Universiteit Leiden

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Area Studies: Asia & the Middle East

PhD research

LIAS and LUCSoR staff have a strong track record in supervising internationally competitive PhD research in Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies, and the study of religion. Our graduates go on to work in a range of professional fields, academic and other. This page provides information for prospective and current PhD students.

General information
The project
Beyond the PhD

General information

The PhD degree signifies the ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge by conducting independent, original research. PhD research is the lifeblood of the academy. Writing a dissertation is a formative experience that enables sustained, source- and fieldwork-intensive research, and the development of an academic habitus. It affords the space to explore the academic landscape in terms of disciplines, themes, places in the world, and theoretical and methodological perspectives; and to build expertise, skills, and networks for academic and other research-related careers.

In the Faculty of Humanities, the PhD trajectory nominally requires four years of fulltime commitment. The degree is awarded in Humanities, on the authority of the Doctorate Board, in accordance with the University’s PhD regulations.

For generic components of the PhD program, LIAS and LUCSoR work together wherever possible. Both are multidisciplinary communities that combine humanities and social science approaches. In addition to LIAS and LUCSoR, the Faculty is comprised of institutes for the study of the arts in society, creative and performing arts, history, linguistics, and philosophy.

Student categories, funding, and fees

In terms of legal status, PhD students in the Netherlands include self-funded students, scholarship students, and employees.

Employee positions are salaried,  and usually funded by NWO and EU project grants and filled through international recruitment.

Scholarship students bring full scholarships from funding sources outside the University (examples in LIAS and LUCSoR include the governments of China, Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan, and the EU; and dedicated foundations).

Self-funded students primarily rely on private resources.

LIAS and LUCSoR charge no tuition fees, but reserve the right to charge bench fees for scholarship students and self-funded students. Any such measure will be duly communicated prior to admission.

Some general information on scholarships for PhD research at Leiden University is found here. This page mostly lists grant schemes for which Leiden University is structurally involved in the assessment process, and prospective students are encouraged to explore other funding sources. International, community-maintained websites listing PhD scholarships come and go, and vary a great deal in orientation and coverage. Some are focused on humanities and/or social sciences and filterable for destination countries.

For an indication of the cost of living in the Netherlands, see the Study in Holland website.

Non-resident students

Participation in local academic life – attending scholarly events, doing coursework, presenting one’s work, peer learning and so on – offers signifcant added value for professional development, and this presumes the student’s regular physical presence on campus. However, LIAS and LUCSoR will consider applications from students planning to do their research while based outside the Netherlands.

Visiting students

Students seeking the PhD degree at other institutions who want to spend substantial time at LIAS and LUCSoR are welcome to apply for the status of visiting scholar.

Academic integrity

Academic integrity is essential to scholarship. Breaches of academic integrity may result in disciplinary action, including expulsion from the University and withholding or nullification of the PhD degree. Fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (FFP) are well-known examples, but academic integrity is about much more than avoiding FFP. It is about the development of one’s professional habitus as an academic.

PhD students must ensure that their work complies with academic integrity standards. All students are expected to familiarize themselves with the relevant information, and to attend a Faculty of Humanities seminar on academic integrity in the first year of their PhD research.


PhD students’ participation in local research events will benefit their work, both academically and in social terms. This includes events organized especially for LIAS and LUCSoR PhD students by the PhD Council and the Graduate Studies Advisor as well as public events held in the University and its partner institutions. See, for example,

LIAS and LUCSoR are on Facebook, in a closed group that new members and visitors can ask to join.

PhD regulations and protocol

Prospective students and supervisors are advised to familiarize themselves with the University’s PhD regulations, the explanation of the relevant procedures, and the forms that need to be filled out at various moments.


Any queries may be addressed to the Graduate School.