Universiteit Leiden

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Religious Studies (MA)

Admission requirements

On this page you will find the admission requirements for this programme.

Diploma requirements

You will need a bachelor’s degree from a university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic bachelor’s degree.

Knowledge, understanding and skills comparable to those acquired upon completion of the bachelor’s programmes in Theology, Religious Studies, World Religions, Islamic Studies, or Islamic Theology from Leiden University, specifically:

  • Knowledge in the field of theology, religious studies and history.
  • Knowledge of the study of Christianity, Islam and/or Judaism.
  • Knowledge of methodologies of either social sciences or history and/or philology.
  • The ability to reflect on current debates and developments regarding religion.
  • The ability to formulate problems and the skill to select the correct methodological approach as well as literature/data to analyse these problems.
  • Students who have a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, Religious Studies or Islamic Studies from Leiden University are always eligible for admission and need to apply through Studielink only.
  • Applicants with an academic Bachelor Degree in Humanities or Social Sciences, who successfully finished the minor ‘Religion in a changing World’, will be admitted. They do however need to submit an online application.
  • Applicants with an academic Bachelor Degree in World Religions or Islamic Theology from Leiden University will be admitted. They do however need to submit an online application

Applicants with a relevant degree from a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO) may be eligible for an individual bridging programme. Contact the coordinator of studies for more information.

Language requirements

Sufficient command of English (IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 (internet-based) or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)). For a list of exceptions, see the website on language requirements.

Exams accepted

Cambridge English Exam equivalences

  • Programme requiring IELTS 6.5 = Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE), with a minimum grade of C
  • Programme requiring IELTS 7.0 or higher = Cambridge Proficiency (CPE)


Other exam criteria

  • Exam results may not be more than two years old.
  • Institutional exams, such as ITP-TOEFL, cannot be accepted.
  • Chinese students who need a Nuffic certificate should take either an IELTS or a TOEFL IBT exam.


You may be considered exempt from submitting one of the above-mentioned English exam results if:

  • You have an (English-taught) International Baccalaureate.
  • You completed your secondary or higher education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada).
  • At the discretion of the Board of Admissions, you are a Dutch student with pre-university education (VWO) level English.

In exceptional cases, students who otherwise qualify for an exemption but whose application documents cast doubt on their English proficiency may be asked to sit an English exam.

Submitting your exam results

All English exam results must be uploaded to the online application system.

Your English exam results must be checked for authenticity by the Admissions Office before the deadline for applying for a visa/residence permit (if applicable), or before the start date of your programme. To make this possible, please do the following:

  • TOEFL exam: tell ETS to send your original results report to Leiden University Admissions Office – institution code 0504.
  • Cambridge certificate: send your ID number and your “secret number” (check the Candidate Results Online service) to the Leiden University Admissions Office.
  • IELTS: a scanned exam result is sufficient - no further steps will be required.

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