Post-PhD phase

PhD candidates are encouraged to start thinking about job prospects well before defending their dissertation. The Post-PhD phase is attended to during the many formal and informal meetings PhD candidates have with their supervisor and the director of research of the Leiden Institute for History.

Following the defence of their thesis many former PhD candidates find employment in an academic or semi-academic environment. The majority of them successfully ventures on a career in education, administration, heritage, journalism, or business.

A website useful when orienting on job prospects: Career Service of the Faculty of Humanities.

Postdoctoral position

A considerable number of former PhD candidates manages to gain a temporary postdoctoral position. Those who prefer to stay in academia in the Netherlands as a rule apply for such a position via the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This research council offers scholarships young graduates can apply for. An overview of the grant types available for humanities research can be found on the website of NWO.

For young historians the following options are particularly relevant:

Rubicon (aim: gaining experience at a top research institution outside the Netherlands; duration: maximum of two years)

VENI (aim: carrying out an innovative single postdoctoral project independently; duration: maximum of three years)

Free Competition (aim: carrying out a single postdoctoral project as part of a larger research programme executed under senior supervision; duration: maximum of three years)


Writing a NWO proposal is a time consuming and demanding occupation. It can only be completed successfully with the input and feedback of colleagues and peers. It is therefore strongly recommended to notify the director of research when a decision has been made to apply for a NWO scholarship. In that case proper assistance can be offered from within the Institute. Experience has taught that the most successful applications have been written by those former PhD candidates who made the most of the expertise and judgment available within the community of Leiden humanities researchers.

More information on external funding

Last Modified: 23-09-2015