PhD candidates come in all shapes and sizes, from those with an appointment at the University to dual PhDs who have a job outside the University. Here we explain which PhD places we have at Leiden University, so you can quickly see which type suits you.
Funded PhD candidates
The University may appoint full or part-time PhD candidates. Most PhD candidates have a funded place as a PhD candidate. A full-time place is in principle a four-year appointment with 10% teaching duties. PhD candidates sometimes choose to do a cotutelle or joint doctorate. You can also be appointed as a PhD fellow. This is a six-year appointment with 35% teaching duties.
See our job vacancies for PhD candidatesPhD positions
PhDs without a funded place
Contract PhDs receive a grant in their country of origin, which enables them to conduct PhD research at our university. External PhDs or dual PhDs do not receive any funding in principle. They write their thesis – often alongside their regular work – under the supervision of a supervisor from Leiden. To be accepted as an external PhD, you must have your PhD proposal approved by a Graduate School. The University also has a dual PhD programme to give experienced ‘knowledge workers’ the opportunity to earn a PhD at Leiden University.
The faculty has various categories of doctoral candidates.
Doctoral candidates who are employees
The majority of doctoral candidates are appointed as a PhD Candidate. This appointment is for a period of four years, during which time, besides performing doctoral research, training courses are followed as part of the PhD Training Programme.
Most PhD Candidates also have a minor teaching component (maximum 10% of the total period).
PhD Candidates are initially appointed for one year, with the possibility to extend this by three years. Within three months of the commencement of the appointment, the PhD Candidate draws up a personal Training en Supervision Plan (TSP) in consultation with the designated supervisor and the Deans of PhD Studies. In the TSP the individual doctoral timeline is set out in detail. This will include, for instance, training courses to be followed to assist in the research.
Towards the end of the first year an evaluation meeting is held. The progress of the research is reviewed by a committee including the supervisor, co-supervisor, an external member and the Dean of PhD Studies, on the basis of the research proposal and a chapter of the dissertation or article. The teaching done and participation on the PhD Training Programme are also reviewed.
A PhD Fellow is not just a PhD Candidate, but also has a substantial teaching component amounting to around 35% of the total period. In addition, the courses in the PhD Training Programme are followed. Since the position of PhD Fellow encompasses more tasks than research alone, the appointment is for six years.
A PhD Fellow is appointed for six years, with the possibility to terminate the contract in the intermediate period. Within three months of the commencement of the appointment, the PhD Fellow draws up an individual Training en Supervision Plan (TSP) in consultation with the supervisor and Deans of PhD Studies. In the TSP, the individual PhD timeline is structured. This includes which courses will be followed to assist in the research.
After around one and a half years an evaluation meeting is held. The progress of the research is reviewed by a committee including the supervisor, co-supervisor, an external member and the Dean of PhD Studies, on the basis of the research proposal and a chapter of the dissertation or article. The teaching done and participation on the PhD Training Programme is also reviewed.
Information about the position of PhD Fellows can be found under Rules and Policies for PhD fellows.
External doctoral candidates
The main task of a Contract PhD Candidate is to carry out doctoral research. This is done with funding from the government of the country of origin.
In general, the duration of the doctoral research is four years. Although a Contract PhD Candidate does not have an appointment at the faculty, the position is equal to appointed PhD Candidates when it comes to training, monitoring of progress and other work conditions (such as workplace, ICT facilities etc.).
Towards the end of the first year an evaluation meeting is held. At this meeting a committee comprising the supervisor, co-supervisor, external member and Deans of PhD Studies reviews the progress of the research based on the research plan and a chapter of the dissertation or an article. The participation on the PhD Training Programme is also reviewed.
Information about the position of Contract PhD Candidates can be found under Rules and Policies for Contract PhD Candidates.
Leiden Law School also offers the possibility of pursuing a (non-funded) ‘external’ PhD within the Graduate School of Legal Research. Applications for these positions are accepted throughout the year.
In order to become an External PhD Candidate you should have a research proposal which fits within the research carried out in the research programmes of the faculty.
A decision on an application for admission to the PhD programme can only be made on the basis of the completed and submitted online form including the required attachments.
The full application must include:
- a specific, innovative and fairly elaborate proposal;
- the name of a possible supervisor (professor) whose research interests and area of specialization fit your research proposal (more information about research and potential supervisors);
- a completed Master-degree which should be the equivalent of a LL.M. or Master degree obtained in The Netherlands including the corresponding list of grades;
- an English language test score of 100 (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS), unless the candidate is a native speaker;
- at least one published article/chapter relevant to the field of the proposed research.
External PhD Candidates have to make their own arrangements for the funding of their research and living costs. External funding possibilities can be explored with your supervisor(s). Paid positions as employed PhD candidate at Leiden Law School are advertised at https://vacancies.leiden.edu.
Until now, becoming an external PhD candidate at Leiden University in most cases does not involve paying a fee.
However, some subdepartments which offer a PhD-track charge a fee: see for example the International Institute of Air and Space Law, The Van Vollenhoven Institute and the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies).
More questions about the PhD programme can be sent by mail to the Graduate School.