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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.

Automatic admission?

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).

Minimum requirements

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.

You must be proficient in Dutch if you want to be admitted to Dutch-taught bachelor’s programmes.

You must be proficient in English if you want to be admitted to all English-taught and most Dutch-taught bachelor’s programmes.

For some bachelor’s programmes you also have to be proficient in other languages. For specific language requirements per programme, please refer to the relevant programme description.

Information on the types of exams accepted, exemptions and how to submit your exam results can be found in the language requirements below.


Proficiency in Dutch is only required for admission to Dutch-taught bachelor’s programmes.

Exams accepted


  • Holders of an International Baccalaureate diploma, with Dutch B Higher, Dutch A1 or Dutch A2, are exempted from an additional Dutch exam.
  • If you have a German Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, different rules apply (you will receive more information upon admission).
  • Exemptions may be granted on the basis of other specific educational diplomas. The Admissions Office will let you know after receiving your application whether you qualify for an exemption.


Proficiency in English is required for admission to all English-taught and most Dutch-taught bachelor’s programmes.

Accepted exams

Equivalent test scores

You can find the equivalent scores for IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge English tests in our English test score equivalency table

Other exam criteria

  • Exam results may not be more than two years old.
  • Institutional exams, such as the ITP-TOEFL, cannot be accepted.
  • Chinese students who need a Nuffic certificate should take either an IELTS or a TOEFL IBT exam.


You can be exempted from submitting one of the above-mentioned English exam results if:

  • You have an (English-taught) International Baccalaureate diploma, or a European Baccalaureate with English as language 1.
  • You completed your schooling in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or Canada  (except French-taught programmes in Canada).
  • Exemptions may be granted on the basis of other specific educational diplomas. The Admissions Office will let you know after receiving your application whether you qualify for an exemption.

In exceptional cases, students who otherwise qualify for an exemption but whose application documents cast doubt on their English proficiency may be asked to sit an English exam.

Submitting your English exam results

All English exam results must be uploaded in the online application system. Your results must be checked for authenticity by the Admissions Office before the deadline for applying for a visa/residence permit (if applicable), or before the start date of your programme. To make this possible, please do the following:

  • TOEFL exam: instruct ETS to send your original results report to Leiden University Admissions Office – institution code 0504.
  • Cambridge certificate: send your ID number and your “secret number” (check the Candidate Results Online service) to Leiden University Admissions Office.
  • IELTS: a scanned exam result is sufficient - no further steps will be required.

Other languages

Some bachelor’s programmes also require proficiency in other languages. Refer to the programme descriptions for details.

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 may be admitted.  At Leiden University there are currently five so-called limited-quota bachelor’s programmes: 

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

Note that you must be proficient in Dutch if you want to participate in the selection procedures and that you can only submit two selection applications.

Steps to take

  • 1 October 1 to 15 January  – registration and admission
    Apply to register via Studielink and submit an admission application via our Online Application System. 
    If you withdraw your registration request in Studielink before midnight on 15 January, you will not have used one of your two permitted selection applications.
  • 16 January to 15 April: selection procedure and ranking
    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 the number, the greater will be your chance of being offered a place.
  • 15 April to 31 August: places offered
    Places will be offered from 15 April. If a student withdraws or declines an offer, the place will be offered to the next student in line. This means that places will be offered continuously between 15 April and 31 August. If you are offered a place, you have 14 days to accept or decline it.
    Important: remember to check your email Inbox and Spam folders regularly from 15 April.                                                                       

Correcting the number of selection attempts

In Studielink you can see how many selection applications you have used. If you fail your final exams and are therefore not eligible for admission, for example, you can ask for a selection application to be cancelled (corrected). You can only request corrections for academic years in which you participated in the selection procedure, or academic years in which you took part in the centralised selection (prior to 2017-2018). First of all, withdraw your request for registration in Studielink. You can use the Request correction selection attempts form (before September 1) to request a correction to your selection applications. Please note that such a request will only be considered if you send us proof that you have failed 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, and
  • 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. 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. For most programmes this deadline is 15 October.

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