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Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

PhD Supervisors

As a supervisor, you play a vital role in guiding and supporting your PhD candidate throughout their academic journey. Here are some important responsibilities and steps you need to consider.

Supervising PhD candidates course

The success of a PhD candidate depends in part on the guidance they receive from the supervisor. Members of staff who are supervising a PhD candidate for the first time are required to follow  the Supervising PhD candidates course. This course provides insights into how supervisors can effectively mentor and maximize the potential of their PhD candidate.

Getting started as a supervisor

Upon accepting the role of a supervisor, it is your responsibility to fulfill the following tasks at the beginning of the PhD trajectory: 

  • Training and Supervision Plan
    If you have been asked in writing to act as supervisor and have agreed, collaborate with the PhD candidate to draw up a Training and Supervision Plan in consultation with the PhD candidate. For PhD candidates with employee status and contract PhD candidates, this plan has to been drawn up within three months following the formal start date of the PhD programme. For external PhD candidates, the plan should be established within six months of admission to the Graduate School. 

  • Academic and transferable skills 
    In addition to overseeing the quality of the dissertation, supervisors also have a responsibility to ensure that the PhD candidate dedicates time to personal and academic development. This includes allocating a specific number of hours for both academic and transferable skills training within the Training and Supervision plan. As a supervisor, you are accountable for monitoring and supporting these training hours. Here are some important points to consider:

    • Academic skills training
      The Training and Supervision plan should include a provision for 140 hours dedicated to academic skills development. These hours are aimed at enhancing the candidate's research-related competencies, such as research methodologies, data analysis techniques, academic writing, and presentation skills, conference attendance etc. 

    • Transferable skills training
      Alongside academic skills, the plan should also allocate 140 hours for the development of transferable skills. Transferable skills encompass a broad range of abilities that extend beyond academic disciplines, such as communication skills, project management, teamwork, leadership, time management, and networking. These skills are valuable in both academic and non-academic career paths. 

  • Multiple Supervisors
    In cases where two or more supervisors are involved, it is important to clearly define and document the distribution of responsibilities in the training and supervision plan. 
  • Institute-specific instructions 
    Supervisors of the Institute of Psychology are asked to check  the institute's website of the Research Committee of for detailed information on how to submit the training and supervision plan for approval to the Research Committee.  

First year as a supervisor

Each institute has a different guideline for the first year. But as a supervisor you will be responsible for the go/no go decision. Be aware that this can be a difficult period for the PhD candidate with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Set clear expectations already at the beginning and look for improvements.   

Keep the golden rules of PhD supervision in mind for a successful and fulfilling PhD trajectory.  

Final steps for supervisors

As a supervisor, you are responsible for the quality of the dissertation. If the candidate has almost finished his or her dissertation, you will evaluate whether the manuscript meets the requirements for a PhD. You will evaluate any changes that you the candidate have agreed upon throughout the process.  

Please, check  the FSW PhD timetable  for the steps you as supervisor have to follow. 

Approval of the dissertation

If you believe that the manuscript is ‘proof of competency in the independent conducting of scientific research’, you approve it in LUCRIS GSM. Only after all supervisors have been consulted this approval may be issued. All further steps, such as the proposal of the doctorate committee, approval of the propositions etc., are to be taken in  LUCRIS GSM (by the PhD candidate, supervisor and Dean). 

PhD regulations and guidelines

Each successful PhD candidate has to meet the requirements as described in the PhD Regulations. These regulations define the criteria for the dissertation manuscript, but also who is eligible to become a PhD candidate, and what your tasks as a supervisor are. In addition to the PhD Regulations, Leiden University employs a set of  PhD guidelines


Some of the steps in the PhD process have to be registered for administrative purposes. We use LUCRIS  Graduate School Management (GSM module) to register these steps. LUCRIS GSM supports various approvals (by the supervisor (promotor), dean, and secretary) that occur during the PhD track. Some documents, like the training and supervision plan (T&S/OBP) must be uploaded to LUCRIS GSM by the PhD candidate and must be approved by the supervisor. 

According to the Leiden University PhD Regulations associate professors (UHD's) can be granted ius promovendi , the right to award a PhD. You can request the ius from the Doctorate Board via the Dean. The rule on this policy can be found in appendix E of the PhD Regulation.  

The Doctorate Board will grant ius promovendi  to you on the substantiated recommendation of the Dean of the faculty, who has established that you satisfy the criteria and has consulted with a full professor in the relevant discipline. 

You will usually only be eligible for ius promovendi if you have already supervised at least two PhD candidates to a successful PhD defence at a Dutch university or in similar supervisory pathways at non-Dutch universities and has also completed a training course on supervising PhD candidates. Plus, you have independently acquired the funds that have financed the PhD candidates for whom the ius promovendi is requested or has personally recruited the self-funded or external PhD candidates. 

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