Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS)

PhD research

LIAS staff has 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 candidates of the Graduate School of Humanities, who want to pursue their PhD under the supervision of one of the members of LIAS.

LIAS accepts new PhD applications for enrollment yearly on 1st September. The deadline for submitting your application is 1st February of that same year. 

General information
The project
Beyond the PhD
Events Calendar

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 Graduate School 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.

Candidate categories, funding, and fees

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

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

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

Self-funded candidates primarily rely on private resources.

From 1 September 2020 LIAS charges a yearly EUR 450 administrative fee for PhD candidates. For PhD candidates who register on or as of 1 September 2024 this fee will change to EUR 400 for self-funded PhD candidates and EUR 2800 for scholarship PhD candidates. As of 1 September 2026 all LIAS self-funded and scholarship PhD candidates will be charged this annual fee, depending on their situation this will be the low or high tariff.

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 candidates 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 website here.

Non-resident candidates

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 will consider applications from students planning to do their research while based outside the Netherlands.

Visiting candidates

Students seeking the PhD degree at other institutions who want to spend substantial time at LIAS 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 candidates must ensure that their work complies with academic integrity standards. All candidates are expected to familiarize themselves with the relevant information, and to attend a Graduate School of Humanities seminar on academic integrity in the first year of their PhD research.


PhD candidates’ participation in local research events will benefit their work, both academically and in social terms. This includes events organized especially for LIAS PhD candidates 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,

PhD regulations and protocol

Prospective candidates 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 LIAS secretariat.

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