Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University Centre for Linguistics

PhD programme

The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) has a longstanding tradition in research in the world’s languages and features unique linguistic expertise. Here you can study linguistic diversity from different theoretical perspectives. At LUCL, data-driven and theory-driven linguistic research interact to further develop an interdisciplinary approach to linguistic phenomena.


PhD-positions are divided into three different types of affiliation: paid positions, contract positions, and external positions. Please consult this schematic overview to find out more about the different PhD categories. There are three types of positions available; paid positions, contract positions and external positions.

Paid positions

A paid PhD position constitutes a four-year full time (or five year 0,8 fte part time) research position, with full funding sufficient for general subsistence. 

Application to a paid position is in response to advertisement by the university. Vacancies are advertised on the LUCL and Leiden University websites, and other online channels. They become available through external research funding (e.g. from NWO or EU) with the university acting as grant-holding institution and employer. Alternatively, positions will be available through special projects on institute, faculty or university level. 

Contract positions

The research of many of our PhD candidates is self-funded, meaning that they bring their own funding for general subsistence, from sources other than Leiden University. Candidates applying for a contract position are required to pay an annual fee of €4000,-. This fee entitles the PhD student to:

  • supervision by at least two LUCL members,
  • a personal teaching program with courses for didactics, academic writing, etc.
  • a personal budget for conference visits and/or field-work (under approval of the institute manager),
  • access to all courses within LUCL,
  • membership of LOT and access to summer and winter school,
  • a (shared) workspace, including a computer account and a University Library card, 
  • yearly progress interviews
  • access to all professional and social meetings of LUCL,
  • contribution to the costs for the publication of the dissertation.

External positions 

The review committee will decide whether or not external PhD candidates can be accepted based on their previous training. They are not entitled to any facilities or financial support by LUCL, except for a contribution towards the publication of their dissertation. However, if an external candidate requires help in finding a supervisor or promotor (thesis director), LUCL may offer assistance.

Application and Admission

If you are interested in starting your PhD at the LUCL, you are required to apply for admission to the PhD programme both at the Graduate School of Humanities and the LUCL. When applying for a contract or external PhD position, prospective supervisor(s) should declare their availability and support for the candidate’s work before they start the formal application procedure.

Graduate School of Humanities

PhD candidates will apply to the office of the Graduate School for Humanities, selecting LUCL as the institute of their choice. Once the office has ascertained that their application is complete, it will forward the application to LUCL.


In addition to the requirements set by the Graduate School of Humanities, applicants are also required to provide the following items when applying for a PhD position with LUCL:

  • A preference for a supervisor. You may mention this in your research proposal. Possible supervisors can be found through the list of LUCL staff. Detailed information on individual expertise can be found on the personal pages.

  • A research outline (400-600 words), containing a working title; an introduction, including an explanation of your research questions; any relevant information on primary sources; scholarships to date; theory and methodology; etc.

  • A (brief) CV, listing education and employment history, and any relevant publications, as applicable.

  • Names and contact information of two academic referees. LUCL will ask these referees for a recommendation.

  • Proof of proficiency in English, in the form of a TOEFL or IELTS examination, or a Cambridge certificate of Proficiency in English.

The application procedure also includes an interview, if necessary by telephone or Skype.

Candidates are requested to submit their application using  this form.

Additional information

General information on Leiden University's PhD-programmes can be found here. More information on LUCL's PhD training framework can be found here.

LUCL  PhD Counsellors are Prof. dr. Maarten Mous and Prof. dr. Jenny Doetjes.

If you require any additional information, please e-mail lucl@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

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