The highest degree awarded in the Netherlands is that of Doctor (PhD). Earning a PhD at Leiden takes about four years of study and consists of independent and original research under the supervision of a professor. If you intend to pursue a doctorate at Leiden University, you can either respond to an advertisement or, if there are no suitable openings, approach a full professor with a research proposal. It is also possible to enter the PhD programme on the basis of self-obtained grants. If the individual is accepted, he or she usually receives a paid appointment as a research assistant.
In general, PhD training is executed in local graduate schools and in cross-boundary research schools. Research Schools are centres of high quality research, where researchers from different universities and non-academic institutes collaborate, and where special attention is paid to the training of researchers to PhD level.