International Studies (BA)
Do you want to apply for the bachelor’s programme International Studies at Leiden University? First, check the admission requirements.
The diploma requirements for admission to the English-taught bachelor’s programmes at the Faculty of Humanities are:
- A Dutch pre-university education (VWO) diploma.
- A Propaedeutic diploma or final diploma from a University of Applied Sciences (HBO). Proof of your proficiency in English might be required (see below: Language requirements).
- A University first year certificate or degree.
- an equivalent of a Dutch pre-university education (VWO) diploma. Our admissions Office has drawn up a list of common non-Dutch diplomas that generally meet the minimum academic requirements. Additionally a good level of English proficiency is required. Specific requirements can be found under 2. Language requirements.
If your diploma does not meet these requirements you may still be admitted, on condition that you sit additional exams. You will receive more information on this once you have applied.
It is essential that at the start of your programme you have a good level of proficiency in written and spoken English, as the programme is taught in English, and you will have to do all your studying and writing in English.
You do not need to provide proof of your level of proficiency if you:
- have obtained a Dutch VWO diploma
- have obtained a final diploma from a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO)
- have completed your secondary or higher education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada), Singapore, South Africa or Malta.
- have obtained an (English-taught) International Baccalaureate or an EB (European Baccalaureate) diploma with English as language 1
- have obtained a German Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife (Abitur) and English
was included in your final year at least at Grundkurslevel.
- Exemptions may be granted on the basis of other educational diplomas. Check our diploma requirements list to find out whether your diploma might entitle you to an exemption.
If the above does not apply to you, you will have to provide proof of your proficiency, by means of one of the tests below. You have to register for the test yourself. The test results are valid for two years. Leiden University accepts three kinds of official tests:
- The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic modules only. Minimum score of 6.5 overall.
- We do not accept IELTS General Training or IELTS Indicator
- We are not yet able to accept the new IELTS online.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score of 90 overall (internet based).
- We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™ or institutional tests such as ITP.
- We can accept the TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition™ and the TOEFL IBT Paper Edition for admission to the academic year 2022-2023.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English/ Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (grade A-C) or CPE/CAE 180.
Equivalent test scores
You can find the equivalent scores for IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge English tests in our English test score equivalency table.
Exam results may not be more than two years old. See also the general language requirements
Colloquium doctum, which roughly translates as “learned discussion”, is a special admission procedure that you can apply for if:
- you do not have a diploma that grants university admission, and
- you are 21 or older on the day that your proposed study programme commences
As a colloquium doctum candidate, you have to sit a number of exams at Dutch pre-university level (VWO) to determine whether you have the required knowledge to participate in a university degree programme. If you are successful, you will only be admitted to the programme for which you initially applied – not to other programmes or other institutions.
Bear in mind that the colloquium doctum route can be very challenging, both during the admission procedure and once you begin your degree studies.
The colloquium doctum admission procedure
The colloquium doctum admission procedure is the same as the standard application procedure, so you can simply follow the steps in this guide. Be sure to check the colloquium doctum application deadline for your chosen programme, which can be found in the programme information. For most programmes this deadline is 15 October.