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Master's admission and application

Find out how to apply for one of Leiden University’s master's programmes by following our step-by step guide in the application and admission section. We look forward to receiving your application!

Step-by step guide

This guide clearly explains the steps you need to take to apply, and the subsequent admission process.

Every programme at Leiden University has its own entry requirements, application procedure and deadlines. Find out how to apply for your programme by following the step-by step guide in the application and admission section of each programme.

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FAQs coronavirus and International Admissions

Are you applying to Leiden University as an international student? Below you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about admission and application in relations to coronavirus developments.

FAQs - visa application for students with a non-EU/EEA nationality

If your arrival is delayed, check with your study programme whether it might be possible to start your studies online from home. Make sure to inform the visa team if you are delayed, so they can check whether an extension of your entry visa is required and help you to arrange this.

Yes, in most cases you will need to show additional documents. The documents required depend on where you are travelling from. Before travel, make sure to read the Dutch government’s Checklist for travel to The Netherlands to find out exactly which documents are required.

Note that:

  • Most travelers require a negative PCR and rapid test result. On the Netherlands Worldwide site you can find out where you can get these tests in your home country.
  • Although there is currently an entry ban in place for most non-EU nationals, students who will study in The Netherlands with a residence permit are exempted. 
    If you travelling from a country that is subject to an entry ban, make sure to have one of the following documents ready in case you are asked to show it:
    • Your student entry visa (MVV).
    • If you do not require an entry visa: your official IND letter confirming approval of your residence permit. You can request a copy of this letter by sending a mail to: visa@sea.leidenuniv.nl.
    • If you are returning to the Netherlands from a stay abroad: your valid student residence permit card (VVR).

For further information, also see the coronavirus measures on the prepare your stay website.

In most cases, international students must self-quarantine for a period of 10 days upon arrival. See the Dutch government regulations on self-quarantine.

We would like to stress that you may not be on campus during your quarantine period. For more information, see the FAQ for students travelling from a region with a red or orange travel code.

If you need a little online company or practical assistance whilst in quarantine, you can request a student buddy. Read more on the Wellbeing page for students.

Although there is currently an entry ban in place for most non-EU nationals, students who will study in The Netherlands with a residence permit are exempted. If you travelling from a country that is subject to an entry ban, make sure to have one of the following documents ready in case you are asked to show it:

  • Your student entry visa (MVV).
  • If you do not require an entry visa: your official IND letter confirming approval of your residence permit. You can request a copy of this letter by sending a mail to: visa@sea.leidenuniv.nl.
  • If you are returning to the Netherlands from a stay abroad: your valid student residence permit card (VVR).

If possible, we advise you to travel directly to The Netherlands without transiting via another country. If you do have to transit via another country, it is important that you check whether any additional documents are required for that country. Even if the country in question is in the Schengen area, additional measures may apply due to the COVID-19 situation. 

  • Were you prohibited from coming to The Netherlands due to travel restrictions?
    If you were officially not permitted to travel to The Netherlands, you can ask the Dutch embassy/consulate to issue you with a new student entry visa. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact Leiden University visa team for assistance.
  • Was travel permitted, but you chose not to come due to the corona situation?
    In this case, you must request a new student visa/residence permit via Leiden University. Contact Leiden University visa team for instructions. Note that you will be required to submit the required documents and pay the fee for your visa/residence permit once again.
  • If you still plan to travel to The Netherlands as soon as the situation permits, we will not yet cancel your student residence permit. However it is important that you update Leiden University visa team on your situation. Our visa team will also periodically contact you to check your plans. Be aware that if you do not travel to Leiden within the first semester of your studies, we may be obliged to cancel your residence permit.    .
     
  • If you have already decided not come to The Netherlands in the coming 6 months, notify Leiden University visa team right away. We will then cancel your student residence permit. If/when you later decide to travel to The Netherlands, you must contact the visa team to request a new student residence permit approximately 3 months before your intended travels.

