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FAQs start of your programme

Are you going to study at Leiden University on 1 September, but do you have questions about the start of your programme? Below you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the start of the academic year of Leiden University. This FAQ is constantly updated.

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.

The answers to the questions below relate to the current situation, with restrictions and much of our teaching online. We will update them as soon as the government provides more information on what will be possible after the summer.

How we are preparing at Leiden University

The health and safety of our students and staff is our prime concern. Leiden University is adhering strictly to the guidelines issued by the Dutch government, the recommendations of the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), and the rules of the Regional Security Agency. This means that, during the current lockdown, all our events are offered online, since December all our teaching has been online and everyone is working at home as much as possible. We keep our students and staff informed with daily updates about the measures we are taking.

No, all our teaching and research are continuing as much as possible. We provided teaching online again since December 2020, and our staff are working at home.

  • Many face-to-face teaching activities will be cancelled for the period of the national lockdown, and will be held online where possible. Practicals in small groups will be able to continue under the guidelines of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), as will mentor and tutor sessions to provide students with support and guidance. Students will receive further information about this from their degree programme.
  • In-person exams will also continue during this period.
  • Study spaces will remain available via the existing booking system for students who need them most. This means:

    • International students
    • Students with a disability
    • Students who are carers
    • Students who do not have the option to study at home or who prefer to study on campus for other (mental-health) reasons.
  • Internships will be able to continue if the internship provider agrees.

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.

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.

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, 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.

Obviously, the health and safety of our students and lectures is paramount, which is why we follow the measures and guidelines of the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM). We don’t yet know what these measures and guidelines will be in September 2021, so check this website regularly for the latest information. If you have enrolled on a programme, you’ll receive a mail from us outlining our plans for our teaching in the new academic year. 

We offer over 50 bachelor’s and almost 80 master’s programmes – and they differ greatly: in size, mode of teaching and building options. Our teaching delivery may therefore differ per degree programme, so your degree programme will inform you about your individual timetable. You will receive this information from 15 June.

If you have any questions, you can send a mail to the Study Line.

Online teaching

To safeguard the continuity and quality of our education, the University has offered teaching online. By doing that, we are able to guarantee the quality of our teaching, and we are looking at creative new forms of teaching. You can read more about this on the webpage: Online teaching: how we do that.

In the dossier on studying in times of corona, students can find all the information they need and a lot of tips about how to handle studying online. We have IT facilities in place to support online contact.
The constant uncertainty about the coronavirus is putting us all under a great deal of strain. It’s therefore understandable that you might be feeling anxious or stressed about your studies or health. If students have any questions, they can contact the Student Support Services at 071-527 8025 or via studentsupport@leidenuniv.nl

It goes without saying that, even in these difficult circumstances, it is extremely important that the education you receive will be of the highest quality. Your programme department is doing all it can to make sure that both the teaching and the examinations meet the quality requirements and other conditions set out in the Course and Examination Regulation (OER) for your programme. The exceptional nature of the current situation may mean that we have to make minor deviations from the OER.

Lecturers are being supported and guided by the Centre for Innovation and the Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON). The University has also set up a website where lecturers can apply for guidance and advice on preparing online teaching.

All lecturers (and students) are required to observe the code of Conduct on Remote Teaching. This sets out very clearly the guidelines on such matters as assessments, communication, etiquette and privacy.

You can still borrow books from the University library (UB) and use the printers there. Study spaces in university buildings will only be limited available . Note that you must reserve a study space in advance. You can read about the modified services of the UB here. The UB, too, is preparing scenarios where the study areas will again be accessible for a very limited number of visitors, while observing the one-and-a-half-metre distance rule.

Yes, it will. The teaching format may be different, but the content of the programme will remain the same.

Even though teaching is now mostly online, the university is ensuring that you can continue following your study programme and that the education you receive continues, as always, to meet the highest standards of quality. In line with national policy, you are still required to pay tuition fee.

Many of your lecturers will use Kaltura Live Room to provide interactive online classes. To access Kaltura Live Room you will need:

  • A stable internet connection
  • Chrome or Firefox web browser
  • A laptop or desktop, preferably with a camera
  • A microphone, either in your computer or via a headset

To improve functionality when using Live Room we recommend that you:

  • only use your camera if strictly necessary,
  • close other browsers and applications,
  • use a wired internet connection if available,
  • if using wifi, sit near the router and if necessary, ask housemates not to use the internet or applications such as Netflix,
  • restart your computer regularly to free up temporary memory,
  • if necessary, invest in additional memory.

