Why take your PhD at Leiden University?

Reasons to take your PhD at Leiden University:

Fundamental research

Leiden University believes fundamental research is crucial to the development of modern society and the future prosperity of mankind. Fundamental research is typically curiosity-driven, and researchers develop their curiosity through their observations. In science and technology, unexpected outcomes or practical problems often form the basis of research into the most fundamental characteristics of nature. Fundamental research frequently leads to new insights into the essence of nature, the human mind, and the complex interactions between their elements. From this starting point, innovations, new developments and solutions to old problems emerge.
As a research university, Leiden University focuses on fundamental research and research-based education.
Leiden offers PhD tracks across all sectors

Teaching benefits from quality research

Leiden University strongly believes that its teaching benefits directly from the high quality research that is carried out within the University itself, and that new fundamental knowledge is new intellectual capital. In Leiden the latest academic insights are immediately integrated into the courses.

PhD training takes place in specials schools

In general, PhD training takes place in local graduate schools and in cross-boundary research schools. Both types of schools are centres of high quality research, where researchers from different countries, universities and non-academic institutes collaborate, and where special attention is paid to the training of researchers to PhD level.

As well as the possibility of an employment contract, PhD candidates also enjoy many other benefits:

  • Excellent training opportunities / Careers advice tracks and courses
  • Assistance with finding subsidies and funding
  • Assistance in obtaining a visa, work permit and other necessary paperwork
  • Support with subsequent activities (for example: applications for Veni subsidies, coaching, etc.)
  • The Leiden PhD Council (LEO) and the Dutch Network of PhD Candidates (PNN) promote the interests of PhD fellows, including in such areas as employment conditions, information access and more.
Graduate schools

Extensive high-level international contacts

Leiden has a firmly established international position among the top research institutes. Leiden University is proud of its strong international partenships and promotes active worldwide co-operation for it's PhD researchers. Top research increasingly means joining forces across boundaries. Be it between departmental disciplines, of faculties and of the University itself. The University is one of the founding members of LERU (the League of European Research Universities). Many international researchers and students work and study here, and the University enjoys numerous valuable and fruitful contacts with academic establishments around the globe. Naturally, as is fitting for such an international environment, our working language is English.
In short, Leiden offers an attractive learning and research environment with extensive high-level international contacts across all fields of research.

Partnerships & Collaborations

Young, dynamic and stimulating

Leiden University aims to create an inspiring atmosphere where researchers and students can operate independently and in line with the views described above.
PhD candidates in Leiden are appreciated as a young, dynamic and stimulating group of researchers, and their contribution to the University’s research is highly valued.

World-famous collections

Our University libraries have world-famous collections and are very well equipped. In addition, Leiden boasts 12 prominent museums, all with special collections.

University libraries

Great scholars and scientists

Several great scholars and scientists have brought fame to Leiden University, including four Nobel Prizes: Einthoven (Physiology/Medicine), Kamerlingh Onnes, Lorentz and Zeeman (Physics). Critical fundamental discoveries have been made in Leiden:

  • refraction of light (Snellius)
  • the electrical capacitor (the "Leyden Jar" (Van Musschenbroek)
  • the molecular basis of thermodynamics (Van der Waals)
  • electron theory (Lorentz)
  • superconductivity (Kamerlingh Onnes)
  • electro-cardiography (Einthoven)
  • the structure of the galaxy and the origin of comets (Oort)
  • 11 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Leiden University as faculty members or students, or by obtaining their PhD here
  • Einstein held a special Chair in Leiden, co-operating with De Sitter on the Expanding Universe
  • philosophers like Spinoza and Descartes were able to develop their ideas in Leiden
  • Linnaeus wrote his famous Species Plantarum in Leiden; he is regarded as the father of modern taxonomy
  • Leiden enjoys an extensive collection of Japanese books and works of art collected by Von Siebold, as well as instruments and natural history specimens
  • Snouck Hurgronje, a world-famous Islam and Arab specialist
  • And many more!
Great scholars and scientists

Our present day laureates continue this tradition of internationally recognised fundamental research.

At the forefront of cutting edge scientific and high-tech developments

As a complement to our centuries-old cultural tradition, Leiden is still a leader in cutting edge scientific and high-tech developments. The Leiden Bioscience Park is the largest in Europe. According to a recent investigation by the European Commission, Leiden University ranks alongside Oxford and Cambridge as the academic top of the European Union. The most prestigious research award in the Netherlands is the Spinoza Prize. With 22% of all Spinoza Prizes beeing awarded to Leiden researchers, Leiden
University position as a top research institute is clearly demonstrated. ESTEC, located in Leiden, is Europe's largest space centre, collaborating intensively with the University's astronomy department and the spacecraft industry based close to Leiden University.

Leiden is a dynamic, friendly, historic and well situated city

Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university of the Netherlands (founded in 1575). University premises are scattered throughout the historic city centre. The many Dutch and international students living and studying in Leiden give the city its friendly and lively atmosphere. Leiden is a very dynamic city, an urban community bustling with life with an outgoing, international character. It is an attractive historic town. Both the city and the region offer a bunch of extras. Leiden is located just eight miles east of the North Sea coast with its beautifull dunes and beaches. The canals and surrounding lakes are ideal for boating and other water sports. Located in between the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Leiden has excellent connections by train and car. Just 20 minutes by train from Schiphol International Airport, and 4 hours from Paris.

Leiden university city

Last Modified: 03-08-2012