FAQs - for prospective students who want to apply to Leiden University

We are ready to welcome you to Leiden University next academic year, and assume it will be safe on campus for all our students and that much of our teaching will be in person once again. Studying is about collaboration, about working together on research questions and about lively debate with your lecturers and fellow students. Although we’ve seen over the past year that online teaching can work well too, we realise that meeting your lecturers and other students face-to-face is crucial to the excellent education we want to provide.

We also hope to see students from abroad in Leiden or The Hague. If you are an international student and are unable to come to our on-campus classes (because of travel restrictions, quarantine etc.), we will make sure you can still follow them online.

How open the world will be in September 2021 is still unclear. The first months of the new academic year may be a transition phase with a combination of online and offline teaching, to make it easier for students to join in online. In the longer term, good online teaching is something we want to keep. This could mean web lectures and knowledge clips that help you prepare and thus ensure there really is time for interaction and contact in your in-person workgroups and practicals. 

These plans for the new academic year will make sure we can offer you the best of both worlds: mainly on campus with the best of online.
Read more in the dossier first year students

We are currently doing our best to keep to our regular processing times of 2-4 weeks for bachelor’s applications and 6-8 weeks for master’s applications. Please keep in mind that given the current situation this may take longer, particularly around deadlines.

In principle, Leiden University will be accepting all diplomas that appear on our diploma equivalencies list regardless of any exam postponements or cancellations. This includes the International Baccalaureate, A-levels and College Board Advanced Placement exams. If minimum grades for final exams and/or specific exam results are required for your diploma (according to the diploma equivalencies list) and if these exams have been cancelled in your country, your application will be assessed on an individual basis and admission might still be possible based on your final year subjects/stream/grades so far etc.  

Given the current exceptional circumstances, Leiden University is actively monitoring developments around the world, and will be reviewing the implications of final exams being cancelled for our admissions policy as and when this happens. Leiden University will do its utmost to take your circumstances into consideration and offer flexibility where possible.

We recognise that these are highly unusual circumstances, and we are committed to supporting students and ensuring that the admissions process continues as smoothly as possible.

When applying for admission
When applying for admission, please provide as many of the required documents as you have available. The Admissions Office will contact you if further information is needed. Leiden University will do its utmost to offer flexibility in terms of application documents.

Upon conditional admission
Are you unable to submit the documents required to meet your admission conditions according to the instructions in your admission statement? If so, first verify with your school/university which documents they are able to submit and via which method. Then contact the Admissions Office, let us know what your school/university is able to do, and check whether this would be acceptable. Please use the bachelor’s admissions contact form or master's admissions contact form. In some cases, and with prior permission, we may be able to accept documents sent by email directly from your school

If your diploma or credential authorities already have an online delivery system for results, such as the International Baccalaureate, please arrange for these results to be submitted in the standard way.

Leiden University will do its utmost to take your circumstances into consideration and offer flexibility in terms of deadlines and criteria for document submission. However, please be aware that in some situations, the only option may be for you to delay your studies until a later date.

When applying for admission
When applying for admission, you do not need to submit English test results or the results of other standard tests. Instead, indicate that you have not yet taken the test in Leiden University’s online application system (uSis). If you are admitted, it will be on condition that you submit the required test results on time – see below.

After conditional admission
If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you must submit the test result required to meet your admission conditions before the visa/residence permit application deadline.  

If you are an EU/EEA student, you have until 1 September to submit the required test result.

TOEFL
Leiden University currently accepts the iBT TOEFL Home Edition. You can check if this online English proficiency test is available in your country on the ETS website. If you reside in China, the iBT Toefl Home Edition is unfortunately not available.

IELTS
In line with national guidelines, Leiden University is not able to accept the IELTS indicator test.

For further information, see our language requirements for bachelor’s programmes and for master’s programmes

We urge you to continue preparing for your exams in the hope that you will soon be able to take them.

For students who can demonstrate that they are not permitted to travel to The Netherlands, it may be possible to take Boswell tests online. See the Boswell website for details. At present, CCVX tests are unfortunately not available online.

Online study
At this moment it is not clear if we offer your study programme 100% online from September 2021. We update this FAQ as soon as possible if we have further information.