Borrow a laptop

If you don't have a suitable computer you can, in exceptional circumstances, borrow a laptop from the university for an assessment or a longer period of time.

For an assessment
If you need a laptop to do an online assessment, you can borrow one for a short period from Plexus Student Centre in Leiden or the Wijnhaven service desk in The Hague. Reserve a laptop for an assessment

For a longer period
If you need a laptop to follow online courses for a longer period, speak to your study adviser. With written permission from your study adviser you can request a laptop for a longer period.

Other IT facilities offered by the university

Office 365 and OneDrive

As a student, you can make free use of Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive cloud storage.

  • Via Office 365 you can access programmes such as Word and Excel on your computer and mobile device.
  • Via OneDrive you can safely store and share up to 1024 GB of files in the cloud.


  1. Go to www.office.com
  2. Log in with ULCNstudentnummer@vuw.leidenuniv.nl and your ULCN password.
  3. Click on the button [install Office] > Office 365 apps and follow the instructions.

More information and support

Microsoft Teams: safely working together online

With Microsoft Teams you can remotely work together with fellow students. Teams is best suited for use with small groups. You can use Teams for:

  • Video calling
  • Audio calling
  • Online chat
  • Sharing, editing and storing documents

Do not use Teams to make recordings or to store sensitive documents or data. Teams is also not a suitable tool for long-term file storage. Instead use other options such as OneDrive.

More information about Facilities, Services and IT

International students - General information

Be sure to come (if you aren't dealing with travel restrictions of course)!
You do not only choose Leiden University for your study programme, but also for the experience of living in the Netherlands, joining the academic community and being part of its student life. The sooner you join our community the better.

We advise you to finish your application and start early applying for housing or finding housing yourself! Leiden University cannot guarantee all of our students a room, but the chance of finding a room yourself is certainly bigger if you decide now and arrive in Leiden or The Hague from August or September. If we then during the first semester switch more classes to on campus education, it is much easier for you to switch from online lectures to on campus lectures and join us in our lecture rooms.

We want to welcome you to start your studies at Leiden University. You will be able to follow 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 your programme. No problem: you can start your studies online. This means you will be following the teaching offered by your study programme from your own home situation. When possible, you can come to Leiden or The Hague for the rest of your academic year. We take into account that it takes some time to arrange your travel.

Unfortunately, this will not be possible because students from countries in all parts of the world may have to start their studies online. However, there are often opportunities to ask any questions you may have, by mail or chats.

You can get in touch with other students by taking part in an (online) introduction week, through your tutor group or by joining one of the many associations for students. Leiden University also offers a buddy service and student support groups for students who are looking for more social contact or for someone to study with. Visit the contact with other student page for full details and more tips on how to stay in touch with your fellow students.

If there aren’t any limitations for you to travel to the Netherlands like travel restrictions, Leiden University advises you to come to Leiden or The Hague and start your study programme here. 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. 

So by saying that we advise you to start searching for housing as soon as possible! Students are expected to arrange their own housing. To help you along the way we have several tips for you on our website!

However, for international students, Leiden University Housing Office reserves a limited number of rooms each year for early applicants. Housing is allocated on first-come first-served basis, therefore you are advised to apply as early as you can.
Although the housing deadline has passed, you are still welcome to submit a housing request. We anticipate that we will have a small number of rooms available for late applicants. We will let you know if we can offer you a room once we have allocated accommodation to all students who applied before the 1 June deadline. The Housing Office will begin allocating rooms from 1 June. Accommodation will be allocated in chronological order, i.e. according to the date on which you paid your housing fee. You will receive an offer of accommodation up to 8 weeks after the housing deadline. Please let us know within 5 days after receiving this offer whether you wish to accept the offer. 

If you decide to start your courses completely online and don’t want to use the allocated room, after accepting the offer for housing the payment of the housing fee and first month rent are non-refundable. 

Be aware that if you travel to the Netherlands after the beginning of the academic year, Leiden University Housing Office will start continuing allocating rooms for the spring semester, starting at 1 February 2021. You can always contact the Housing Office to check up on availability but most likely you will have to find a room yourself.

If your country is still subject to Dutch travel restrictions, you may enter the Netherlands upon showing proof that you are about to start studying at a Dutch university. The following items can be accepted as proof:

  • A student entry visa (MVV)
  • If you do not need an entry visa but have been granted a student residence permit:  a copy of the letter issued by the IND stating that your residence permit request has been approved. You can request a copy of this letter by sending a mail to:  visa@sea.leidenuniv.nl.

