Universiteit Leiden

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Institute for History

PhD Programme

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.

Intellectual environment

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. 

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