration with a TAOS advisor and with their VUB promotor. It is throughout their time at the VUB, approximately 3 years, that they work together towards the final dissertation. 

More information on the TAOS institute can be found at: www.taosinstitute.net

If you are interested in being involved (e.g. as a promotor, or help out), please contact Christy van Moorsel

Application and enrolment

PhD students who are accepted by both the TAOS PhD Committee and the PhD Committee of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel need to take the following steps.

Step 1

Fill out the online application form

In the application at https://aanmelden.cumulus.vub.ac.be you will need to upload several documents:

  • Copy of ID card/passport
  • Copies of the transcript of records AND diploma (master level)
  • Research topic and research proposal
  • CV


  • The system will also require an ‘application form registration PhD’. As this document needs signatures from both your VUB supervisor and the faculty (e.g. psychology, arts & philosophy, etc.), VUB's TAOS contact person Christy van Moorsel will make sure the document will be uploaded in your file.
  • In Belgium, the universities need to see your actual diploma. A transcript of records does not suffice for the registration.
  • Processing an application takes between 1 and 3 months (from the first entry into the system up to acceptance). The system will automatically update you once your application goes from one stage to the following. Questions about updates can always be asked at the Education and Student Administration or at Christy.
  • The Education and Student Administration, which processes your request, will contact you if any information is missing. In case that after having received communication it is not clear to you what exactly you should do, you can forward the e-mail to Christy via christy.van.moorsel@vub.be.
Step 2

Send in your documents

  • A legal copy or the original diploma that was uploaded during your application
  • Written approval with signature that allows VUB's TAOS contact person Christy to finish registration (see step 3). You can contact Christy for an example of this approval.

You can send all the documents mentioned above to:

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Attn. Christy van Moorsel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels – Belgium

Step 3

Sign the enrolment contract

The signing of the contract needs to be done at the Education and Student Administration in person. If you are planning to be in Brussels around the time of the enrolment, you can do this yourself. However, the majority of the TAOS students remain in their country for the duration of their PhD. For that reason the student has to give someone at the VUB permission to sign the contract on their behalf. The student can choose their representative at the VUB themselves, be it the supervisor or VUB's TAOS contact person Christy (after giving them a written approval to do so).

During the PhD at VUB

During your PhD at the VUB there are a number of things you have to do.


Activate your NetID

Once the enrolment contract has been signed, you will receive a link to activate your personal VUB e-mail address and your VUB NetID. A NetID is the account that is linked to the student for the duration of their study at the VUB. Once this NetID has been activated, all VUB communication via e-mail will be sent to your VUB e-mail address. The NetID will also give you access to the library, including online databases.

VUB e-mail

Check your VUB e-mail regularly

All VUB communication will be sent to your VUB e-mail address, including the first-year invoice, the invitation for the progress report and the invitation to re-enrol for the next academic year.

Tuition fee

Pay the tuition fee

In the first year and in the year of the defense, you will get a request to pay the tuition fee. This amount is subject to change, but can always be consulted at https://student.vub.be/en/student-administration#tuition-fee, in the general overview. PhD students at the VUB only pay for the first year and the year of the defense

Progress report

Fill in the progress report

Every PhD student at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is required to fill in the yearly evaluation report/progress report. Both the student and the VUB promotor fill in a separate report, which is then evaluated by the faculty commission. The report is compulsory: not sending it in before the deadline will result in a recommendation to discontinue the PhD (i.e. you are not allowed to continue your PhD at the VUB). 

Take Note: This evaluation is separate from the evaluation the TAOS institute requires at the end of each semester.

TAOS-VUB assignment

Make the yearly TAOS-VUB assignment

 For each of the 3 years of your PhD with the TAOS-VUB project, you will need to make an assignment. This assignment has to be handed in before the 1st of May.


  • Year 1: You have to write a detailed proposal during the first year. This proposal serves as the basis of the theoretical part of your dissertation. During your PhD with TAOS-VUB, you will continue to revise and extend your proposal. Your TAOS-advisor will be your first point of contact for writing this proposal. Once the proposal is finished, your VUB supervisor will read it and give you feedback or suggestions. You can use this feedback to rework the text during the next two years.
  • Year 2: You will have to continue working on the proposal, taking the feedback of the supervisor and advisor into consideration.
  • Year 3: You have to write an academic article (to be published in an international journal) based on your research project. The guidance will mostly be done by the TAOS advisor. Once the draft is finished, you send it to your VUB supervisor, who will then give feedback or suggestions. As it is a collaborative process, both your TAOS advisor and VUB supervisor are listed as co-authors. This is standard practice in most PhD programs.

