Universiteit Leiden

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Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)

PhD trajectory

Research in and through the artistic practice

At the ACPA you are an external  self-funded PhD candidate, working part-time (or if possible, full-time) on your research and are not employed by the University. Every PhD candidate is enrolled by the  Graduate School of the Faculty of Humanities. A PhD track consists of original academic research under the supervision of a professor and a supervising team, which takes on average 4 to 5 years.

After starting a PhD trajectory a supervision plan is drawn up by the PhD candidate in collaboration with the main supervisor. After one year, at the Qualifying Hurdle,  specific individual adjustments and alterations may be determined in agreement with the PhD candidate’s main supervisor. During the trajectory every year a Progress Evaluation will take place.


To obtain the PhD in arts we expect your research project to be formed around a specific issue that is embedded in or related to your practice. Your research should be academic but should also add to the artistic value of your work. 

Once promoted through the ancient traditions of the Leiden University you will receive your doctoral degree in Creative and Performing Arts. This prestigious degree enhances your chances on for instance a teaching position in the academic world but also enriches your own artistic practice.


Promoting within ACPA is twofold as it consists of a public defense at Leiden University and an artistic event, such as a recital, exhibition or workshop to artistically articulate the thesis.

The Graduate School and the ACPA-office are responsible for the provision of information on courses, the organization of seminars, and the (administrative) support in preparation for the PhD defence. The entire procedure leading up to the defence has been extensively described. For a description you can download the Procedure document. For more information and questions about the preparation for the PhD defence, please contact our office at acpa@hum.leidenuniv.nl .

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