In general a MVV does grant the right to transit to the Netherlands via any other Schengen country. However, due to COVID-19 measures transit might not be possible. This might differ per country. You are therefore advised to be well-informed before you start your journey, by consulting travel updates of the country you need to transit through.

Have you been abroad lately or have you come to the Netherlands from abroad for a study at Leiden University? Students who have recently returned or travelled from a country or region with a red or orange travel advisory (which includes an advised period of quarantine) may not come to the University for ten days. 

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 are advised to spent 10 days 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, the Dutch government advises you to stay at home in quarantine for 10 days. During those ten days you may not 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, secretariaat@sea.leidenuniv.nl or telephone + 31 71 527 8026. 
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

Introduction weeks
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.

  1. Check the Dutch Government information about travel restrictions to the Netherlands
  2. Check Q&A about long-stay visa before starting your journey
  3. Check additional rules in place for passengers flying to the Netherlands
  4. Check if you need to go in self-quarantine after arriving in the Nethelands
  5. Be aware of the Dutch advice and rules to help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If your arrival is delayed, you can arrange with your study programme 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

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 yoru 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. 

If you are obliged to return home, you are responsible for arranging and financing your own repatriation. Contact your embassy if you require further information or assistance. Exchange students can also contact their home university coordinator or Leiden University exchange coordinator for advice.

On the Dutch government website you can find a checklist for travel to The Netherlands. This contains all the latest regulations on entry, testing, required documents and quarantine. Make sure to read the checklist carefully when planning your trip. On the Netherlands Worldwide site you can find information on where you can take any necessary corona tests in your home country. 

International students – Exchange

Yes you can, on condition that:

  • inbound travel is permitted from your country according to Dutch government regulations, and
  • you comply with the travel regulations of your own country and university.

Own risk
Be aware that going abroad is always at your own risk, also in terms of finances. If the situation changes and you have to return home, you are responsible for arranging and financing your own repatriation. Make sure to take out adequate insurance that covers all Covid-19 related costs such as hospitalisation and repatriation. Check the details with your insurer.

This may be possible in some cases, depending on the courses you plan to follow and the options available at each faculty. Ask your home university coordinator to contact Leiden University to find out what might be possible. 

You are responsible for any costs you make in connection to your exchange programme, for example travel costs, visa fees, insurance, housing or repatriation. Make sure you have a good insurance policy and check carefully what is and isn’t covered. 

Just like other Leiden University students, exchange students will be able to continue following classes online. However, be aware that if you choose to return to your home country, we cannot always guarantee special exam provisions. Always consult your Leiden University exchange coordinator before deciding whether to go home early.

Student life

A lot of work is currently going into preparing activities for the different introduction week programmes. The format of these weeks is very much dependent on the coronavirus measures in place. The introduction week teams are planning for every possible scenario to make sure you have a memorable experience, whether this be online, face to face, or a combination of the two. See the introduction weeks page for the latest news.

Yes, you can join a student and/or study association, and these associations are now planning other ways of organising their traditional introduction weeks and other events.

Support for students

We have many different ways of providing our students with information and staying in touch with them. They can read about the measures we are taking in our daily updates and in our newsletters.

The constant uncertainty about the coronavirus is putting us all under a great deal of strain. It’s therefore understandable that you might be feeling anxious or stressed about your studies or health. On the Your Wellbeing page you can find information and tools that may be of help.

Tips on nutrition, physical exercise, and well-being are offered by our experts from Healthy University. Students, some of them international, blog on The Leidener and Leids Kwartiertje about how the corona crisis is affecting their studies and student life. They also share their experiences of life in times of corona on social media, for example in posts on Facebook and in a take-over on Instagram.

We are doing all we can to support our students with online teaching, studying at home, etc. We have put together a list of places to go for information, tips and a listening ear.

It’s understandable that you might feel lonely and isolated whilst in quarantine. On the Your wellbeing page you can find  tips and tools to help you maintain your mental wellbeing and connect with other students. Here you can also find information on who to turn to for support, both within and outside Leiden University.

You can also contact the Student Support Services via studentsupport@leidenuniv.nl or tel. 071 – 527 8025 (workdays from 9.30 till 12.00).

Choosing your study programme

The content of our programmes has not changed. When you start your study programme here in Leiden, you can be sure the education you receive will be of the highest quality, given by inspiring and highly respected researchers. Society urgently needs young people who can make a contribution to resolving the issues of the present day. There’s no better place to learn to do that than at Leiden University. We have been educating students for over 445 years to critically evaluate scientific and societal challenges, and to respect one another’s freedom to hold different opinions.

