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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.

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 intelligent lockdown, we have cancelled all events until 1 September, and that since mid-March 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. A Central Crisis Team is guiding the University through the crisis.

We are preparing the University to be able to operate while observing the one- and-a-half-metre distance rule so that wherever people may be in our University buildings they can maintain a distance of one and a half metres from one another. These measures include setting a maximum number of persons for each room, one-way traffic in the corridors, restricted use of lifts, separate entrances and exits, and more. We will also be registering all the people using each building. Naturally, we will at all times take the prescribed hygiene measures, such as washing our hands frequently, and not shaking hands; extra cleaning will also be arranged in all our premises. An instruction video will be shown in each building that all visitors will be obliged to watch.

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

From 15 June, on-campus teaching and exams will be permitted on a very limited scale. The teaching will be in fixed timeslots for a maximum of 20% of the regular student capacity.

For the present, on-campus teaching and exams are only possible for:
1.    supervision of final-year students
2.    practicals
3.    supervision of vulnerable students
4.    exams that cannot be held online 

No, that’s not correct. Right now we are making the necessary preparations in case we need to offer online teaching for a longer period, so that we know for sure we will be able to provide high-quality teaching in the coming academic year - when and where possible in our buildings, on campus. And, if it’s still necessary, online.

The latest easing of the corona measures by the Dutch government 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. International students who are unable to come to the university because of potential travel restrictions will be able to start their degree programme online.

We will be happy to welcome you to Leiden University in the coming academic year. Leiden University is making preparations for the coming semester step by step. What we are able to do depends very much on the possibilities given to us by the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM, Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu). For the time being, we are preparing to provide all our teaching from September 2020 up to and including January 2021 where possible in our University buildings and other part like plenary lecture largely online. We are taking account of all the likely scenarios, and hope that we will be able to meet one another on campus in the very near future. For each programme, we are looking at which components can be given in a physical context, such as practicals, small work groups and tutoring.

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, but please bear in mind that you will follow also follow parts of your programme online – in any event the lectures, and certainly the plenary lectures.  If you are an international students who is unable to come to the university because of potential travel restrictions, you will be able to start your bachelor's or master's programme 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.  

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.

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. As soon as we have more detailed information and are able to take further steps, we will inform you via the updates on our website. When you enrol in a programme, the programme department will inform you in time about the start of your studies. 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 since 23 March. 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. If students have any questions, they can contact the corona helpline at the Student Affairs Information Centre.

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. However, the study areas are closed. 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.

Whether you can take an internship will depend on the opportunities made available by host organisations offering internship. It is difficult to say at this point in time whether this can be combined with an online study programme. It is important to bear in mind that studying online takes up just as much time as studying on campus, and that you will have to devote around 30 – 40 hours a week to your studies.

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

No, because the online education remains on the same level of quality as on-campus education and you will receive the same diploma as on-campus education, the tuition fees will not be reduced.

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

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, by joining an international student association and/or via your study association.

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 there aren’t any limitations for you to travel to the Netherlands like travel restrictions, Leiden University advises you to travel to Leiden or The Hague and start your study programme here, because it is much easier for you to switch from online lectures to on campus lectures and join us in our lecture rooms. So make sure to request your visa or residence permit in time!

If you are unable to enter or collect your visa, it may be an option for you to start in September online with your courses and travel later to the Netherlands, but within 3 months of the validity of your provisional residence permit. 

You can also cancel your visa application. As soon as you can travel to the Netherlands again, we will submit a new visa application for you to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND).

See all the FAQs on visa here

If you are unable to enter or collect your visa, it may be an option for you to start in September online with your courses and travel later to the Netherlands, but within 3 months of the validity of your provisional residence permit. 

You can also cancel your visa application. As soon as you can travel to the Netherlands again, we will submit a new visa application for you to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND).

See all the FAQs on visa here

You can cancel your application at any time, even if you have previously accepted the offer of admission in uSis. If you cancel before 1 September 2020, you will also be reimbursed for any tuition fees you have already paid.

You may also consider deferring your application to to the next available start date of your programme. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable. However, if you defer your current application or submit a new one for the next academic year, you will not have to pay this fee again.

Visa fees are only refundable if you cancel your application before the University submits your visa application (deadline June 15th) to the Dutch immigration authorities (IND). If the University has already applied for your visa when you cancel your application, the visa fee is non-refundable.

See all the FAQs on visa here

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 this summer 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.

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.

Student life

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!

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, and our Rector and Deans also use videos to share information. 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.

If you experience fear, stress or loneliness during this difficult time, you can contact the "Listening Phone", organised by Student Support Services. Call 071 527 1132 or e-mail studentsupport@leidenuniv.nl and we will call you back. The Listening Phone is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

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.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has granted universities permission this year to admit students who have not yet completed their bachelor’s programme to a master’s programme under conditions that the universities themselves can set. In consultation with the consultation bodies, the Executive Board has chosen two variants in order to meet the needs of the different degree programmes.

Variant 1: With these degree programmes, you will be able to carry out assignments or sit exams from you bachelor’s programme in September 2020. 

Variant 2: With these degree programmes, you will be able to start your master’s programme and will be able to complete your bachelor’s programme in the course of the 2020/2021 academic year, as long as you meet the conditions set by the degree programme. 

This option applies to bachelor’s students who are enrolled at a research university in the Netherlands, the EU or Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (EEA). In some cases, this also applies to students progressing from a conversion or pre-master’s programme to a master’s programme at a research university. Alongside these two variants, a large number of degree programmes offer a second intake juncture during the academic year.

Would you like to take advantage of the option above? See the dossier of the master’s programme that you wish to follow to see which variant applies to you.

If you would like to begin a bachelor’s programme at Leiden University but will be unable 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 1 June 2020, 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 2020 (afrondingsadvies). Add this statement to your application for admission to the bachelor’s programme in our uSis online application portal as soon as possible, but by 1 August at the latest. 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 2020. 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 in addition to your your university of applied sciences propaedeuse (first year)? Then you must have completed this before 1 September.

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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