Other options
You could consider 
deferring your application to the next available start date. If you do so, you will not be required to pay the application fee again.

Of course, you may also choose to cancel your application. If you cancel before the official start date of your study programme, you will be reimbursed for any tuition fees you have already paid. If you cancel after the official start date, you will still liable for a percentage of the tuition fee. You can cancel your application in Studielink.

If you defer or cancel your application be aware that:

  • The application fee is non refundable
  • The visa/residence permit fee is only refundable if you cancel your application before the University submits your visa application to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND).
  • The housing fee is only refundable if you notify Leiden University housing office that you no longer need housing before the housing deadline.

If there aren’t any travel restrictions preventing you from coming to the Netherlands, Leiden University advises you to come to Leiden or The Hague and start your study programme here. This is because it is much easier for you to switch from following lectures online to joining the lectures on campus once you already here. It will also allow you to meet your fellow students in person, get to know the city and take advantage of the facilities available both in the city and at the university. 

If you hope to come to The Netherlands for (part of) your studies, we still advise you to arrange housing as early as possible. There is a shortage of affordable accommodation in Leiden and The Hague, so an early start is essential. See our information on when to arrange housing.

Finding your own housing
Most students in The Netherlands arrange their own accommodation independently. For information and advice see the finding housing yourself page.

Via Leiden University Housing Office
Leiden University housing office has a limited number of rooms available for international students. Accommodation is allocated on a first-come first-served basis, so submit your housing request as early as possible via the online application system (uSis). If you decide to come to The Netherlands midway through the semester, contact the Housing Office at least two weeks before your expected arrival date to check the current housing situation. Depending on availability, they may be able to offer you a room right away, or you may have to wait till the start of the next semester for something to become available.

Unfortunately, we might not have the answers to all your questions just yet. The University is working hard in these uncertain times to provide as much information as possible. Please refer back to this page periodically for updates.

If you have a specific question about your application or admission to Leiden University, please contact our Student Affairs Office using this form or call during office hours.

FAQs - for students who have already applied or been made a conditional offer

Leiden University is actively monitoring developments around the world, and will be reviewing the implications of final exams being cancelled for our admissions policy as and when this happens. Leiden University will do its utmost to take your circumstances into consideration and offer flexibility in terms of deadlines. However, please be aware that in some situations the only option may be for you to delay your studies until a later date.

In principle, Leiden University will be accepting all diploma that appear on our diploma equivalencies list, regardless of any exam postponements or cancellations. 

If minimum grades for final exams and/or specific exam results are required for your diploma, according to the diploma equivalencies list or your conditional admission statement, and if these exams have been cancelled in your country, your application will be assessed on an individual basis and admission might still be possible based on your final years subjects/stream/grades so far etc. If you have already received your conditional admission statement and this applies to you, please contact the Admissions Office using this form: bachelor’s admissions contact form.

If you have already applied and been offered conditional admission based on an IB diploma or British A-levels that you will obtain in 2021, the possible cancellation of the exam sessions in summer 2021 will not affect your eligibility. As long as you obtain your final diploma(s) and meet any other conditions specified in your admission statement, you can still be unconditionally admitted and register on your chosen study programme in September. Please arrange for the IB or A level authority to send us your results as soon as they are available.

Leiden University currently accepts the iBT TOEFL Home Edition. You can check if this online English proficiency test is available in your home country on the ETS website. If you reside in China, the iBT Toefl Home Edition is unfortunately not available.

If iBT TOEFL Home Edition is not an option for you, and if test centers for other types of test are temporarily closed, Leiden University will do its utmost to take your circumstances into consideration and offer flexibility in terms of deadlines. However, please be aware that in some situations the only option may be for you to delay your studies until a later date.

If you have been made a conditional offer, we need to have received your results before 15 June (non-EU/EEA students) or 1 September (EU/EEA students) to be able to make an unconditional offer. 

If your test results are not available before our deadline, please contact the Admissions Office by filling out the relevant contact form: bachelor’s admissions contact form / master's admissions contact form.