If you would you like to start a master’s programme at Leiden University but will be unable to complete your bachelor’s before the end of the academic year, there are a few master’s programmes that you may still be able to begin.

This year the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has given universities permission to admit students who have not yet completed their bachelor’s programme to a master’s programme, under conditions to be set by the universities themselves. A few master’s programmes at Leiden University will offer this possibility, and will choose one of two options:  

  • Option 1:  students will be permitted to submit their final bachelor’s assignments and complete their internship in September 2021, if their bachelor’s programme offers this possibility.  
  • Option 2: students will be permitted to complete their bachelor’s programme during the 2021/2022 academic year if they meet certain predetermined criteria.

The options above apply to bachelor’s students who are enrolled this academic year at a research university in the Netherlands, EU or EEA, and who in principle (upon completing their bachelor’s this summer) would have been able to continue directly onto a master’s programme.

Alongside these two new options, many degree programmes will also offer a second intake moment during the academic year.

Would you like to take advantage of the options above? Which option is available depends on the master’s programme. The individual master’s programmes will provide further information next week (week 20).

If you have any questions about admission and enrolment, the Student Affairs Front Office can help. Please fill in the online contact form and use ‘Admission request’ as the subject.

Would like to begin a bachelor’s programme at Leiden University but will be unable, due to Corona, to complete your university of applied sciences propaedeuse (first year) at a Dutch institute before the end of the academic year? We as a university would like to help you avoid any delay to your studies.

What do you need to do?
Register for the bachelor’s programme in Studielink by 15 June 2021, fill in this form and request a statement from your university of applied sciences on whether you can reasonably be expected to be able to complete your propaedeuse by 31 December 2021 (afrondingsadvies). Email this statement by 1 August at the latest to bacheloradmission@sea.leidenuniv.nl.

The bachelor’s programme will decide whether to admit you to the programme. If it does, this will be on the condition that you complete your propaedeuse by 31 December 2021. If you do not manage to do so, your registration for the bachelor’s programme will be cancelled. Any credits you have earned may, if your university of applied sciences agrees, be added as an extracurricular course to the degree certificate that you receive from that university. 

Please note: Does the Bachelor’s programme that you would like to follow set additional requirements for admission, like a language test or certificate? If so, you must meet these requirements before 1 September 2021.

If you have any questions about admission and enrolment, the Student Affairs Front Office can help. Please fill in the online contact form and use ‘Admission request’ as the subject. If you have any questions about the bachelor’s programme itself, please contact the study adviser for that particular programme. You will find their details under contact on the programme page.


The Netherlands’ approach is aimed at keeping the virus under control as much as possible in order to protect vulnerable groups and make sure the healthcare system can cope. Thanks to people complying with the measures, the situation has improved since March. The figures show a positive trend.  Now, it is important that the virus stays under control until a vaccine or treatment is available. That is why we’re are taking a step-by-step approach.

Relaxing restrictions at local or neighbourhood level
The government will start by relaxing restrictions at local or neighbourhood level. That will not make public spaces much busier. The government will then relax restrictions at regional level and finally at national level. First small gatherings will be allowed, and later larger gatherings, so that everything remains as manageable and orderly as possible. Restrictions can only be lifted if the virus remains under control. If circumstances require, any decision to relax measures can be reversed.

Moving step by step towards more freedom in public life
Whenever people gather in groups, coronavirus can spread quickly. That’s why measures are in place to prevent people gathering in large groups. It is also important that people themselves take responsibility. Avoid busy places. Leave if you notice it is becoming difficult to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. If people gather in groups and this poses a safety or public health risk, enforcement officers can take action. Use public transport for essential travel only. Travel outside peak hours and stay 1.5 metres away from others if possible. All passengers aged 13 and over will be required to wear a non-medical face mask on buses, metros, trams, ferries, waterbuses and trains.

Tracking the spread of the virus
Following these basic rules can prevent the virus from spreading in most cases. This will be combined with expanding testing capacity and in-depth source and contact tracing. Everyone in the Netherlands who has symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested. This is crucial to being able to track the spread of the virus. If someone tests positive for coronavirus, the municipal health service (GGD) will carry out in-depth source and contact tracing.

For general questions, you can contact the StudyLine. For information on specific programmes, you can chat with a current bachelor’s or master’s student.  

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