Leiden University in the Netherlands

Is Leiden University good?

Leiden University is a public research university, and the oldest in the Netherlands.

It has always had a reputation for tolerance, welcoming new ideas and debate, and for acting as a magnet to thinkers and artists who were looking for refuge and inspiration.

Descartes, Rembrandt, Huygens, Grotius and Spinoza all found a physical and intellectual home in Leiden during the Dutch Golden Age, and by the 17th century, Leiden’s scholars had a Europe-wide reputation and students flocked there from all over the continent.The university motto, “Bastion of Freedom”, sums up its history since its original founder, William of Orange, rewarded the town by establishing a university, for its efforts fighting off the Spanish threat.

University of Leiden rankings and organisation

The Leiden University has seven faculties, 50 departments and 50 research and graduate schools and institutes. The 2023 QS ranked Leiden in its top 50 for the following subjects:

  • classics and ancient history
  • politics
  • archaeology
  • anthropology
  • history
  • pharmacology
  • law
  • public policy
  • public administration
  • religious studies
  • arts and humanities
  • linguistics
  • modern languages
  • sociology

Overall, the University of Leiden consistently ranks in the global top 100 universities, and has 29,000 students. Apart from its campus and departments in Leiden itself, University College Leiden is located in the Hague and specialises in liberal arts and sciences, while international studies and the faculty of governance and global affairs are also situated on the Hague campus.

Does the University of Leiden offer accommodation?

Like most Dutch universities, the Leiden University does not own accommodation, although it has a small number of rooms reserved with housing associations which early applicants can apply to rent. The exception is University College, the Hague, where all students live on campus for the first two years. Students tend to rent rooms, house or flat-shares through private landlords or housing associations.

Does the University of Leiden offer courses taught in English?

Yes, you can apply to one of the following undergraduate courses taught in English:

  • Arts, media and society
  • Cultural anthropology and development sociology
  • Dutch studies
  • English language and culture
  • Heritage and society
  • International relations and organisations
  • International studies
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Security studies
  • South and Southeast Asian studies

This list may well change, so contact Elab for up to date information on courses which have now been added and are taught in English.

NB: Applicants for Master’s degrees are spoilt for choice at the University of Leiden, which offers 250 courses, taught in English.

What are the entry requirements for the University of Leiden?

You will need to apply through the Dutch Studielink portal and upload documents online. You will be asked for:

  • transcripts of your reports
  • a CV
  • a copy of your passport
  • references
  • proof of English proficiency – IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency are all accepted. You need a score of 6-7.5 in IELTS; 80-113 in TOEFL and 169-191 for the Cambridge exams.

there may be additional requirements, depending on the course for which you are applying, so check on the university website or contact Elab Education Laboratory for more information.

When are the application deadlines for the University of Leiden?

Undergraduates only have one intake and the deadline is 1 April.

Applicants for a postgraduate course have two intakes to choose from, with deadlines of 1 April and 15 October.

You will need to pay 100 euros, when you submit your application.

Is Leiden an attractive city?

Leiden is situated about half an hour away from Amsterdam in south Holland and is a delightful and attractive place to live in while you are studying. Leiden is known for its 28 kilometres of canals, for being the birthplace of Rembrandt and for its historical architecture, windmills and 2,800 monuments. As a result, there is always something to visit or see, not least its renowned  Botanical Garden, which was founded  over 400 years ago and contains a carnivorous plants section in the Winter Garden, a Japanese garden and a splendid Orangery. Moreover, known as the City of Keys, Leiden is a short bike ride away from the seaside at Katwijk and Noorwijk, where you can relax over the summer months.

Appropriately enough, the city hosts a famous Tulip Parade once a year, since Leiden introduced tulips to Europe, and the extremely popular TAPT festival, where you can try speciality beers while listening to music. You can wander around the Old Castle, go to the twice-weekly street market or buy a ticket for a leisurely riverboat cruise, or a steam train ride. You will never be bored in Leiden and if you crave fast-paced nightlife and a grittier atmosphere you can be in Amsterdam in virtually the blink of an eye – 33 minutes later and 10 euros poorer!

I want to apply to the University of Leiden, what shall I do next?

Get in touch with us here at Elab, so we can go through all your options and check that you have the necessary documentation to put in an outstanding application to the excellent University of Leiden. What is more, we can provide you with information on a whole range of practical matters, from visas to mobile phones, transport links to the cost of living and studying in the Netherlands, and give you support and guidance when you come to fill out your application to Leiden University.

Call or email us. In short, we are here to help.

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