Universiteit Leiden

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Record number of PhDs despite coronavirus

In 2021 a record number of researchers obtained a PhD at Leiden University. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of PhDs conferred was 448, one more than the previous record year of 2018.

That so many PhDs could be awarded in 2020 is thanks to a large part to the flexibility of the PhD candidates themselves. At the end of March and beginning of April the ceremonies were largely suspended because of the worrying situation. In mid-April the PhD candidates were urged to carry on with their PhD ceremony, but then online.  

Many PhD candidates heeded this advice. ‘We understand that this may be disappointing for some,’ we wrote in our coronavirus update on 22 April, ‘but otherwise these PhD ceremonies may be postponed for a long time – possibly even into the next calendar year.’ At the end of the spring there was somewhat more opportunity to meet again in person, and from 1 June, 20 people could once again attend PhD ceremonies. 

The number of PhDs per faculty in 2020
Faculty Number of PhDs
Archaeology 21
Humanities 76
Medicine 162
Governance and Global Affairs 7
Law 36
Social and Behavioural Sciences 25
Science 120


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