Universiteit Leiden

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Graduate School

Prospective PhD Candidates

Thank you for your interest in doing PhD research at the Leiden Graduate School of Governance and Global Affairs.

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

Within the Graduate School of Governance & Global Affairs you can conduct your PhD research in a wide range of subjects. Each PhD candidate is affiliated to one of the institutes or centres: 

  • the Institute of Public Administration 
  • the Institute of Security and Global Affairs 
  • Leiden University College The Hague 

The PhD programme can be conducted full-time and part-time. 


Once you have decided on your field of research, you should start looking for a supervisor as early as possible. Finding the right supervisor is a key element in the process of obtaining a doctorate. 

A PhD supervision team consist of two supervisors. Both must hold a doctorate, and one must hold the rank of full professor. Supervision can involve scholars from different Institutes, Faculties, and, exceptionally, Universities. Please visit the websites of the Institutes for an overview of academic staff and indicate the name of the intended supervisor in the application form. 

On the right-hand side you will find links to our Institute of Public Administration and Institute of Security and Global Affairs. Here you can find their respective research programs and staff members. 

We advise you to read the information carefully to find a supervisor (full professor). You can contact the professor directly to inquire about their willingness to be your supervisor. You should prepare a research proposal beforehand. Please download a template for a research proposal

Before you apply as an external PhD candidate, it is important that you find a supervisor (full professor). On the online application form you must provide the name of the supervisor. You must also include in your application confirmation that your supervisor has accepted you as a PhD candidate. This can be, for example, a copy of an email from the professor agreeing to be your supervisor.

Visit the next page for further information on admissions, or go to the staff website for a detailed time table of the admissions process.

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