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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.

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

You do not need to submit an English proficiency test if you:

  • have obtained a Dutch VWO diploma
  • have obtained a bachelor’s or master’s diploma from a Dutch university of applied sciences (HBO) or a Dutch university
  • have completed your secondary or higher education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada), Singapore, South Africa or Malta.
  • have obtained an International Baccalaureate™ Diploma (IB DP) taught in English or with English A HL.
  • have obtained a German Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife (Abitur) and English was included in your final year at least at Grundkurslevel.
  • Exemptions can also be granted on the basis of certain other educational diplomas. Check our diploma requirements list to find out whether your diploma might entitle you to an exemption.

If none of the above apply to you, you must provide proof of proficiency by means of one of the following tests. You must arrange the test yourself.

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, on paper or on computer.
    • We do not accept IELTS Academic online
    • We do not accept IELTS General Training, IELTS Indicator, or IELTS One Skill Retake
  • TOEFL: internet based
    • We do not accept the TOEFL IBT Home Edition™, except in the following situations only:
      • You took the test before 1 Sept 2022 (and it is not more than 2 years old), or
      • you are unable to take an in-person test on location because test centres are inaccessible or closed due to unsafe conditions in a country.
    • We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™  or institutional tests such as ITP.
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency in English or Cambridge C1 Advanced English 

For information on which Dutch tests are accepted, if required, 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.

Please also take note of these specific diploma requirements for science programmes.   

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.

Application procedure for numerus fixus programmes

Note that if you miss any of the deadlines mentioned below, you will unfortunately not be included in the selection process. 

Dates & deadlines Steps to take
15 January, by 23:59 hrs at the latest Apply for your study programme in Studielink, and  (if applicable) request admission via Leiden University’s online application portal (uSis)
31 January, by 23:59 hrs at the latest Submit the necessary transcript of grades in uSis, as requested.
16 January – 15 April Selection will take place. You can find information on the selection criteria and procedures on the study programme website.
15 April You will receive a ranking number via Studielink. The higher you are ranked, the greater your chance of being offered a place.
15 April – 31 August Places will be offered by email. If a student turns down an offer, their place will be offered to the next student in line. As a result, places will be offered on a rolling basis from 15 April till 31 August. Check your email frequently in this period, including your junk mail folder.     
Within 14 days of being offered a place Accept or decline your offer, according to the instructions in the offer. Note that if you are offered a place on two numerus fixus programme, you may only accept one of them. 

Cancelling your application 

Have you decided you no longer wish to join the study programme? Or have you found out that you will not meet the programme’s admission requirements, for example, you have not passed your final exams? 

You can cancel your application, or cancel an accepted place in Studielink until 31 August. However, as there are restrictions on the number of selection attempts you can make, be aware that: 

  • If you cancel in Studielink by 15 January, your 'selection attempt' will also be cancelled, i.e. it will not be counted. 
  • If you cancel in Studielink after 15 January, your 'selection attempt' will still be counted, except in the following circumstances: 
    • If you find out after 15 January that you have not met the programme’s admission requirements, you can request that your selection attempt be cancelled (i.e. that your number of selection attempts be corrected). To do so, submit this online form before 1 September, making sure to include evidence that you have not met the admission requirements.


Further information
See the Studielink Q&A

Colloquium doctum is a special admission procedures for prospective students who:

  • do not have a diploma that grants university admission, and
  • are aged 21 or older on the day their proposed study programme will commence.

Not easy
This is a challenging admission procedure. Most candidates will have to take a number of exams at Dutch pre-university (VWO) level. These exams are all in Dutch. Even if you pass your exams, bear in mind that you may still have gaps in your knowledge compared to students who have completed their VWO diploma.

For this reason, recent school leavers are advised to consider completing a VWO diploma rather than taking the colloquium doctum route.

Limited admission, unlimited validity
If you successfully complete a colloquium doctum at Leiden University, you will only be admitted to the Leiden University programme for which it was intended – not to other programmes or other institutions. The validity period of colloquium doctum admission is unlimited.

Letter of motivation
As part of the application procedure you must write a letter of motivation. Read more under Required documents.

Application deadline
Be aware that the application deadline for colloquium doctum is 1 November. Read more under Application deadlines.

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

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