Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Dissertation layout requirements

Your dissertation layout must meet certain requirements. Special rules apply if you have written your dissertation with others or if you are publishing a commercial edition.

Always make sure that there are enough copies of your dissertation in a format that is easy to read.

Dissertation comprising articles

If you are reprinting articles, make sure they have the same format. This may mean that you need to enlarge or reduce them. The dissertation must be presented in such a way that it is a bound book.

Commercial edition

If you want to publish a commercial edition of your dissertation, you may only do so if:

  • It will be published after the PhD committee has decided that you may defend your dissertation.
  • The commercial edition – which will be the dissertation submitted to the beadle – has a bound title page. For further requirements, see the PhD regulations.


You may publish part of your dissertation in an academic journal before the defence has taken place. You must indicate this in the dissertation.

Multiple authors

A dissertation may be a selection of previously published articles of which the candidate is not the only author, or it could be a selection of articles that have been submitted for publication. If you include these articles in your dissertation, it then counts as a new publication. Take note of the copyright of the other copyright holder(s).

Joint dissertation

If you have written a dissertation together with others, each of you must submit the dissertation with your ‘own’ title page and curriculum vitae, and the required number of propositions. On the back of the title page you can state that it is a joint study by two or three PhD candidates and that the result has led to a joint dissertation.

Requirements of the title page

See this example of title page to find out what the title page must look like. Note that you should not have the title page printed before the beadle has approved it on behalf of the Rector Magnificus.

Requirements of the non-scientific component

You may only duplicate the non-scientific component of your dissertation once the dean of the faculty has issued his or her approval. The non-scientific component comprises:

  • title page (front and back)
  • foreword and/or afterword
  • acknowledgment(s)
  • (possible) assignment
  • (possible) quotation/motto
  • table of contents
  • curriculum vitae
  • propositions
  • summary
  • cover
  • front and back cover of the dissertation volume, both the front and the reverse

The Doctorate Committee

The Doctorate Committee counts at least four members, among them the chairman (the Dean or his/her substitute) and the Secretary of the Committee. The majority of the members of the committee will be professors. At least two members of the committee should not be involved in the practical realisation of the dissertation and at least two members of the committee should not be appointed at the Faculty. As a rule, the committee will include at least one male and at least one female member (see Regulations, chap. 4). 

Non-scientific components & propositions

The non-scientific component of the dissertation comprises: 

  1. title page (front and back) 
  2. foreword and/or afterword  
  3. acknowledgment(s) (max. 400 words) 
  4. (possible) assignment 
  5. (possible) quotation/motto 
  6. table of contents 
  7. curriculum vitae 
    • date and place of birth 
    • name of school and year of graduation 
    • (possible) extra qualifications  
    • details about professional career  
    • institute of PhD research 
  8. propositions
  9. summary
  10. cover
  11. front and back cover of the dissertation volume, both the front and the reverse

Click on the General tab for further information.

The non-scientific component of the dissertation covers following: the title page, the reverse of the title page that lists the members of the Doctorate Committee, the publication details, the foreword and/or closing text (including any acknowledgments), the table of contents, the curriculum vitae of the doctoral candidate, any other non-scientific additions or expressions, as well as the inner and outer covers, both front and back. 

Please take into account that acknowledgements are to be written in fairly formal language and should be limited to those involved in composing and executing the PhD research and the layout of the manuscript. Any thanks to the supervisors and co-supervisors should be limited to a maximum of two sentences per person. The other members of the Doctorate Committee should not be thanked within the dissertation, except for the normal way in which recognition is given to scientific publications. You are allowed to acknowledge family and friends. The length should be limited to one and a half page printed. 

For an example of how to design the non-scientific parts see this document.

For an example of FGGA propositions see this document.

The Opposition Committee

The Opposition Committee consists of the Chairman (the Rector Magnificus or his/her substitute) and at least four other members. It comprises the members of the Doctorate Committee and also professors or experts holding a doctorate degree. The majority of the Committee members should be professors and in addition, the majority of the Committee members should be appointed at Leiden University. As a rule, the Committee includes at least one male and one female member (see Regulations, art. 24).


PhD candidates receive a financial compensation of € 500,- for the printing costs of the dissertation. This compensation is paid by the UBL. For further information see the University Library website

You can publish your dissertation through any publisher. Leiden university has its own publishing service at Leiden University Press.

This website uses cookies.  More information.