Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Graduate School of Humanities

Prospective PhD Candidates

Thank you for your interest in doing PhD research at the Leiden Graduate School of Humanities. Below you will find information on how to start your PhD at Humanities in Leiden.

PhD Programmes

Within the Graduate School you can conduct your PhD research in a wide range of subjects across the Humanities, with several distinct PhD programmes offered by its institutes. For details on the PhD programmes, please refer to the information provided by the institutes.


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. You can get in contact with a prospective supervisor through the Institute of your choice. 
A PhD supervision team consist of two supervisors. Both must hold a doctorate, and one must hold the rank of full professor. If the intended supervisor is not a full professor, s/he will contact a full professor on your behalf. Supervision can involve scholars from different Institutes, Faculties, and, exceptionally, Universities. The supervisor has to confirm that s/he is willing to accept you as a candidate (promovendus) before any further steps can be taken.


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 Humanities by completing the Application Form for Admission and sending it to the Graduate School Office. This form is intended for formal, academic admission to the doctorate 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 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 Office.

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 Humanities can be found in the side bar. Apart from funding, there are several other financial matters that may need your attention.

International Applicants

International PhD applicants might need a visa, residence permit and/or work permit. The Graduate School Office and the International Servicedesk can assist you in applying for the necessary permits.

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

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.