Universiteit Leiden

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South and Southeast Asian Studies (BA)

Admission requirements

Do you want to apply for the bachelor’s programme South and Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden University? First, check the admission requirements.

The admission requirements for the bachelor’s programme are:

Dutch students:

  • A Dutch pre-university education (VWO) diploma.
  • A Propaedeutic diploma or final diploma from a higher professional (HBO) institution. With a propedeutic (first year) exam you need an average grade of 7.0. Moreover you will need a 7.0 for English on your HAVO exam.
  • A University first year certificate or degree.


International students:

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 completed your education in Canada (English-taught programme), the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia;
  • have obtained an (English-taught) International Baccalaureate or an EB (European Baccalaureate) diploma with English as language 1

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.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores is 90 (internet based). Original test results should be sent directly by the Educational Testing Service. The TOEFL institution code for Leiden University is 0504. Institutional TOEFL tests are not accepted;
  • 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.

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