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International Institute of Air and Space Law

International Institute of Air and Space Law PhD Track

The International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL) offers PhD candidates the possibility to enroll in the IIASL PhD Track. It is designed for 'external' PhD candidates (buitenpromovendi), who seek to pursue a PhD in Air Law or Space Law while honouring their professional commitments in parallel.

Completing a PhD track usually takes four years, on the basis of full-time commitment. In practice, the track is flexible and custom-made, depending on the individual needs of the candidate. External candidates are not expected to be based in Leiden for the duration of their track.

PhD Track

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 will offer regular supervision to the candidate. To promote a stimulating research environment, the International Institute of Air and Space Law offers PhD candidates the following:

  • A workplace at the International Institute of Air and Space Law;
  • Participation in academic events such as symposia and conferences, in consultation with the promotor;
  • 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);
  • Setting up a Training and Supervision Plan, together with the promotor;
  • Progress of the candidate and the supervision by the (co-) promotors will be assessed annually.

An external PhD candidate at the International Institute of Air and Space Law 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 by upto a total of four years. Annual meetings will take place between the candidate and his or her supervisory team to monitor progress.


All PhD candidates are supervised by a full Professor from Leiden University, and will be assigned a co-promotor or co-supervisor, according to the applicable Leiden University PhD Regulations. All PhDs at the IIASL are conducted under the Leiden University PhD Regulations.

In accordance with Article 3 of the Leiden University PhD Regulations, persons may be eligible for admission if they:

  • were awarded a master’s degree from a Dutch university or an equivalent master’s degree from another institution, or have passed the ‘old style’ doctoral (doctoraal) examination of a government-funded or appointed Dutch university;
  • have written a thesis as proof of competence in conducting scientific research independently;
  • possess proven English language proficiency, demonstrated by way of a TOEFL test (overall score of 100 Internet-based), or IELTS test (overall score of 7.0), or Cambridge English Proficiency certificate (CPE); and
  • meet the requirements stipulated elsewhere in the regulations.

In addition to the general admissions criteria listed above, to be considered for admission applicants to the IIASL PhD track should also have: 

  • obtained an (Adv.) LL.M. in Air & Space Law;
  • gained experience working in air and/or space; or
  • published in air and/or space.

Admission is conditional for the first year, and is followed by formal evaluation of the progress of the PhD Candidate. The PhD Candidate's registration will usually be extended for three additional years following a successful evaluation.


As of 1 April 2018, admission to the International Institute of Air and Space Law PhD Track implies the payment of a fee of €10 000 per year (for a four years programme). If the PhD Candidate does not need access to a working space at the Law Faculty and if no claims are made on the travel budget, the fee is set at €5 000 per year, 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.

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 conditions are met:

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

A request for a fee reduction can be made by mailing the International Institute of Air and Space Law PhD Track (see contact details at the end of this page), 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.

How to apply

Applications are made through the online form.

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

If you have any additional questions about the International Institute of Air and Space Law PhD Track, please contact us: directoriiasl@law.leidenuniv.nl


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