Studying: what will it be like in the near future for first year students?
It’s great that you’re planning to come and study with us. These are uncertain times, but there’s one thing we know for certain: when you study at Leiden University, you can be sure the education you receive will be of the highest quality.
We are paying special attention to our international students. We want to give you a warm welcome as you start your studies at our University. You will be following your programme online and, where possible, on campus. We understand that you may not be able to travel to the Netherlands for the start of the academic year. That’s no problem: in that case, you can start your programme online.
Our aim with all we are doing is to provide you with a complete and comprehensive academic training. Your reason for choosing Leiden University is more than just your particular study programme and the quality of our education. Discover the world at Leiden University.
Update 7 August: Introduction weeks to go ahead with restrictions, but no in-person introductions to student associations
On Thursday 6 August, the government announced measures relating to the introduction weeks for universities and student associations. These can go ahead under certain conditions. For the students of Leiden University and Leiden University of Applied Sciences this means the following:
The EL CID, HOP and OWL introduction weeks can go ahead. Very careful preparation has gone into these programmes in recent months so that they already take into account all the necessary measures. Intensive coordination has also taken place with the local councils and the Municipal Public Health Service. As a result, programmes have been devised that include an online component and in all three weeks a one-day in-person component. For this part of the programme students will come to Leiden or The Hague in small groups to meet one another, get to know the city and their programme and find out more about student life. These days will not have an evening programme and all the activities will be arranged so that the 1.5-metre distance and other precautionary measures are complied with at all times. This means that the programmes for our introduction weeks already meet the restrictions set by the government.
The in-person introduction to the student associations cannot go ahead. The student associations will each inform their own members and aspiring members. Obviously, the university is in close contact with the student associations.
We strongly urge our students, both the new first-year students and our current bachelor’s and master’s students, to comply with the corona measures, to refrain from organising activities outside the official programme and to limit their social contacts. This will help reduce the risk of a further spread of the virus.
Update 29 July: Teaching from September 2020
The aim is that around a quarter of the teaching will take place face-to-face on campus, although this may differ per faculty. Practical sessions in particular, small tutorials and tutor meetings for first-years will take place on University premises. As we have to observe the one and a half metres distance, capacity is limited. The exact arrangements are different for each programme and building. You will hear more about your timetable from your programme department.
In recent months, almost all teaching was online – from 15 June a limited amount of teaching, such as practical sessions and graduation research, could also take place in University buildings. Fortunately, in the new academic year, from 31 August 2020, some teaching can take place on campus again, within the government guidelines. On campus or online: we will make sure that all the teaching and all the exams continue with the high level of quality that you expect from us. Our teachers have gained a great deal of experience with online teaching, and they are receiving professional support. Our aim is for you to get the most out of your study years.
The capacity of our buildings is limited because we have to observe the one and a half metres distance in lecture halls, tutorial rooms and libraries. Our aim is for first-year students to have about a quarter of their contract hours face-to-face, and for students in later years, about a fifth of their contact hours. Please note: this may change if the virus does not remain under control, because the health of our students and staff is and will remain our primary concern. All other teaching will remain online.
In all buildings, measures are in force to allow people to work and study together in safety. Areas have a maximum capacity, designated walking routes have been laid out and there are extra facilities for cleaning your hands. Obviously, we are asking everyone to observe the national guidelines: this means you may not come to the University if you or the people you share your house with have any symptoms. You can be tested at the Local Health Authority if you have any symptoms.
Have you been abroad this summer or have you come to the Netherlands from abroad for a study at Leiden University? If you have come from a country or area that has an orange or red code to study at a Leiden University location, you first have to spend two weeks in quarantine at your new living arrangements in the Netherlands.
Teaching on campus
When you resume your studies in September, your teaching will be partly on location again, in University buildings. You only have access to these premises if you do not pose a risk for your fellow students and lecturers. In other words, if you have no symptoms, and, if you arrive in the Netherlands from an orange or red area, you have spent two weeks at your new living arrangements in the Netherlands in quarantine.
Self-quarantine at your new living arrangements in the Netherlands
If you have been abroad this summer or you have come from abroad to study at Leiden University, please check out which countries have been given orange or red code status by the Dutch government. If you enter the Netherlands from a country or region with an orange or red code, you have to stay at home in quarantine for two weeks before you can come to any University buildings. This measure is subject to regular changes, so make sure you check the rules that apply on the day you arrive in the country.
We understand that self-quarantine can be difficult for first-year and international students. You can start your studies online if you are unable – or not yet able – to come to the University. In University rental locations there are resident assistants who can support international students during quarantine. If you have any questions about quarantine at home, check out the FAQs on the subject. Keep a close eye on this site for information about how to handle intake appointments with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the local municipality or bank if you have to stay in quarantine. If you have any questions that are not answered by the FAQs, please get in touch with student support services, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone + 31 71 527 8026.
Our measures also apply if you are taking part in an introduction week: you can only join in the parts of the programme that are taking place on location provided you observe the national regulations and the conditions that apply to the introduction week you have signed up for. You will receive further information about this from the organisers of the introduction week.
Checking and testing
Ask yourself the questions from the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) check for visitors before starting work or studying in our buildings, taking part in events or going to meetings. If you have any symptoms, you must have yourself tested.
Almost everything that can be done face-to-face in the lecture rooms can be done online: listening, discussing, asking questions, making presentations and working in groups. Our lecturers have now gained a lot of experience in different teaching methods, and there are different ways that students can work interactively online.
