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Leiden University

Program Terms:

Spring Semester & Academic Year


Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of Europe’s leading international research universities. With a focus on student success and employment, Leiden encourages skill-based classroom activities that provide students with both the information and the practical application experience they need to enter their field of choice. From the Leiden Study System, which provides all students with mentors and support throughout their time at the university, to an international approach that views students as part of a global community, life at Leiden is an important step for students on their way to success.

The campus is located in Southern Holland amidst parks, gardens, canals, and rivers, all interspersed throughout the city of Leiden. Students can enjoy the scenery alongside all the conveniences of an urban environment, as well as medieval architecture and the art and culture of the Netherlands.

The university has 7 faculties in the arts, sciences, and social sciences, spread over locations in Leiden and The Hague. The University has about 27,000 students with a motto of ‘Praesidium Libertatis’ – Bastion of Freedom. Among over 17,000 universities in the world, Leiden University is placed in the top 100 in the world in for leading international rankings. (Source: Leiden University website)

Academic Details:

LU offers seven different faculties to students, including Archaeology, Governance and Global Affairs, Humanities, Law, Medicine/Leiden University Medical Center, Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The Faculty of Humanities, in particular, which includes Asian Studies, History, and International Studies, is a strong fit for exchange students as many of the courses in these subjects are offered in English. LU takes a teaching approach that is characterized by small-scale classrooms, contact with diverse cultures, and innovative teaching methods. Leiden University uses the ECTS grading table, which can be found here.

LU’s faculties and study programs generally use whole and half numbers between 1 and 10 to grade a student’s work. Students are required to have a 6 or higher to pass. The grades in the ECTS grading table are based on this whole and half number grading system. If a study program uses decimal points in its grading, these are rounded up or down to the nearest (half) number. LU uses the letters A to F for its grading, with A, B, and C being passing grades. In LU’s grading table, these letters are converted into numerical grades. International students are provided with a university-wide grading table on their transcript.

LU has recently established three programs that may be of interest to exchange students: Security Studies (available since 2018), International Relations (offered since 2019), and Urban Studies (offered since 2020). All three of these programs are taught completely in English. (Source: Leiden University website)

Housing Details:

Like many universities in the Netherlands, Leiden University does not have a central campus or student dormitories. Instead, their facilities are spread throughout the cities of Leiden and the Hague and students live in accommodation rented via housing organizations and landlords. Prospective students should start to explore ways of finding accommodation well before arriving in the Netherlands to begin their studies. In general, students are expected to arrange their own housing.

The Leiden University Housing Office does reserve a limited number of rooms for international students each year, but due to high demand and limited availability, the Housing Office cannot guarantee accommodation to all applicants. Leiden University therefore strongly recommends to sign up for housing through the Housing Office whenever the system is open (information will be shared once students are selected). (Source: Leiden University Study Abroad/Exchange Information Sheet – 2021-2022)


  • Junior standing
  • 3.2 cumulative GPA

Useful Links for Exchange Students:

Program Budgets:

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