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Graduate School


On this page you will find information on the admission procedure to the Graduate School of the Faculty Goverance and Global Affairs. Additional information can be found on the staff website.

Requirements for admission to the PhD programme are stated in the PhD Regulations. Once you meet these requirements and you have found a supervisor, you can apply for admission to the Graduate School of Governance & Global Affairs by by logging on to the PhD Applicant Login. Please fill in the PhD application and upload all the documents requested. 

For further information and login details, contact Graduateschool@fgga.leidenuniv.nl.

  • The willingness of the supervisor to supervise you during your PhD research must be uploaded, but this may be a simple (email) message from the supervisor to you.
  • Evidence of English language competencies can be uploaded but it is not mandatory. Your supervisor will assess this.
  • A recommendation letter is not required.

You are advised to submit your complete application at least two months before the start of your PhD programme. If you will need a visa and/or residence permit, please submit your application at least three months before the starting date of your programme. The supervisor has to confirm that s/he is willing to accept you as a candidate (promovendus) before any further steps can be taken. The formal decision on admission rests with the Dean of the Graduate School. Upon admission, the PhD candidate (and supervisor) will receive a formal letter of acceptance from the Dean. For more information about the admission procedure, please contact the Graduate School

Please download a template for a research proposal you could use.

Affiliations and funding

When starting your PhD at Leiden University you can apply for a University-funded or self-funded position. University-funded PhD positions constitute a four-year full-time (or five-year 0,8-fte) research position with full funding and require candidates to spend about 15% of their time on teaching. Vacancies for funded PhD positions are posted on the University Website. 

Self-funded PhD candidates receive their funding from other sources than Leiden University, which allows for part-time arrangements. Self-funded candidates are not allowed to teach in the regular curriculum. When applying for a self-funded position, you should include full and accurate information on any secured funding and/or plans to apply for external funding. A number of scholarships that can provide funding for your PhD at the Leiden Graduate School of Governance & Global Affairs can be found in the side bar.  Apart from funding, there are several other financial matters that may need your attention. 

Combining a job with a PhD?

This is possible at the Leiden University Dual PhD Centre. 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 these dual PhD candidates 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.

International applicants

International PhD applicants might need a visa, residence permit and/or work permit. Leiden University Service Centre International Staff (SCIS) can give you all the necessary information.

You can also consult the information on visa and residence permits online, or have a look at the website of Euraxess.nl.

FGGA Graduate School Go-No Go Guidelines

January 2022

The ‘Go-No Go” moment will take place at the end of the candidate’s first year [or up to 18 months into the PhD for external candidates/part time candidates]. This procedure is designed to guarantee the production of quality PhD theses in the Faculty, ensure common standards and clarify expectations for PhD students and supervisors about the progress achieved.

The requirement for the successful completion of the Go-No-Go procedure is the submission of a satisfactory PhD prospectus containing the main research questions, theories, and methods used in the thesis, as well as realistic work schedule for the PhD research. The purpose of the Go-No-Go procedure is to ensure that both the candidate and the supervisors are clear on the progress of the thesis, and are confident about its chances of completion. 

PhD Prospectus

The PhD candidate submits a document that may contain all or most of the following elements, in agreement with the supervisor:

  • Introduction. Research topic, research question, scientific and real-world significance of the question
  • Literature review. Overview of existing research, identification of research gaps justifying the research question.
  • Theory. This can be combined with the literature review or presented as a separate section. It can include  a theoretical framework if appropriate.
  • Hypothesis, variables and the central argument that is being tested or advanced in this thesis. If the work is deductive it is anticipated that this section will be included.
  • Methods and Research Design. This section should outline the broad methodological approach used in the thesis (e.g. qualitative/quantitative/ethnographic/interpretative) and justification of the main methodological choices (data sources; rationale for case selection) used in the thesis.
  • Structure overview. This section presents an outline of the chapters of the thesis with a one-paragraph overview of the content of each chapter. If the dissertation consists of a collection of articles, an outline of the planned articles should be included.
  • A work schedule proposing a timeline of the projected research work. e.g. (“months 1-3: theory development; months 4-6 pilot study; months 12-15 fieldwork in Ghana, etc.).
  • Bibliography.  This should demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the current literature. 



The PhD candidate will submit the prospectus to their supervisor on an agreed date according to the guidelines above. Within a month after submission, the supervisor and co-supervisors review the document and mutually agree if the candidate is allowed to continue their PhD.

It is recommended that a suitable third external reviewer is appointed by the supervisory team to review the Go-No Go document. This is not compulsory but would be useful to obtain an objective external opinion on the progress of the candidate and their suitability for the PhD program.

Except in the presence of exceptional circumstances, if the candidate receives a No-Go then they will be asked to cease their PhD trajectory within the faculty. They will not be eligible to approach other supervisors within FGGA for supervision.

If the candidate receives a Go then they can continue with their PhD at FGGA.

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