PhD Programme / ILLC

Supervision & Support


Main supervisor and second supervisor(s)

Your PhD project will be overseen by one main supervisor and at least a second supervisor.

Your main supervisor will guide you and support you in all aspects of your research, will monitor your training needs as well as your progress, and will lead you through the process of producing the thesis and its examination.

The second supervisor can have different degrees of involvement in your PhD project, from being an informal advisor to acting as co-supervisor side by side with your main supervisor. The second supervisor may be an external researcher from a different university.

On the Code of Practice for supervisors, you can find a more detailed description of the roles and responibilities of your main supervisor and second supervisor.

Finally, you and your supervisors are jointly responsible for ensuring that you can realistically finish your PhD track within the agreed time. Your supervisors are expected to inform the ILLC immediately of any problems that could potentially hinder you completing the PhD track within the given time frame.


In order to obtain a PhD degree, you need a so-called promotor. However, currently in the Netherlands, only a full professor has the right to be a PhD promotor. So if your main supervisor or co-supervisor(s) are not full professors, a different individual who is a full professor will need to be appointed as promotor and your main supervisor and co-supervisor(s) will officially be called co-promotors. You may have a maximum of two promotors and two co-promotors. Your main supervisor, co-supervisor(s) and promotor will agree on the extent to which each of them will be involved in the actual supervision of your research. The role of the promotor can range from fully involved supervisor to purely administrative.

The director of the institute can be designated as pro-forma promotor. You should agree with your supervisors and the pro-forma promotor who is to be your actual promotor by the third year, at the latest.