Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS)


This section contains information on:

Entry requirements
Application procedure
Foreign nationals
Fulltime enrolment, part-time enrolment, extensions
Graduate Studies Advisor

In order to undertake PhD research at LIAS, candidates must be enrolled in the Graduate School of Humanities. The Graduate School is where PhD research is coordinated across the full breadth of the Faculty of Humanities.

Entry requirements

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field. Exemptions may be granted by the Dean of Humanities on behalf of the University’s Doctorate Board, at the request of the applicant and their prospective supervisors.
  • Overall adequate qualifications for the proposed project as assessed by the prospective supervisors, including a sufficient command of the relevant languages; good proficiency in English (level advised: IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 600/250 or IBT 100).

    As of 1 September 2024 the minimum requirements apply at the start of the PhD trajectory for English:
  • IELTS: academic modules only. Minimum score 7.0 overall, and a minimum score of 7.0 is required for each of the four components (Not accepted: IELTS General Training or IELTS Indicator).
  • TOEFL: internet based (IBT): Minimum score 100 overall, a minimum score of 25 is required for each of the four components (Not accepted: TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™, institutional tests such as ITP).
  • Cambridge Advanced Certificate: Minimum score 185.

    Please refer to the website of the Humanities Graduate School for exemptions or requirements for other languages.

Application procedure

  • Employee positions: applicants should follow the guidelines provided in the call for applications to which they are responding.
  • Self-funded positions:
    • Prospective candidates should start by emailing the person they would like to have as their first supervisor (see also people). Please include at least a CV and research proposal.
    • Once the prospective supervisors declare their availability and support, the student enters the formal application procedure of the Graduate School.
    • This will include a research proposal drawn up in consultation with the prospective supervisors. General guidelines for this proposal are provided below.
    • After the registration is completed at the the Graduate School, admission is granted or denied by the Academic Director on behalf of the Dean, normally within four to six weeks. Upon admission, the PhD candidate is notified by LIAS, and receives an admission statement, a LU card, a university email address, digital library access details and so on from the Graduate School office.
  • Scholarship positions: see above, under self-funded. A letter guaranteeing admission upon the acquisition of a scholarship may be issued ahead of time if the student needs this to apply to a particular funding agency (e.g. CSC, DIKTI); in this case, please contact the LIAS Secretariat.

Foreign nationals

The Graduate School office has some basic information on visa, residence permits, and work permits. For immigration-related matters, see also under International Staff.

Fulltime enrolment, part-time enrolment, extensions

The PhD trajectory nominally requires four years of fulltime commitment. In practice, those who do their project in five years at 0,8 fte (fulltime equivalent) – i.e., four days a week – are considered fulltime candidates as well.

Depending on the applicant’s qualifications – for instance, a Research Master’s degree or equivalent, and/or project components completed prior to enrolment – the nominal requirement of four years of fulltime commitment may be reduced. 

Applications for part-time enrolment – i.e., less than four days a week – will be considered if the prospective supervisors are confident that the project will be completed within six years.

It is not uncommon for projects to take longer than the nominal period (e.g. for fulltime projects to take five or six years). At the same time, at LIAS as in other places, the PhD program has grown to be more focused in terms of structure, coursework and training, and supervision; and completion of the dissertation in four years by most if not all students emphatically remains our objective.

Requests by the candidate and their advisors for extending the enrolment period will be considered by the Academic Director on a case-by-case basis, with due consultation of the Graduate Studies Advisor.

Director of Doctoral Studies

Some generic components of the PhD program – e.g. coursework and training, progress reviews, and activities designed especially for PhD candidates – are coordinated by the Director of Doctoral Studies.

This website uses cookies.  More information.