Universiteit Leiden

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Programme structure

The programme has been designed to offer broad and in-depth knowledge of European tax law.

Programme outline

The programme covers a full year, starting in August, and is comprised of nine courses. Each course is concluded with an exam. You will be expected to actively participate in the classroom discussions and may be required to prepare oral and written presentations. The preparation work is quite demanding in terms of time. In order to cope with the requirements of the programme, you should give priority to your studies. For this reason, a part-time option is not offered.

The core courses cover the impact of primary European Union law in the field of direct taxation as well as the steps undertaken to harmonize European fiscal systems. You will have the option to specialise in direct taxation, indirect taxation or state aid law.

Weekly Technical Meeting 

In addition to the courses, you will have weekly, informal meetings with your fellow students and a staff member (usually the programme coordinator), which will cover developments in EU tax law as they unfold throughout the year. These weekly Technical meetings last about four hours and are optional, but your participation is strongly encouraged. The meetings will teach you how to stay up to date on new case law, policy developments, etc.


The programme includes a significant research dimension, and you will be required to write a thesis on a topic of your choice. Throughout the writing, you will be monitored by your supervisor, both in terms of methodology and substance, with a view to promoting the eventual publication of the paper.


In this programme, you will take the following courses:

  • Fundamentals of International Tax Law
  • Tax Treaties
  • Foundations of European Law
  • Fiscal Sovereignty and Fundamental Freedoms
  • General Principles and Charter of Rights
  • Direct Tax Coordination and Harmonization
  • EU Procedural Law and Taxation
  • EU Fiscal Practicum

You will conclude the programme with writing a thesis.

For detailed information on the courses and curriculum, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may differ slightly.

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