Universiteit Leiden

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Studying for your PhD

Every year, around 400 PhD candidates defend their dissertation at Leiden University, spread across all the University’s different disciplines.

PhD track

A PhD track consists of original scientific research under the supervision of a professor, which takes on average 4 years. Many PhD candidates are employed by the University, but a number are subsidised by a grant that they have acquired themselves. The University also has a large number of external PhD candidates, who generally work part-time on their research.  

Graduate Schools

Every PhD candidate is enrolled in one of the University  Graduate Schools: 

The Graduate Schools are responsible for training and supervising the PhD candidates. Within three months after starting a PhD track, a training and supervision plan is drawn up for every PhD candidate. The University also offers a large number of  courses in academic and more general professional skills.

Work and a PhD

Working and studying for a PhD at the same time? It’s possible at the Leiden University Dual PhD Centre The Hague. The Centre focuses on external PhD candidates who devote part of their working time to scientific research on a theme from their professional practice. The Centre helps them develop a research plan, provides training and ensures that their research fits within a scientific discipline and graduate school and that it ties in with the research of a potential supervisor. A unique opportunity for the PhD candidate, the employer and for science.  

Interested in studying for a PhD?

Vacancies for PhD positions at Leiden University can be found on the the University's job vacancy website. If you want to study for a PhD in Leiden, either with a subsidy you have acquired yourself or as an external candidate, you first have to find a professor who is prepared to act as your supervisor. Each Graduate School has a slightly different procedure, so you should check out the web page of the Graduate School of your discipline for more information. The admission requirement for a PhD is that the candidate has to have a Dutch master’s diploma or an equivalent qualification. The Graduate School will check the admission of candidates who have a different prior education. In addition, Graduate Schools may apply specific requirements, such as English language skills. 

Website for PhD candidates

The PhD portal offers information on courses, research facilities, finance and housing for PhD candidates. You can also find the PhD regulations there, containing a description of the policy and procedures concerning PhD tracks, and the PhD guidelines, that lay down minimal requirements for the supervision, training and facilities for PhD candidates.

International PhD candidates

The website of the Service Centre International Staff provides detailed information about such issues as a visa, insurances, bank matters and accommodation for international PhD candidates and employees.  


The Scholarships page has more information about the grants that are available to prospective PhD candidates to allow them to study in Leiden. 

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