Training specifics

Information on the components of the training of a PhD candidate

Compulsory components taken on a collective basis

The training of the PhD candidate includes a number of mandatory components which are taken collectively with other PhD candidates. The most important ones are the monthly graduate seminars which are aimed at the acquisition and exchange of research insights and skills, and the practical educational course which prepares PhD candidates to fulfil teaching obligations.

As for the graduate seminar: PhD candidates are required to participate in the meetings of the Graduate Seminar during the entire period of their employment by the Leiden Institute for History. This means that they read the papers distributed beforehand and take part in the discussions. PhD candidates are also required to act as discussant on at least one occasion and present their own research at another. Infrequently sessions of the Graduate Seminars are chaired by a PhD candidate. 

With respect to the practical educational course the PhD candidates are expected to attend a few meetings in which basic pedagogical and didactical instructions are discussed. Subsequently they observe the actions of a senior teacher during a specific BA-course. This experienced colleague acts as the mentor of the PhD candidate and encourages him or her to assess his teaching skills critically. PhD candidates are invited to give a few classes themselves when the opportunity seems appropriate. In the second and third year of their term PhD candidates provide courses for first-year students independently.

The PhD candidates are obliged to follow an introductory course and to take a few courses concerning career counseling and research management.


Schematically the four years training programme is as follows:   

Year 1  
1st semester 
Introductory course for new PhD candidates (0.5 day)

2nd semester
Practical educational course (100 hours)

Year 2
1st or 2ndsemester
Research management workshop (2 days)

Year 3
1st semester
Two career counselling modules (2.5 days)

Year 1-4
All semesters
Graduate seminar (100 hours)

Compulsory components taken on an individual basis

These components concern courses offered by the relevant research school or by a university institution. They commonly pertain to participation in research seminars, workshops, master classes and conferences. Their study load varies and to a great extent depends on the needs of the PhD candidate and the wishes of the supervisor. The PhD candidate, the supervisor and the director of research of the Institute for History in concert decide upon the phasing of these courses. Relevant national research schools in the field of history:

Onderzoekschool Klassieke Oudheid Studies OIKOS (ancient history)

Onderzoekschool Mediëvistiek (medieval history)    

Huizinga Instituut (cultural history)    

N.W. Posthumus Institute (economic and social history)  

Onderzoekschool Politieke Geschiedenis (political history)

Optional components taken on an individual basis

These components may comprise one or several of the following options:

Academic English course
Academic writing course
Workshop on writing grant proposals
Presenting skills course

These options generally apply to courses of limited duration (one or two days).

Overview courses

Stay abroad

A stay abroad is closely related to the nature and scope of the archival research needed or the fieldwork that has to be conducted in preparation for the dissertation. It may vary in duration from several weeks to more than a year and may be planned at different stages of the PhD project.

General guideline

No more than 15 percent of the time allotted to the PhD candidate may be taken up by teaching activities (providing and following courses). This implies that 85 percent of the available time is invested in research and writing. On the part of the Institute for History all effort will be directed at the production of a high-quality dissertation provided that the project will be finished within the time limits set. In order to remain on schedule PhD candidates are stimulated to enter the writing phase of their project at the earliest stage possible. This aspect of the PhD trajectory in particular will be evaluated during the discussion of the progress report and the yearly performance and development interview. PhD candidates will obtain a €1200,- reimbursement for graduation expenses if they manage to complete their dissertation no later than half a year after the elapse of the deadline of their project. The manuscript of the thesis should have been approved by the supervisors.

For more information on the teaching activities and guidance, please read the didactical course for PhD candidates.

Last Modified: 21-10-2015