Van Vollenhoven PhD-Track

Interdisciplinary PhD-Track at the Van Vollenhoven Institute

The Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI) is part of the Leiden Law School, Leiden University.

The VVI seeks to advance knowledge of the formation and functioning of legal systems in their social contexts, the impact of these systems on society and vice versa, their effectiveness in governance, and their contribution to development.

The Institute adopts a socio-legal and global approach, doing research on law in the books and law in action in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. VVI staff teaches several socio-legal thematic and regional courses for both Dutch and foreign exchange students. In addition, VVI provides PhD supervision, advisory services and training courses to policy makers and practitioners.

The VVI research is embedded in Leiden Law School’s larger research programme "Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights in a Pluralist World". It also forms part of two separate research profiles of Leiden University: Asian Modernities and Traditions and Interaction Between Legal Systems. Combining research activities with colleagues across the university both enriches and strengthens our research capabilities.

For a complete overview of what the Van Vollenhoven Institute does and for its full contact details, see the VVI website.

VVI PhD-Track

Completing a PhD-Track is expected to take four years. The programme for each candidate will be tailored to his or her individual needs. At the start of a PhD-track, a training and supervision plan will be drafted with an individualized outline of the four years trajectory. Virtually all of the PhD-research conducted at the VVI requires a period of field work in the country of study.

It is a programme particularly attractive to and designed for 'external' PhD candidates, that work part-time or full-time. External PhD Candidates need not be based in Leiden.

During the first year, candidates have the option of taking part in methodology and other research development seminars offered at Leiden Law School or other faculties. In addition to supervision by the supervisor - and when applicable, a co-/daily-supervisor -, and to ensure the development of a fruitful and collegial research environment, the VVI offers PhD candidates several services, including:

  • A workplace at the VVI;
  • Participation in academic events such as symposia and conferences;
  • Participation in VVI research and staff meetings;
  • Paricipation in academic courses at Leiden Law School offered to PhD candidates;
  • Internet, documents server and mail account access, also via remote access;
  • Library access including digital subscriptions and e-journals (Leiden Law School and general University libraries).

All PhDs at the Van Vollenhoven Institute are conducted under the Leiden University PhD Regulations which can be accessed at . A VVI external PhD candidate will be enrolled initially for a period of one year. Within the first year an evaluation meeting will take place. The enrollment will be extended to a total of four years if the evaluation interview has been positive.


As of 1 November 2012, the fee has been set at €6,000 per annum (for a four years programme).


External PhD candidates may apply for a (partial) waiver when candidates are absolutely unable to find funding to cover the costs of the tuition. Please note that the application for a fee waiver will only be taken into consideration upon submission of a full-fledged PhD proposal, in accordance with the standard admissions procedure for PhD’s at Leiden Law School (see ‘How to apply’). In all cases a request for waivers will be reviewed by the VVI Director and General Secretary and the decision will communicated to the candidate in writing.

How to apply

The online application form is available here. General information for external PhD candidates at Leiden Law School on the online application form and the documents necessary for online application is available here. Please note that there is no specific starting date. Applications will be reviewed four times per year. The deadlines for applications are set for 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October.

More Information

If you are interested in learning more about the Van Vollenhoven Track, including the possible supervisors in your area of interest, Dennis Janssen, General Secretary of the Van Vollenhoven Institute will gladly assist you with further information.

Last Modified: 08-02-2017