Institute for History
PhD and Guest research
The PhD programme at the Leiden University Institute for History is characterised by a strong international orientation, a broad variety of disciplinary perspectives and methodological approaches, and a focus on the use of primary sources. The institute welcomes employed, contract and external PhD candidates.
The PhD programme
The PhD programme in history at Leiden University is embedded within the Faculty of Humanities, which provides the opportunity to study not only the languages, societies and cultures of Europe, but also those of Africa, Asia, America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, the PhD programme is affiliated to the multidisciplinary university profile areas 'Global interactions of people, cultures and power through the ages' and 'Political legitimacy'. All research conducted in the context of the PhD programme is closely related to the research programmes of the Leiden Institute for History. PhD candidates primarily focus on writing their dissertation under the guidance of two supervisors of whom one is a full professor. At least the full professor is connected to one or two of the research programmes. In addition, PhD candidates take a number of courses relevant to their field of research. Some of these courses are offered by the Institute, such as the PhD conferences and the practical educational course. The latter are compulsory components of the PhD training programme. As a rule PhD candidates take supplementary courses at Leiden University and at one of the Dutch research schools in the field of history. Finally, the PhD programme offers candidates the opportunity to gain experience in administration and teaching, and provides a timely orientation towards a career after the completion of the PhD dissertation.
PhD candidates employed by the Institute are generally appointed for a period of four years. The management team of the Institute, however, may reduce this to a three-year period whenever it considers this justified because of the pre-education and state of affairs of the project of the PhD candidate.
Most members of the institute, including the PhD candidates, are housed together in the Johan Huizinga building, creating a stimulating intellectual environment and a genuine academic community. Members of the Institute frequently organize conferences, workshops, lectures and book presentations which are open to anyone interested in the topic under discussion. The workplaces available for PhD candidates in the Johan Huizinga building and adjacent locations include all the necessary facilities (desk, computer and library access).
Employed PhD Candidates
In case PhD candidates are employed by the Institute for History, they will be selected by the PhD committee of the Institute. In case PhD candidates are sponsored by an external funding agency, and accountability for the funding is a responsibility of the Institute for History, they will be selected by an ad hoc committee. In all instances the supervisor of the candidate and the director of research Dr. P.J.J. Meel will be part of this committee.
Admission of contract and external PhD candidates
Contract and external (self-funded) PhD candidates at the Leiden University Institute for History are subject to admission through a specific procedure at the Graduate School for Humanities. Before you can apply for admission through the graduate school, it is important to find a supervisor for your project within one of the research programmes of the Institute for History. Candidates can approach a potential supervisor themselves.
Admission mainly depends on candidates having:
- formulated an excellent dissertation proposal.
- found a supervisor at the Institute for History.
- successfully completed a (research) MA degree in history (or equivalent discipline). Excellence being a major selection criterion, supervisors focus on applicants who have obtained a (research) MA or MPhil diploma with high marks, including a substantial thesis that was evaluated with at least an 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) or equivalent.
Visiting guest researchers
The Leiden University Institute for History also welcomes visiting researchers or lecturers from outside Leiden University that wish to conduct research or teach at the institute.
For a guest stay at the Institute for History it is important that the potential guest first gets in touch with a senior staff member or (potential) supervisor for approval. After approval has been given, the request will be assessed by the management of the Institute. The eligibility of candidates will be considered in light of their past performance and the extent to which their planned project relates to the research specialisations of the institute. Admission furthermore depends on the length of the intended stay and the availability of a workplace (if desired). In order to arrange all the formalities, please submit your application for guest research at least four months before the planned stay to the management of the Institute for History, via Dr. P.J.J. Meel. The application should include a cv and a cover letter.
Self-funded researchers have two options when staying as a guest:
1) Guest stay with their own workplace and a full Leiden University account including e-mail, Wi-Fi and (digital) library access;
- for longer periods, from 3 months to a year
- costs are EUR 800,- (VAT excluded) per semester (6 months) plus possible additional costs for visa
2) Guest stay without a workplace and with a guest account including Wi-Fi and (digital) library access;
- for a maximum period of 3 months
- no costs
Researchers from outside the EU
Researchers from outside the European Union, including PhD students and lecturers, who want to stay longer than a regular visa permits, need a valid working permit in order to work at the Institute for History. The HR department of the faculty will assist in requesting a working permit.
More information for (visiting) international staff can be found here.