University employees formally hold a position under the UFO job classification system. PhD candidates are usually employed by Leiden University as well.

UFO (Job classification system)

All Dutch universities use UFO as their job classification system. Under UFO, which is an integral part of the collective labour agreement (cao), all Dutch university employees are assigned a job profile (a brief description of their job) and a corresponding job level.

The current UFO classification has been in use since July 2015.

Details on UFO can be found on the website of VSNU, the association of Dutch universities.

PhD candidate as employee

PhD candidates at Dutch universities are either employed by the university or a third party (in which case the candidate is considered a 'guest'). It is possible to enter a 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. Normally, a PhD candidate is appointed under one of these three categories:

PhD fellow
PhD fellows are funded and employed by the university.

Government funding
A PhD programme can be financed by a governmental institution, in which case the PhD candidate is employed through government funding.

External funding
A PhD programme can be financed by an external party (company, NGO, etc.), in which case the PhD candidate is employed through the external party.

Leiden University also uses a set of guidelines for its PhD candidates. These guidelines lay down the minimal requirements for the supervision, training and facilities for PhD candidates.


Last Modified: 16-02-2016