PhD Candidate in Political Science

PhD Candidate in Political Science

Published Deadline Location
20 Feb 15 Mar Leiden

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The Institute of Political Science of Leiden University's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences invites applicants for the position of a

PhD Candidate in Political Science (1.0 FTE)

Vacancy number 14583

Job description

Key responsibilities
The PhD researcher will be part of the project “What’s the Party About? Investigating Party Reputations and their Consequences” hosted at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. The main objective of this project is to fill gaps in understanding mass politics by exploring how ordinary people perceive political parties: what they stand for and whom they represent. The subsequent aim is to provide direct evidence regarding the influence of these perceptions on the persuasiveness of party communications.

The specific project content will be decided upon in discussion between the successful candidate and the supervision team and will lie at the intersection of the applicant’s interest and the expertise of the principal investigator, dr. Joshua Robison. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):
  • Examine the Multi-Dimensionality of Party Competition: Investigate how ordinary people perceive political parties beyond the traditional left-right ideological spectrum, considering issues related to cultural values, morality, gender, national identity, and attitudes toward democratic institutions.
  • Explore Social Group Dynamics: Investigate the influence of social group perceptions on party reputations by analyzing whether individuals consider the social groups with which parties are allied in forming beliefs about political parties.
  • The Role of Changing Information Environments: Assess the impact of changing information environments on how individuals learn about and form impressions of political parties.
  • Understand the Influence of Party Reputations on Cue Taking: Investigate the relationship between party reputations and the effectiveness of party cues on public opinion. Examine whether party cues are more influential when coming from parties with clearer reputations and whether recipients with clearer beliefs about party stances are more receptive to such cues.
  • This project will take place under the supervision of dr. Joshua Robison (principal investigator), dr. Tom Louwerse, and dr. Cynthia van Vonno.
  • As part of the position of PhD researcher, candidates will receive PhD research training. Candidates will be expected to teach two courses per year, usually as undergraduate tutorial instructor.


Leiden University


Selection criteria
  • Applicants must hold (or be near completing) a (research) master’s degree in political science or in a relevant discipline. They have written (or are near completing) a master’s thesis.
  • Applicants must have prior training in and a good command of quantitative methods including regression analyses. Prior experience with survey and/or experimental methodology is an advantage.
  • Applicants must have prior training in, and a good command of, statistical software such as R, Stata, or Python (R preferred).
  • Applicants must meet the English language requirements of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. A working understanding of at least one other language is an advantage.

Conditions of employment

Research at our Faculty/Institute
Leiden University’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences comprises five institutes: Political Science, Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Cultural Anthropology & Development Sociology and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies. The Faculty is home to 7,000 students and 1000 members of staff. Its teaching and research programmes cover diverse topics varying from adoption to political behaviour. For more information, see

The Institute of Political Science has a strong research tradition in various areas of comparative, Dutch and international politics, as well as political theory. The Institute has around 85 academic staff, including many non-Dutch scholars, and houses a number of editorships of international refereed journals and book series. Members of the institute are also involved in a number of the university’s multi-disciplinary research centres, including Central and East European Studies, International Relations, Parties and Representation, Political Philosophy, Centrum voor Nederlandse Politiek en Bestuur and ReCNTR. The Institute is based in Leiden and in The Hague, where a large part of the teaching is done.

The Institute offers a range of programmes at the Bachelor and Master levels and also trains PhD students in political science. The BSc programmes include general Political Science (in Dutch & English, in Leiden), International Politics (in Dutch & English, in Leiden), and International Relations and Organisations (in English, in The Hague). The one-year MSc programme (taught mostly in English) includes five specialisations in Leiden and one in The Hague.

Terms and conditions
The position starts on September 1, 2024. We offer a full-time PhD position. The salary is € 2,770.- to € 3,539.- gross per month (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with an additional holiday bonus (8% of annual salary) and end-of-year bonus (8.3% of annual salary), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is always inclusive.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14583



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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