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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 (see here how).
  4. The petition is discussed at the first meeting of the Media Technology "Board". The dates of these meetings can be found in the program 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 BoEx approves, the petition is accepted (read more below).
  7. Upon completing the course, send a certified transcript of the grade to the Education Coordinator (mediatechnology@liacs.leidenuniv.nl). Your grade can only be registered in uSis after sending a certified document with your grade.


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.

See our the page on how to apply for electives in uSis.

The "Media Technology Board" will discuss your petition during the next board meeting (uSis status "In Progress") 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 the field "Explanation Board of Examiners" will contain the decision number of the BoEx (e.g. "Besluit 1642"/"22-23 LIACS 129"), the type of decision from the BoEx (e.g. "Individueel besluit"/"Algemeen besluit"), the number of EC, the level and the education institution. 

The petition status will remain "In progress" until the Faculty of Science Student Administration has registered your grade. Then the petition will get the status "Approved" or "External courses approved".

Approval of the BoEx does not automatically grant you admission into a course, you must always register for the course and examination in uSis as well.

After completing the elective course, it is the student's responsibility to provide the Media Technology education coordinator with certified transcript of the grade. Typically, this is a signed/stamped document 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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