Self-funded (external) PhD candidates

While the Institute of Political Science deals with academic content and research potential of the applicant, the Graduate School deals with formal and procedural questions like the academic equivalences of degrees, language proficiency, funding, visa and residence.

Please note that there are no tuition (or registration) fees for external PhDs, nor is there guaranteed additional funding and work as Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant.

All PhD projects conducted at the Institute of Political Science are subject to Leiden University's PhD regulations (see below).


Potential supervisor

The first step for prospective PhD candidates is to individually contact potential supervisors who share research interests and who would be willing to sponsor the application. Please see the

It is in the applicant’s own interest to approach Institute members with an advanced research topic and design as early as possible.

Application procedure

If a potential supervisor—either individually or with co-supervisor(s)—agrees to sponsor the application, then the next step is to prepare the application package. The application package is composed of

  • a Political Science research proposal (5 pages/2000 words)

  • two letters of reference

  • further documentation required by the Graduate School of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University.

Please refer to the Graduate School's website for further details of the application procedure:

Application deadlines

There are two application deadlines per academic year:

  • October 31 st for those starting in January and

  • March 31 st for those starting September.

All required documents should reach the FSW Graduate School by these deadlines.

Postal Address: Leiden Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Room 3.A57, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands

Courier Address: Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Room 3.A57, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands

Applications will be subsequently evaluated by the Graduate School and the Institute of Political Science. All successful candidates will be enrolled as probationary PhDs for their first year.

PhD regulations and forms

Who is eligible to become a PhD candidate? What are the tasks of the supervisor and co-supervisor? Which formal and substantive criteria apply to the final dissertation? You will find the answers here:

Last Modified: 25-01-2016