For further information, see our language requirements for bachelor’s programmes and for master’s programmes

TOEFL
Leiden University currently accepts the iBT TOEFL Home Edition. You can check if this online English proficiency test is available in your home country on the ETS website. If you reside in China, the iBT Toefl Home Edition is unfortunately not available.

IELTS
In line with national guidelines, Leiden University is not able to accept the IELTS indicator test.

If you are a non-EU/EEA student, you must submit the test result required to meet your admission conditions before the visa/residence permit application deadline.  

If you are an EU/EEA student, you have until 1 September to submit your documents.

First of all, verify with your school/university which documents they are able to submit and via which method. Then contact the Admissions Office, let us know what your school/university is able to do, and check whether this would be acceptable. Please use the bachelor’s admissions contact form or master's admissions contact form. In some cases, and with prior permission, we may be able to accept documents sent by email directly from your school.

If your diploma or credential authorities already have an online delivery system for results, such as the International Baccalaureate, please arrange for these results to be submitted in the standard way.

Leiden University will do its utmost to take your circumstances into consideration and offer flexibility in terms of deadlines and criteria for document submission. However, please be aware that in some situations, the only option may be for you to delay your studies until a later date.

In accordance with government guidelines, most of our staff are currently working from home. Unfortunately, this may lead to delays in the processing of applications and documents sent by post. However, please be assured that we will confirm receipt of your documentation as soon as possible.

Online study
At this moment it is not clear if we offer your study programme 100% online from September 2021. We update this FAQ as soon as possible if we have further information.

Other options
You could consider 
deferring your application to the next available start date. If you do so, you will not be required to pay the application fee again.

Of course, you may also choose to cancel your application. If you cancel before the official start date of your study programme, you will be reimbursed for any tuition fees you have already paid. If you cancel after the official start date, you will still liable for a percentage of the tuition fee. You can cancel your application in Studielink.

If you defer or cancel your application be aware that:

  • The application fee is non refundable
  • The visa/residence permit fee is only refundable if you cancel your application before the University submits your visa application to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND).
  • The housing fee is only refundable if you notify Leiden University housing office that you no longer need housing before the housing deadline.

Information about deferral of your study can be found here

If there aren’t any travel restrictions preventing you from coming to the Netherlands, Leiden University advises you to come to Leiden or The Hague and start your study programme here. This is because it is much easier for you to switch from following lectures online to joining the lectures on campus once you already here. It will also allow you to meet your fellow students in person, get to know the city and take advantage of the facilities available both in the city and at the university. 

If you hope to come to The Netherlands for (part of) your studies, we still advise you to arrange housing as early as possible. There is a shortage of affordable accommodation in Leiden and The Hague, so an early start is essential. See our information on when to arrange housing.

Finding your own housing
Most students in The Netherlands arrange their own accommodation independently. For information and advice see the finding housing yourself page.

Via Leiden University Housing Office
Leiden University housing office has a limited number of rooms available for international students. Accommodation is allocated on a first-come first-served basis, so request housing as early as possible via the online application portal (uSis). If you decide to come to The Netherlands midway through the semester, contact the Housing Office at least two weeks before your expected arrival date to check the current housing situation. Depending on availability, they may be able to offer you a room right away, or you may have to wait till the start of the next semester for something to become available.

If you cancel your housing request before the housing deadline (1 June for the fall semester / 15 November for the spring semester), you are still entitled to a full refund of your housing deposit. Make sure to contact the Housing Office directly to cancel your housing request. It is not sufficient to just cancel your online application for admission.

After the housing deadline, the housing fee is unfortunately non-refundable. However, if you are forced to defer the start of your studies till a later semester due to travel restrictions, you can request that your housing fee be carried over to your new start date. Contact the Housing Office for details.

Unfortunately, we might not have the answers to all your questions just yet. The University is working hard in these uncertain times to provide as much information as possible. Please refer back to this page periodically for updates.

If you have a specific question about your application or admission to Leiden University, please contact our Student Affairs Office using the relevant form: bachelor’s admissions contact form / master'a admissions contact form.

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