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Admission requirements

Do you know which bachelor’s programme you want to follow at Leiden University? First, check the admission requirements.

Academic requirements

Some Dutch diplomas grant automatic admission to Bachelor’s programmes at Leiden University. Check in the programme information whether your diploma grants you automatic admission. Generally speaking you cannot be automatically admitted, and must instead apply for admission, if:

  • You are an international student (you have a non-Dutch diploma).
  • You are a Dutch student without the appropriate VWO diploma (you have an international diploma or a VWO diploma that falls short of the applicable requirements, for example)
  • You are applying for a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences: Global Challenges (LUC The Hague).

The minimum requirement for admission to any bachelor’s programme at Leiden University is a diploma that is at least equal to the Dutch pre-university diploma (VWO). Our Admissions Office has drawn up a list of common non-Dutch diplomas that generally meet the minimum academic requirements. If your diploma does not meet these requirements you may still be admitted, on condition that you sit additional exams. You will receive more information once we have received your application for admission. 

Be aware that there are also specific diploma requirements for our science programmes.

Other requirements

  • For admission to Dutch-taught bachelor’s programmes you must be proficient in Dutch and, in most cases, in English.
  • For admission to English-taught bachelor’s programmes you must be proficient in English.
  • Some bachelor’s programmes also require proficiency in other languages. Refer to the programme descriptions for details.

You can find specific language requirements and minimum test scores in the relevant programme descriptions.

Note that English test results may not be more than two years old. The following types of English test are accepted: 

  • IELTS: academic modules only 
  • TOEFL: internet based
    • We do not accept TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined). The sufficient score must be obtained in one individual test. Also not accepted are institutional tests such as ITP.
    • We are still awaiting a decision on whether Dutch universities can accept the TOEFL Special Home Edition™  for admission to the academic year 2021-2022. This information will be updated as soon as we know more.
  • Cambridge English Exam C2 Proficiency or C1 Advanced, depending on admission criteria

For information on which Dutch tests are accepted, as well as detailed information on language test requirements, exemption criteria and methods of submission, refer to Language Requirements Bachelor's Programmes

The specific academic entry requirements for each bachelor’s programme are listed under the relevant programme description.   

Because of their popularity, some bachelor’s programmes are oversubscribed. For these programmes a quota has been set for the number of students who can be allocated a place. This is known as a 'numerus fixus'. At Leiden University there are currently the following bachelor’s programmes with a numerus fixus: 

A selection and placement procedure is in place for these programmes. This means that even if you are admitted, you are not guaranteed a place on the programme. You must also be allocated a place via the procedure below. 

Application restrictions

  • In most cases, you may apply for a maximum of two numerus fixus programmes per academic year. These may be at the same educational institution or at two different institutions.
  • For certain programmes you may apply for only one programme at one institution. These are Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Oral health care.
  • You must be proficient in Dutch to participate in the selection procedure for Dutch-taught numerus fixus programmes.

Other programmes with selection procedures

Leiden University has another bachelor’s programme with a selection procedure, namely the bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Leiden University College (LUC). This intensive, small-scale programme has its own application procedures and deadlines, which are not the same as those for numerus fixus programmes. Refer to the LUC website for details.

Application procedure for numerus fixus programmes: Steps to take

  1. By 15 January 23:59hrs at the latest: application
    Submit an application via Studielink and, if required, request admission via Leiden University’s online application system (uSis) before midnight on 15 January. 
    If you withdraw your application in Studielink before midnight on 15 January, you will not use up one of your permitted applications.
  2. By 31 January you have to submit the required transcripts in the online application system of Leiden University (uSis).

    Due to the exceptional circumstances relating to COVID-19, you may find that the application requirements have changed somewhat for our numerus fixus programmes (programmes with a limited number of places). For example, prospective students who are in pre-university education (VWO) in the Netherlands will need to submit an alternative transcript instead of the 5 VWO transcript that is usually required. Below you will find more information on which transcript you will need to submit.

    • International students or Dutch student who passed their exam in 2019 or before:
    Go to the degree programme that you wish to apply for to see which transcripts you will need to provide. 
    • Current 6 vwo students: Your secondary school will provide you with a certified transcript of your average Schoolexamen (SE) grades by 15 January 2021. This transcript will include your grade for each subject (to one decimal place) up to the beginning of January. These SE grades will be considered in the selection procedure instead of your final 5 VWO grades.

    Please note:
    All applicants for numerus fixus programmes have until 31 January 2021 to submit the necessary transcripts through the Leiden University online application system (uSis). Do this in good time because if you are too late, your application will not be considered.

  3. 16 January till 15 April: selection procedure More information about the procedures and selection criteria can be found on the webpage of each study programme. On 15 April you will receive a ranking number via Studielink. The higher you are ranked, the greater your chance of being offered a place.
  4. 15 April till 31 August: places offered
    From 15 April onwards places will be offered by email. If a student withdraws or turns down an offer, their place will be offered to the next student in line. This means that places will be offered throughout the period April 15 to August 31. If you are offered a place, you have fourteen days to accept or decline, so remember to check your email and spam folder regularly from 15 April.       

    Example: a numerus fixus programme has 200 places. 500 candidates participate in the selection procedure. Candidates who receive a ranking number between 1 and 200 will be offered a place on 15 April. Candidates with a ranking number of 201 or higher must wait until a candidate with ranking number 1 to 200 declines his/her place.  
  5. Accepting then cancelling your place
    If you accept the offered place but later decide not to attend, you can cancel your place until 31 August. To do so, go to Studielink and cancel your application. Be aware that once you have cancelled your place you cannot change your mind. Also note that even though you have cancelled your application, it will still count as a used selection attempt. For further information see the Studielink Q&A


  • If you are offered a place on two numerus fixus programmes, you may only accept one of them.
  • You will only be offered a place if you meet the programme’s admission requirements.                        

Correcting the number of selection attempts

In Studielink you can see how many selection applications you have used. If you do not pass your final exams, and are therefore not eligible for admission, you can request that your selection attempt be cancelled (corrected). You can only request correction of a selection attempt for the academic year in which you did not pass your final exam. Selection attempts of previous academic years cannot be corrected. You can do so by submitting a Request correction selection attempts form before 1 September of the academic year you applied for. Remember to first cancel your application in Studielink. Note that your selection attempt can only be cancelled upon receipt of proof that you did not pass your final exams.

Admission via colloquium doctum

Colloquium doctum, which roughly translates as “learned discussion”, is a special admission procedure that you can apply for if:

  • you do not have a diploma that grants university admission
  • you are 21 or older on the day that your proposed study programme commences

As a colloquium doctum candidate, you have to sit a number of exams at Dutch pre-university level (VWO) to determine whether you have the required knowledge to participate in a university degree programme. Note that these exams are in Dutch. If you are successful, you will only be admitted to the programme for which you initially applied – not to other programmes or other institutions. 

Bear in mind that the colloquium doctum route can be very challenging, both during the admission procedure and once you begin your degree studies.

The colloquium doctum admission procedure

The colloquium doctum admission procedure is the same as the standard application procedure, so you can simply follow the steps in this guide.

Be sure to check the colloquium doctum application deadline for your chosen programme, which can be found in the programme information (first select your programme of choice, then go to 'Admission and application' and select 'admission requirements' for specific programme information about colloquium doctum) For most programmes this deadline is 1 November.

>> Go to the next step: Check the application deadlines. 

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