Vacancies: PhD positions in Systems Security

The computer science department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking for candidates for PhD positions in Systems Security. Only the very best students with demonstrable experience and affinity with systems security need apply. Note the emphasis -- we are are looking for people in systems (as opposed to, say, cryptographers or formal methods people--but if you combine these skills that is fine). Fear of low-level languages like C and assembly probably means you should not apply. Love of security, operating systems, and hacking counts as a plus.

Academic requirements: a degree (or equivalent) in computer science or closely related field. Normally, the expected degree for a PhD is a master degree -- but in some countries rules are different. When in doubt: ask.

Research area

The research area is systems security in a broad sense, but specifically the students will be involved in dynamic analysis and reverse engineering of binary software (both malware and goodware). A high-level description of the project can be found here. Candidates are encouraged to read our NDSS paper on reverse engineering data structures.

A PhD at the VU

In the Netherlands, PhD students do not pay tuition fees and are employed by the university. Their salaries are conform the university's standards. (Compared to other countries, PhD students salaries in the Netherlands are typically considered reasonably generous.)

Amsterdam is one of the nicest and liveliest cities in Europe. For foreign students, it has the advantage that it is within easy reach of all major airports. Research-wise, the Computer Systems Section at the VU was rated the highest possible score on all criteria in a recent nation-wide research assessment. Its staff is geared towards quality research and publishes in the top tier venues. The section hosts two ERC grant winners.


As we are looking for up to 4 students, we plan to evaluate applications in two rounds. For the first round, we need the applications in before the 1st of May 2011.

How to apply

Send email to:

with subject line:

Herbert Bos