Universiteit Leiden

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Media Technology

Elective courses

Elective courses enable students to gain deeper insight into scientific topics of their choice, and they prepare students for their individual graduation project. They can be elected from Leiden University, but also from other (inter)national universities.

The most important rule: petition on time!

Permission for elective courses must always be requested before the start of the course, and is always granted on an individual basis. In order to get permission for your elective course, you have to submit a petition in uSis (see below on how to do this).


Here is a step-by-step outline of how to request elective courses. Also, familiarize yourself with the rules, restrictions and suggestions below it.

  1. Choose an elective course. See below on what courses apply and how to select them.
  2. Draft a short motivation of why you want to take this particular elective. You may want to explain how it prepares you for your individual graduation project.
  3. Submit a petition in uSis for following the course (read more below).
  4. The petition is discussed at the first meeting of the Media Technology "Board". The dates of these meetings can be found in the programme calendar.
  5. If your petition is supported by the Media Technology Board, then it is forwarded to the LIACS Board of Examiners (BoEx) who can formally approve/reject it.
  6. Only after the LIACS BoEx approves, the petition is accepted (read more below).
  7. After the course was completed, make sure to send proof of the grade to the education coordinator. Only then can it be registered in uSis.

Rules, restrictions, suggestions and uSis

We do not compile lists of eligible elective courses. Elective courses can be for instance from the fields of Computer Science, Psychology, Art History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Engineering, etcetera. It is allowed to follow elective courses at other (inter)national universities.

From your personal interest start browsing online course lists, from Leiden University, but also from other universities and possibly art schools.

Some restrictions regarding course levels apply:

  • Elective courses must be at Master level. At Leiden University, this means level 400 and higher (also for other universities with the same level system). For universities that use other level systems, make sure the course is taught at Master level.
  • Maximally 5 elective EC points can be obtained at advanced level (level 300 at Leiden University). Permission is on an individual basis and restrictions apply.
  • Of these 5 EC points, maximally 3 EC can be obtained at introductory level (levels 100/200 at Leiden University). Permission is on an individual basis and restrictions apply.

Universities of Applied Sciences are known in Dutch as "HBO". Art schools generally fall into this class of eductional institutions also. 

When petitioning an elective course from a university of applied sciences (or art school), then the student must supply a "HBO Elective Course Form" that is filled in and signed by the course lecturer, in addition to the normal elective course application.

Some courses (although rare) are "honours courses", so called because their ECs do not count towards completing one's curriculum. Students are encouraged to take part in them, but they cannot be used as electives.

Other universities may award "half credits", such as 7.5 EC points. Leiden University does not accept half credits, and will always round downward. For example, 7.5 EC becomes 7 EC.

Other universities may also give a course grade 5.5, which is not accepted by Leiden University. In these cases, the final grade is rounded to 5. All other course grades (so not 5.5) are rounded to the nearest half point excluding 5.5. For example, 7.3 becomes 7.5, 5.4 becomes 5, etcetera.

Maximally 5 elective EC points can be obtained through project work instead of taking courses. Permission is granted on an individual basis and restrictions may apply.

Of these 5 EC project points, students can obtain a maximum of 2 EC for helping another student in his/her graduation project. It must be technical assistance, such as programming and hardware construction. The added work must be of assistive nature to the project and cannot be an essential part. Both students (assisting and assisted) need prior approval of the Media Technology board for the assistance, and must write a report about their cooperation. A student can be the assisting and assisted party only once. Permission is on an individual basis and restrictions may apply.

Note that for elective projects students have to send in a proposal to the Board instead of submitting a petition via uSis.

This explanation is also provided on uSisHelp with short films explaining the steps (via buttons 'see it' or 'try it').

  1. Login onto uSis
  2. Go to ‘Student center
  3. Click the ‘Petitions’ link
  4. Go to the tab ‘My academics
  5. Click the ‘View my advisement rprt’ link
  6. Scroll down and choose what to do:
    • When submitting a petition for replacing a compulsory course, then click on the course name.
    • Whensubmitting a petition for an internal (Leiden University) elective course, then click on ‘Mediatechnology Choice’ courses.
    • When submitting a petition for an external elective course, then click on ‘Mediatechnology Choice’ courses.
    • When submitting a petition for an extracurricular course, then click on ‘extracurricular’.
  7. Click the ‘Submit request’ button on the right
  8. From the drop-down menu select
    • 'Replacement' when you want to replace a compulsory course
    • 'Replacement' when you request an internal (Leiden University) elective course
    • 'External education' when you request an external elective course
    • 'Extracurricular course' when you request an extracurricular course
  9. Click the ‘Continue’ button
  10. Enter the course name in the Description field
  11. In the ‘Explanation student’ field please provide the following details. This is important, otherwise the Board cannot assess your petition!
    • ECTS points
    • Level, e.g. level 400, Master 2nd year, Bachelor 3rd year
    • Institute and department, e.g. TU Delft, Computer Sciences dept.
    • Course description
    • Link (URL) to the course description in the study guide online
    • Personal motivation for taking this course
    • Name of the course lecturer
    • Date when the course starts
  12. Click ‘Save’ 
  13. Click ‘Submit
  14. Click ‘Yes

The Media Technology "Board" will discuss your petition during the next board meeting and pass their advice to the LIACS Board of Examiners (BoEx), who can formally approve/reject it. When the petition is approved by the BoEx, in uSis it will get the status/message ‘In Progress’.

After completing the elective course, it is the student's responsibility to provide the Media Technology education coordinator with sufficient proof of the result (grade) obtained. Typically, this is a signed/stamped transcript of results.

Only after this proof was accepted can the result be registered in uSis. The status of the petition will then change to 'Approved'.

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