As well as short knowledge clips or recorded videos on the course material that you can watch in your own time, you can also follow live online lectures. Interactive online tutorials are a further option, where you can work on course material with your teacher and fellow students, either in a plenary setting or with a few fellow students in break-out rooms. You can take part in discussions via chats or forums, or make a video or podcast as an assignment. And, of course, there are also Q&A sessions where you have every opportunity to ask questions.
Teachers and students use various systems, such as Kaltura, Microsoft Teams and Bright Space, for online teaching and learning. Naturally, you will receive information from your programme department about which subjects are online and which will be given on campus, what the timetable will look like, on which online platforms you will follow your chosen subjects and how you can make use of the different online facilities.
To support first-year students, we have intensified our tutorial system. First-year bachelor’s students meet in small tutor groups of ten to fifteen students with a lecturer and student tutor. They will help you learn about the University, your study programme and the city. This way, you’ll soon get to know your programme and your fellow students, while at the same time focusing attention on academic training and social bonding. Coaching will also be provided for master’s students.
It goes without saying that we are here to help if you have any questions or problems, such as:
- If you don’t have access to a good PC;
- If you need extra facilities or time because of a functional disability,
such as dyslexia;
- If you want advice on studying online;
- If you need support with your studies because you have problems with the timetable due to a functional disability, you are involved in top-class sport, you have family care responsibilities or you are looking after children.
What do we expect from you?
- You have to organise a quiet place to study, with a PC and a good internet connection;
- You are motivated and have the self-discipline to work hard at your studies;
- You will stay in contact with your fellow students and play an active part in your tutor groups.
Success with your studies!
Frequently asked questions
The latest easing of the corona measures gives us more options to teach our students on campus, something we are extremely pleased about. The increased public transport options will be of particular help here. A direct consequence of the one-and-a-half-metre rule is that we will be unable to make full use of our teaching facilities. The limited capacity will mean that all students will be offered a mixture of on-campus and online teaching at the start of the new academic year.
We hope that about a quarter of your normal contact hours will take place on campus. This could include practicals, small tutorials and meetings with your fellow students and your new tutor groups. Where possible, you will have lectures in our buildings, otherwise you will follow parts of your programme – in any event the lectures, and certainly the plenary lectures – online.
Please be assured that we realise how important it is that you get to feel comfortable and at home at the University as quickly as possible. Having contacts with your fellow students and lecturers is a key part of your student experience. Not only that, studying is more than following classes at your computer and we will do all we can to receive you, as a new student, in our University buildings wherever this is allowed. What will be possible from September will be different for each programme and each building. If the measures are relaxed further, more of the teaching will be able to take place on campus.
We appreciate that you want to know as soon as possible what your programme will look like. However, there are still a lot of uncertainties: government measures can be delayed, reversed or even relaxed more rapidly. The programme department you have applied for will make sure you have further information before the start of the new academic year.
As a first-year bachelor’s student, you will be part of a tutor group of around 10 to 15 other first-year students. The group will be headed by a more senior student and a lecturer. Especially at the start of the programme, you will be in regular contact with this group to help you feel at home in your new study environment more quickly. You can talk to your lecturer and student tutor about any questions you may have; they will tell you all you want to know about the programme and the University, and will also organise fun activities for you and your fellow students. As well as this, the study and student associations and other student organisations will arrange a wealth of online and in-person activities so you can get to know your fellow students. You will also have access to an extensive student support network, and you can find lots of useful tips on special platforms, such as the Healthy University and Studying Online.
For first-year master’s students we are developing a form of coaching that focuses on activities related to job market preparation, research or familiarising yourself with the University libraries. As well as this, study and student associations and other student organisations will arrange a wealth of online and in-person activities so you can get to know your fellow students. You will also have access to an extensive student support network, and you can find lots of useful tips on special platforms, such as the Healthy University and Studying Online.
Your student time is about more than just studying. If you live in student accommodation in Leiden or The Hague, you will also meet new friends and fellow students, and it will be easier for you to use the University facilities as these open up; these include such things as the study places in the libraries and the sports facilities, as well as all that the city where you are living has to offer. We advise you to start looking for a room early; you can find some tips to help you on our website.
If we are able to offer more lectures or other teaching activities on campus during the first semester, it will also be easier for you to make the switch from online to on-campus lectures.
We will offer programme components on campus where this is permitted. These could be small-scale teaching formats, such as practicals and work groups or meetings of your tutor group. In the most extreme case, the programme will have to be followed completely online.
If you are an international student and you are not yet allowed to travel to the Netherlands in August/September, you can start your study programme 100% online. As soon as the situation allows you to travel to the Netherlands, you can discuss with your programme department starting to follow on-campus lectures at a later date.
If you have a functional disability or health issues that mean you are unable or unwilling to travel to Leiden or The Hague, you can start your programme 100% online. As soon as the situation allows you to travel to the Netherlands, you can discuss with your programme department starting to follow on-campus lectures at a later date.
A lot of work has been put into providing alternative activities for the different introduction programmes. These introductions will be made up of two parts: firstly, an interactive platform where you can get to know one another, the student associations and other student organisations online, and secondly, just as every year, students will take part in an on-location introduction programme, in groups. The main goal is and remains that you have the chance to get to know your study programme, the city, student life and one another. The introduction week should be an unforgettable start to your student years, and we want to make sure you have every opportunity to enjoy this experience – online and on campus!
You can sign up for the introduction programme from 15 June. You’ll find more information on the website about which introduction programme is the right one for you. The invitation to sign up will appear in your mailbox on or around 15 June, so keep a close eye on your inbox!
Please find all answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQs start of your programme.
A message from rector magnificus Carel Stolker to all prospective students
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