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.

Below you will find information on how to start your PhD at Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) at the University of Leiden, Campus The Hague.

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.


The Graduate School is responsible for training and supervising the PhD candidates. Within three months after starting a PhD track, a training and supervision plan (including the personal development plan) is drawn up by the PhD candidate in collaboration with the supervisor. Our educational programme includes several courses.


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.


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 completing the Application Form for Admission. This form is intended for formal, academic admission to the doctorate programme and should be submitted before the start of your programme.

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.

Download here 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.

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