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Van Vollenhoven Institute

VVI PhD Track

The Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society offers PhD candidates the possibility to enroll in the VVI PhD track.

Completing a PhD track is usually expected to take four years, on the basis of fulltime commitment. In practice, the track is flexible and custom-made, depending on the individual needs of the candidate. The programme is therefore particularly attractive for external PhD candidates that have a paid part time or full time job. External candidates are not expected to be based in Leiden for the duration of their track. In practice, their presence is expected whenever supervision, seminars and special courses require this.

What do we offer?

At the start of a PhD track, a training and supervision plan will be drafted – in consultation between promotor and candidate - with an individualized outline of the four years trajectory. Virtually all of the PhD-research conducted at the VVI requires a period of field work in the country of study.

During the first year, candidates are strongly encouraged to take part in methodology and other research development seminars offered at Leiden Law School or other faculties. The promotor – and when applicable daily supervisor - will offer regular supervision to the candidate. To promote a stimulating and collegial research environment, the VVI offers PhD candidates the following services:

  • A workplace at the VVI insofar as possible;
  • Participation in academic events such as symposia and conferences, in consultation with the promotor and/or daily supervisor;
  • Participation in VVI research and staff meetings;
  • Travel budget to carry out fieldwork, depending on available funding and needs;
  • Participation in academic courses at Leiden Law School offered to PhD candidates;
  • Internet, documents server and mail account access, also via remote access;
  • Library access including digital subscriptions and e-journals (Leiden Law School and general university libraries).
  • A reading list with recommended core literature from the field of study of the VVI, tailor-made for each candidate;
  • Setting up a Training and Supervision Plan, together with the promotor;
  • Within twelve months after the start of the PhD track an evaluation meeting will take place that will result in a go/no-go decision;
  • Progress of the candidate and the supervision by the (co-) promotors will be assessed annually.

All PhDs at the Van Vollenhoven Institute are conducted under the PhD regulations of the Leiden Law School. A VVI external PhD candidate will be enrolled initially for a period of one year. At the end of the first year, an official evaluation meeting will take place. On the basis of this evaluation enrollment can be extended to a total of four years. Annual meetings will take place between candidate and supervisory team to monitor progress.


As of 1 April 2018, admission to the VVI PhD Track implies the payment of an annual fee of €10 000 has to be paid (for a four years programme). If there is no need for a workplace, and if no claims are made on the travel budget, an exemption of €5000 per year will apply. The fee is charged on a yearly basis at the anniversary of admission to the VVI PhD Track, with a maximum of 4 years.

In case it is decided not to accept the PhD Candidate unconditionally after the first year assessment of progress, the fee for the first year will not be reimbursed.

Fee reduction

The fee can be reduced to €2,500 per annum. A request for a fee reduction can be made by the applicant, if it is shown that the following cumulative conditions are met:

  1. There is an evident substantial link or synergy between the PhD proposal and the research projects of the VVI which justifies a fee reduction;
  2. The Candidate’s curriculum is a proof of excellence;
  3. There is a financial need for a reduction.

A request for a fee reduction can be made by mailing the Coordinator of the VVI PhD Track, detailing why the set conditions are met. The decision on the grant of a fee reduction is made by the Dean of the Law School, following an advice on the matter by the PhD Dean of the Graduate School of the Law Faculty. The VVI Department Board will advise the dean.

How to apply

Application can be done through the online form.

Further information for external PhD candidates at the Leiden Law School can be found here.

There is no specific starting date. Applications can be made at any time during the year.

Further information

If you are interested in learning more about the VVI PhD Track, you can contact Carolien Jacobs, PhD coordinator of the VVI: c.i.m.jacobs@law.leidenuniv.nl

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