Applying for a PhD position at Leiden Observatory

Thank you for your interest in pursuing a PhD position at Leiden Observatory. Applications are accepted only through our online application site which is now open for the next round. Follow this link for more information. The deadline for applications and all letters of recommendation is December 1, 2019.

Some information

Leiden Observatory ("Sterrewacht Leiden"), founded in 1633, is the oldest university astronomy department in the world with a distinguished history. The work of famous astronomers such as De Sitter, Hertzsprung, Oort, Blaauw, and Van de Hulst made Leiden an internationally renowned center of astronomical research.

We are therefore pleased to announce a general call for several PhD positions with an application deadline of December 1, 2019. Positions are available in all the research areas in which the Observatory is active. This includes cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, interstellar matter and star formation, stars and planetary systems, computational astrophysics, high energy astrophysics, laboratory astrophysics, astrochemistry, and instrumentation. The starting dates are negotiable.

Like last year the "Leiden de Sitter Cosmology Programme", a joint effort with the Leiden Lorentz Institute for theoretical physics is available. This interdisciplinary programme focuses on the interplay between observational cosmology and the physics of the early universe. PhD students in the de Sitter programme will be supervised jointly by members of the physics and astronomy departments, and are invited to (help) propose their own research programme. For more details, go to The application procedure and deadline are the same as for the general PhD call, but please indicate in the cover letter your interest to be considered for the de Sitter fellowship.

PhD students from Leiden succeed exceptionally well on the international job market. One of the most prestigious fellowships in world astronomy is NASA's Hubble fellowship. More astronomers with a doctoral degree from Leiden have won Hubble fellowships than from any other university outside the USA. Many of the faculty members, PhD students, and undergraduates have an international background. English is the common language.

Prieneke van Hoeve Fellowship
This prestigious fellowship is intended for excellent students with an ambitious PhD research plan. A good candidate will have a proven track record of one or more highly successful research projects at the master level. The application should provide a 1-page research project proposal that (1) formulates the big questions in the field that he/she would be working in, and (2) gives an outline of a work plan detailing which aspects of these questions would be addressed and how they would be handled. The development of such a plan can be done in close collaboration with a prospective supervisor, however this is not an essential requirement.


Some examples of possible PhD projects
PhD program at Leiden Observatory
Research carried out at Leiden Observatory
A century of Leiden PhD graduates

In addition, Leiden University also maintains a site with practical information about studying in the Netherlands as well as a general page with information on obtaining a PhD.

Graduate Students are members of the graduate school faculty of science.