Affiliation and Funding

If you intend to pursue a doctorate at Leiden University there are two possibilities: a funded or a non-funded position.

You can apply for different types of affiliation, summed up as University-funded or self-funded. University-funded PhD research is normally full-time, meaning that candidates are expected to finish their dissertation and acquire other relevant professional experience (e.g. teaching) within four years at 1.0 fte, or five years at 0.8 fte, depending on circumstances such as overall planning for team projects. Self-funded PhD research allows for part-time arrangements.

PhD candidates from outside the European Union must realise that a work permit is always required for the doctoral programme unless, of course, they conduct their research and do their writing as part of or in addition to another job or in their own time and in their own country.


University-funded PhD candidates (AiO's)

Under current law, Dutch Universities can only fund PhD research by giving PhD candidates employee status. Hence, academic ranks of employment at Dutch universities include that of AiO or Assistent in Opleiding, which pragmatically translates as PhD trainee. AiO status constitutes a four-year full-time (or five-year 0,8-fte) research position, with full funding sufficient for general subsistence.

Application is in response to advertisement by the University. AiO positions are advertized on the LIAS and Leiden University websites, and other online channels. They become available through external research funding (e.g. from NWO or ESF, with the University acting as grant-holding institution and employer), or through special projects on the University, Faculty of Humanities, or institute levels.

Self-funded PhD candidates

As noted, under current law, Dutch Universities can only fund PhD research by offering PhD candidates employee status. Accordingly, the research of many of our PhD candidates is self-funded, meaning that they bring their own funding for general subsistence, from other sources than Leiden University. They include full-time and part-time candidates (many part-timers do their research concurrently with employment in a range of professional fields). Self-funded candidates bring private funding and/or scholarship from foundations, government-supported internationalization schemes, etc.

Application is initiated by the prospective candidate (as distinct from AiO advertisement by the University). If the applicant has secured and/or plans to apply for institutional funding from other sources than Leiden University, their application should include full and accurate information on same. Here you can find some information on scholarships.

External PhD candidates

External PhD candidates are those who plan to defend their PhD thesis at Leiden University, but conduct their PhD research elsewhere. There are no time limits involved, and no University facilities available. External PhD candidates can legally have no teaching obligations and no Leiden University grants.

Last Modified: 09-12-2015