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PhD guidelines

Apart from the PhD regulations, Leiden University also employs the PhD guidelines that lay down the minimal requirements for the supervision, training and available facilities for PhD candidates.

The guidelines apply to all PhD candidates at Leiden University. Some of these guidelines do not apply to external PhD candidates. Any exceptions are stated in the relevant articles.


1.    Upon arrival, all PhD candidates are registered in the HRM employee registration system of either the University or LUMC, as well as in the Graduate School’s Converis PhD candidate tracking system. External PhD candidates must be registered as soon as possible, and in all cases no later than one year following the first contact with their prospective PhD supervisor, in either the University’s or LUMC’s HRM employee registration system, and in the Converis PhD candidate tracking system. (See Chapter 2 of the PhD Regulations for an explanation of the start of the doctoral process.)

2.    All PhD candidates are entitled to a LU Card that grants them access to the library. With the exception of external PhD candidates, all PhD candidates may also use copying and printing facilities without charge, within the rules that apply in the faculty for academic staff.
3.    With the exception of external PhD candidates, all PhD candidates are entitled to a workplace in the faculty.
4.    With the exception of external PhD candidates, all PhD candidates are given the opportunity, within reason, to attend at least two academic conferences during their period of appointment.

5.    Faculties must clearly inform prospective PhD candidates about the available facilities (including courses, research costs etc.) when offering them a place in a Graduate School.

6.    A training and supervision plan must be drawn up for every PhD candidate at the start of the doctoral process. Employed PhD candidates, contract PhD candidates and externally financed PhD candidates must draw up these plans within three months following the formal start date of the PhD programme. External PhD candidates must do this within a maximum of six months following admission to the Graduate School. 
7.    All PhD candidates have a second supervisor or a co-supervisor alongside the first supervisor. The training and supervision plan documents the division of responsibilities between the different supervisors. 
8.    Each PhD candidate in employment has an annual performance and development review. 
Each PhD candidate has an annual review or monitoring meeting (in the case of external PhD candidates, this review will take place every two years) with one or two impartial staff members. The quality of the supervision will form an important part of this review.
9.    At the end of the period set out in the training and supervision plan, a ‘go/no go’ decision will be made and recorded in writing for each doctoral process. In the case of employed PhD candidates, contract PhD candidates and externally financed PhD candidates, this decision will be made at the end of the first year. 
For external PhD candidates, the decision will be made no earlier than one year and no later than two years after their start date. 
10.    With the exception of external PhD candidates, all PhD candidates must follow a training plan that is established at the start of the doctoral process. The plan encompasses the entire doctoral process and consists of at least:
-    140 hours of academic training activities (training in the candidate’s specialism, conference attendance, etc.)
-    140 hours of training activities focusing on transferable skills (such as giving presentations, academic English, time management, career orientation, entrepreneurship), including at least one academic integrity training course.
External PhD candidates must at least take the ‘scientific integrity’ course. In addition, in consultation with the prospective supervisor, it must be established which courses external PhD candidates need to take in order to be able to properly carry out their PhD research. As the institute or faculty has to pay for these courses, the course proposal must be submitted to the Scientific Director or the dean before the start of the doctoral process. If the proposal is not approved by the Scientific Director or dean, the proposed doctoral process will not go ahead. 
11.    Members of staff who are supervising a PhD candidate for the first time (as supervisor, co-supervisor or day-to-day supervisor) must also follow such a course.

12.    Each institute or faculty organises periodic events for its own PhD candidates to explore their prospects on the labour market. Multiple institutes and/or faculties may also organise such events jointly.

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