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Graduate School of Humanities

Admission to the Graduate School

Requirements for admission to the Graduate School and steps described below in short are described in detail in the Leiden University PhD Regulations.


Those persons are eligible for admission to the Graduate School of Humanities who:
Have been awarded a master’s degree from a Dutch university or an equivalent master’s degree from another institution. In exceptional cases, the Dean may, having received a written request to this effect and on behalf of the Doctorate Board, grant exemption from the entry requirements.

Finding a supervisor

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 find a prospective supervisor by searching (the research area of) academic staff members on the Institute’s website (see links below). Please send him or her an email including your C.V. and research proposal.

Please note that some institutes (IH, LIAS, LUCL) charge a mandatory fee to contract and/or external PhD candidates. You can find this information on the website of the institute.

A PhD supervision team consist of two supervisors. Both must hold a doctorate, and one must have the ius promovendi (the right to award a PhD). All full professors have ius promovendi by virtue of their position. A senior lecturer (UHD) only has ius promovendi if the Doctorate Board has granted it to him/her individually (PhD Regulations appendix 10). If the intended supervisor is not entitled to award a PhD, he or she will contact a full professor or a senior lecturer with ius promovendi on your behalf. Supervision can involve scholars from different institutes, faculties, and, exceptionally, universities. The supervisor and second/co-supervisor both have to confirm that they are willing to accept you as a PhD candidate before any further steps can be taken.

You can register with the Graduate School of Humanities online via Converis GSM. Please send an email to: phd-admissions@hum.leidenuniv.nl for login information (username and password).

For the online application, all PhD candidates (employed, contract and external) need to submit:

  • digital copies of your all your university diplomas and transcripts in the original language and with an official translation in English, French, German or Dutch;

Contract and External PhD candidates must also submit:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • two letters of recommendation, including one from your MA thesis supervisor;*
  • a statement from your intended PhD supervisor that he/she has accepted you as a PhD candidate (this can be a letter or an email);
  • confirmation from your intended PhD co-supervisor that he/she is willing to be the second/co-supervisor (this can be a separate document or combined with the supervisor statement)
  • a description of the proposed PhD research. Please use this document to draft your research proposal and make sure that you have checked with your supervisor if there are any additional requirements for your proposal;
  • a copy of your MA thesis or of other research related work which offers proof that you have the competence and skills for PhD research. If your thesis was not written in English, French, German or Dutch, please enclose a short summary and a translation of the title of your thesis in one of these languages.*

* This does not apply to PhD candidates at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA)

Certified copies (in paper form) of your diplomas including transcripts

In addition to your online application you need to send officially certified copies (in paper form) of your Master's diploma, including transcripts and English translation, to the Graduate School Office in a sealed envelope. The address is:

Leiden University
Graduate School of Humanities Admissions Office
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
The Netherlands

- If you have a non-Dutch diploma there are two options:

1. Officially certified copies by your university:
Copies must be certified as genuine (original stamp and signature) by the Registrar of your institution or the Head of your department and should be sent in a sealed institution envelope (original stamp and signature) to the Admissions Office of Leiden University (either by you or the institution).

2. Officially legalised documents:
Including an Apostille statement. For more information on how to request this in your country go to:

Photocopies or copies from a local Town Hall are not acceptable. If a diploma is requested, but it will not be available before the registration deadline, please submit a complete certified transcript accompanied by an original statement from your institution confirming your diploma instead.

If the original documents are not issued in English, French, German or Dutch, they should be translated by a sworn translator (or the institution itself) and attached to the original translation.

- If you have a Dutch diploma:

Officially certified copies of Dutch academic records may be sent to the Admissions Office. We also accept a digitally certified pdf from Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO), confirming your diploma (Uittreksel uit het diplomaregister): https://duo.nl/particulier/uittreksel-diplomagegevens-downloaden.jsp. Please send this pdf by email to phd-admissions@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

The ethics committee of the Faculty of Humanities gives binding advice on ethical issues in research. Using the checklist, researchers are to determine whether their research needs to be presented to the committee for an ethics review.

More information on different types of PhD positions at Leiden University, scholarships and funded PhD positions can be found here.

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