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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 externally financed PhD candidates and 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.
Externally financed and 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 Externally financed and external PhD candidates, all PhD candidates may also use copying and printing facilities without charge, in accordance with the faculties’ rules for academic staff.
3.    PhD candidates with employee status and contract PhD candidates are entitled to a workspace in the faculty. Wherever possible, institutes will make flexible workspaces available for externally financed and external PhD candidates.
4.    With the exception of externally financed and 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 and contract PhD candidates must draw up these plans within three months following the formal start date of the PhD programme. Externally financed and external PhD candidates must do this within a maximum of six months following admission to the Graduate School. (See Chapter 2 of the PhD Regulations for an explanation of the start of the doctoral process). 

The TSP is a living document and can be updated, when applicable. The TSP will in any case, but not exclusively, contain agreements about:

    1. Who will act as the supervisor(s) and (if applicable) co-supervisor(s), for the PhD candidate, the further supervision and the content, responsibilities, scope and frequency of the supervision (see Article 7).
    2. In any case for a PhD candidate with employee status, but preferably for all PhD candidates, the requirement that a performance and development interview (resultaat- en ontwikkelingsgesprek ROG) will take place every year (see Article 9).
    3. The preparation for the ‘go/no go’ decision and the time when this decision will be made (see Article 10).
    4. The required courses and training (see Article 11).
    5. Teaching duties (see Article 12).

7.    In addition to the first supervisor, each candidate has at least one other supervisor or co-supervisor. The training and supervision plan records the division of responsibilities between the various supervisors. Everyone who is promoted from assistant professor (UD) to associate professor (UHD) must follow the course 'Supervising PhD candidates' within a year. Staff members who are supervising PhD students for the first time (as supervisor, co-supervisor or daily supervisor) must also follow a course in this field.

8. In contacts between supervisor(s)/co-supervisor(s) and PhD candidates, the Golden Rules of PhD supervision (see Appendix 2) will be observed.

9.    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 externally financed and 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.
10.    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 and contract PhD candidates, this decision will be made at the end of the first year. 
For externally financed PhD candidates and external PhD candidates, the decision will be made no earlier than one year and no later than two years after their start date. 
11.    Every PhD candidate produces a training plan as part of the TSP.

For PhD candidates who were admitted to the Graduate School on or after 1 January 2024, successful completion of the agreed training plan is a condition for admission to the PhD defence.

          a. for PhD candidates with employee status and contract (‘scholarship’) PhD candidates, the plan comprises 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, teaching (max 20 hours of teaching can be included), obtaining the BKO sub-certificate), including at least one academic integrity training course.

          b. Externally financed External PhD candidates must at least take the ‘scientific integrity’ course. In addition, in consultation with the prospective supervisor, it must be established, in consultation with the supervisor(s)/co-supervisor(s), whether and, if so, what additional training is needed to enable them to properly carry out their PhD research. If necessary and in consultation with the first supervisor, they will be given the opportunity to follow two other training courses funded by the faculty/institute, in addition to any compulsory training courses.  

         c. The plan leaves space for exemptions from specific parts of this obligation, after submission of a reasoned request; the exemption will be granted by the Dean on behalf of the Doctorate Board.

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.

13.         The rules relating to PhD defences are laid down in the Leiden University PhD Regulations. Additionally, all PhD candidates – like all staff members – must comply with the applicable rules and guidelines imposed within Leiden University, LUMC, the faculty, graduate school and/or institute, including but not limited to those pertaining to personal, public and knowledge safety, environmental requirements, data management, open access publishing and academic integrity.

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