Re-enrol for the next academic year

After you have received a positive evaluation from the PhD progress Commission, you will get an invitation to re-enrol on your VUB email account. It will include a link that you can follow to re-enrol for the next academic year.

Should you have received a negative evaluation, you should discuss your options with your VUB supervisor.

Dissertation Defence

There are two times per year that are reserved for the defences, in spring (February/March) and one is in the fall (September/October).

Please take note that these defence moments are dependent on availability of your supervisor, TAOS advisor and the jury for your dissertation. Although we aim to do the internal and public defences during the time span mentioned, it is not set in stone.

Internal defence

Preparation for internal defence

It is important that you are in regular contact with your supervisor when you are planning to defend within the coming year. Your supervisor will have a good overview of the quality of your dissertation, and can let you know whether it still needs some work, or whether you are good to go for defence.

You will have to send a digital copy of the dissertation to VUB's TAOS contact person Christy van Moorsel (christy.van.moorsel@vub.be), who will make sure that the copy is distributed among the jury members and the faculty.

For the internal defence (which can take place via web platform), you will need to make a presentation of about 15-20 minutes which will be followed by a question/answer period with the committee. There are three possible outcomes of the internal defense: (1) pass and move to the public defense (perhaps with minor revisions), (2) revisions required and a time frame for revisions is set before moving to the public defense, or (3) public defense is not allowed. If the jury deems you good to go for the public defense, you can choose to use a different format for the printing of the dissertation. Please contact Christy for the options.

Public defence

Preparation for public defence

The public defence will take place approximately a month after the internal defence. You will need to be present in person for the public defence. Christy can advise you about hotels that are close to the campus, or those with an easy connection to the campus. Do be aware that Christy will not arrange these for you, but that you have to do this yourself. 

The space for the public defence, the reception afterwards, etc. will all be arranged by Christy. If you have specific requirement or if you have invited a number of people to the public defence, please contact her so she can arrange everything in the best possible way.

Who is who at the VUB team

Please meet prof. dr. Gerrit Loots, dr. Jasmina Sermijn and Ms Christy van Moorsel.

Prof. dr. Gerrit Loots

Prof. dr. Gerrit Loots is professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and visiting professor at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias del Compartamiento (IICC), Departamento de Psicología of the Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo” in La Paz. He is running a research group on Interpersonal, Discursive and Narrative Studies in Psychology and Educational Sciences (IDNS – PE), and he is director of the Centre for Children in Vulnerable Situations. His fields of interests and research are:

  1. infant psychology, more specifically early parent-child interaction
  2. psychosocial wellbeing of children affected by war, migration, poverty and social exclusion
  3. psychotherapy with a focus on postmodern family therapy

He has been practicing family therapy since the 80's in different counselling and therapeutic settings. At the moment, he is working from a narrative/collaborative perspective in different psychotherapeutic settings and he is a guest trainer at different training institutes in systemic therapy.

Dr. Jasmina Sermijn

Jasmina Sermijn, PhD, is clinical psychologist, family therapist and trainer in collaborative & narrative family therapy at vzw Rapunzel (Diest) and at Euthopia (Breda). Besides that she works part time at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) for the VUB-TAOS program. Her interest areas focus on the practice of narrative and collaborative therapy, postmodern philosophy, including especially the way people narratively construct theirselves in and through language. In her PhD dissertation she researched the interaction between psychiatric diagnoses and the construction of the self. Jasmina Sermijn published two books (in Flemish) and several articles. She also presented several international workshops. She is a TAOS associate and member of the ICCP community.

Ms. Christy van Moorsel

Christy van Moorsel is a Multilingual Master student at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her focus is on Literary and Theatrical studies in both English and Spanish. Her areas of interest are the works of Samuel Beckett, Kobo Abe and Clarice Lispector. Having done various jobs in several countries, she has developed a very practical approach to deal with everything that comes in her path. Her experience as both a student and an employee at the VUB helps in guiding people to the right department for specific questions.

You can contact her via: christy.van.moorsel@vub.be