Universiteit Leiden

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Graduate School of Science

PhD Training Programme

Leiden University has put together a programme intended to assist you in your development as a future researcher.

Advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research institutes. The Graduate School of Science offers training courses at 3 levels: professional courses, skills training, and personal effectiveness.  
An overview of skills and personal effectiveness training courses:

Compulsory courses

Compulsory courses for all PhD candidates of the Faculty of Science are: 

  1. Time Management
  2. Communication in Science
  3. Scientific Conduct (before: on being a scientist)
  4. Effective Communication

1. Time management, self-management

The course highlights the behaviour that leads to inefficient use of time. You will be given practical tips for carrying our your work more effectively and more efficiently. During the course you will examine your own approach to time management. 
Preferred moment of attendance: 6 months after starting
Duration: 1 day and intervision of half a day
Workload: 16 hrs
Information and registration: Time management

2. Communication in Science

Various forms of oral and written presentations will be looked at from the perspective of interaction, with special attention to linguistic aspects. The participants use their own material so that they can use what they have learned directly in their own research.
Preferred moment of attendance: End of the first year
Duration: 8 sessions of half a day during 5 weeks
Workload: 60 hrs
​Information and registration: Communication in Science

3. Scientific Conduct

A number of cases of scientific fraud and misconduct were bad publicity for the scientific world. Are these cases signs of a system in crisis or just some anomalies in an otherwise good scientific framework? This course will give attention to the grey area and your role as an individual scientist to prevent misconduct.
Preferred moment of attendance: End of the second year
Duration: Half a day
Workload: 5 hrs
Information and registration: Scientific Conduct

4. Effective Communication

During the four years of working towards your PhD you will be cooperating with a number of different people. One important person during this period is your (co-)supervisor ((co-)promotor). He/she will have an impact on you and on your performance.  During the process towards becoming an independent researcher it is, at times, crucial to have an influence on your surroundings by demonstrating effective behaviour, particularly towards the ‘professor’. In the morning we practice the theory and in the afternoon we engage in role play with an actor.
Preferred moment of attendance: Half way into the second year
Duration: 1 day
Workload: 9 hrs
​Information and registration: Effective Communication

Optional courses

Optional courses for all PhD candidates of the Faculty of Science are:

  1. Coaching
  2. Intervision
  3. Intellectual Property
  4. Writing a grant proposal
  5. Career counselling
  6. Further workshops

1. Coaching

Coaching is a type of supervision whereby the PhD Candidate presents a work related problem. The aim is that the client learns (part of) his work by taking control himself, performing in such a way that he makes a contribution to the goal of the organisation he’s a part of in the way that he would like to.
Preferred moment: From second half of the first year onward 
Registration: via the HRM adviser of the Faculty of Science

2. Intervision

During this type of intervision session, you are given the opportunity to structurally discuss a number of problems encountered in your work with your fellow PhD Candidates. You will learn to consult each other, to share your work experiences, and to discuss them with each other in a fruitful non-judgmental manner. All participants have the opportunity to share opinions, to improve their professional skills and to develop ideas on how to deal with specific situations.
Preferred moment: From second year onward
Duration: 4 sessions of 2 hours
Registration: HRM adviser of the Faculty of Science

3. Intellectual Property (patents / copyrights)

The objective of the course is to introduce Intellectual property (IP) in general and specifically patent law and copyright law. The course provides a broad overview of IP and relevant details of certain areas with which the scientist is likely to come into contact. By providing relevant examples and case studies the subject matter will be put into a practical perspective.
Preferred moment of attendance: End of the third year
Duration: Half a day
Information and registration: Intellectual Property

4. Writing an excellent grant proposal

It is essential for researchers to be able to obtain independent research funding in order to advance in their career. This training course will provide you with both the tools and the opportunity to practice with writing or improving your own research proposal for an individual grant (like the Rubicon, Veni and Vidi projects).
Preferred moment of attendance: End of the third year
Duration: 1 day
Information and registration: Writing an excellent proposal

5. Workshops in career counselling

When the end of the PhD Programme is approaching, most PhD Candidates start wondering about their future. Sometimes it is obvious which career path will be chosen, sometimes not so. Different workshops are offered in order to help PhD Candidates make an informed decision about their future career.
Information and registration:
  - Competences and motives
  - Interview skills
  - Networking skills
Preferred moment of attendance: 3rd/4th year
Duration: Length of the modules vary

6. Further courses

HRM Services of Leiden University also offers other courses, which might be of interest for PhD Candidates. More courses can also be found on the general website of HRM Services. Amongst others, there are courses in teaching skills, enhancing your learning qualities and how to use (social) media. Language courses are offered by the Academic Language Centre.  

Planning the Training Programme

Before the end of the PhD programme all four compulsory courses – Time Management, Communication in Science, Effective Communication and On Being a Scientist – should be finished. The preferred moment of attendance within the PhD programme is given in the figure on the right. 

Registration for courses

Since all PhD Candidates have their own busy schedule of experiments, writings, teaching obligations etc, PhD candidates can register themselves for the courses. PhD Candidates are responsible to register for the courses at their preferred moment.
For each course the method of registration is listed. Most courses are organised by the HRM Services of Leiden University, for those courses you have to register via Self Service. Follow the blue button "Registration (Self Service)" at the top of the page of the course of interest. Do you not have access to self service? You have to register via an online form. See therefore the grey bar at the bottom of the webpage of the course of interest.


Sometimes PhD Candidates already have participated in courses similar to a course of the compulsory training programme. Exemptions for courses of the PhD training programme can be made by sending a request using the Exemption Form for the PhD Training Programme. Please indicate the reason and if applicable include proof of participation in other courses. The Graduate School of Science decides whether or not exemption is granted and informs you and your supervisor by Email.