Leiden University

Leiden, Netherlands

No. Students: 19,000 (1,900 int'l)* No. of Academic staff: 1,350
Funding type: Public
Listed programmes:
Type of education:

*: Approximate

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Why should I study here?

Discover the top reasons for why you should consider coming to Leiden University

Leiden is one of the most broad-based universities in the Netherlands, offering over 120 bachelors and masters programmes with some 200 specializations. In addition, there is a wide range of other possibilities such as PhD, honours, exchange and summer programmes. But Leiden offers more:

  • International reputation Leiden has established a firm international position among the worlds top research and academic institutes across a wide range of fields. Leiden has close partnerships with other prominent universities worldwide (such as Oxford, Paris and Munich) through alliances such as the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The University also has agreements with numerous universities throughout the world so as to provide students with many opportunities to do part of their studies abroad.
  • A strong emphasis on the quality of education and research As a student in Leiden, you will be motivated to constantly question the essence of nature, the human mind and the complex interactions between their elements. At masters level, you will be closely involved in the research carried out within your department. Research is also an integral part of all undergraduate education at Leiden.
  • Customized curriculum Besides programme-related subjects, many programmes offer considerable freedom in choosing subjects related to your individual interests and ambitions.
  • Individual attention Especially in the masters phase, teaching is on a small scale. This more individual approach allows you to get the maximum benefit from your masters study.
  • University as integral part of the historic city Leiden University does not have a campus, but the city is its campus. The faculties are all within walking distance of the Central Station. The city has a warm and friendly atmosphere and its canal-lined streets abound with attractive cafés and terraces where you and your fellow students can gather after lectures to continue your discussions in a relaxed social environment.
  • Multicultural and safe city Leiden offers a multicultural living and learning environment, and is a student city where students feel safe and secure.
  • Centrally located in the Randstad, the busy heart of the Netherlands There is an excellent transport system connecting Leiden to other Dutch cities. There are also good rail links with other European destinations such as London and Paris.


Founded in 1575, Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands offering a wide variety of bachelor's, master's and PhD programmes. As reflected by our motto Praesidium Libertatis (Bastion of Liberty), we have always been strongly committed to freedom of spirit, thought and expression. Over the years, this atmosphere of freedom of speech has proved an ideal environment for famous and outstanding scholars such as Descartes, Boerhaave, Einstein and several Nobel Laureates, to develop their theories. Having established a firm international position among the worlds top research universities across a wide range of fields, Leiden University is a member of many prestigious partnerships including the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Coimbra Group and the Europaeum.

The Leiden experience is strongly characterized by our dedication to engage in and contribute to the demands and challenges of todays globalised society. Our research-based education is traditionally innovative and multidisciplinary. Our students are motivated to be curious and to constantly question the essence of nature, the human mind and the complex interactions between their elements. They are offered the chance to develop their own talents and interests through a diverse range of academic opportunities and are encouraged to excel through participation in honours and research programmes.

Being [] one of the most internationalised universities in the world according to the OECD, Leiden brings the world to the classroom: our students are challenged to connect with global issues in the courses they study, to take every advantage of the avenues open to them to heighten their own international understanding, to learn other languages and to explore opportunities for international experience at one of our top partner universities or institutions worldwide.


Leiden University strongly believes that the education it provides benefits directly from the high quality research that is carried out within the University itself. The most recent academic insights are immediately integrated into the courses. The quality of our research and education is independently acknowledged by several external organizations.

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

All bachelor's and masters programmes at Leiden University have been recognised by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. All programmes have also been approved for government funding with the exception of the four Master of Law Advanced Studies Programmes, the MSc International Relations and Diplomacy and the MSc Vitality and Ageing.

Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders

The NVAO (the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders), has accredited all degree programmes. The NVAO is an independent accreditation organisation that ensures the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders by means of thorough and continuous programme assessment. Apart from its task to guarantee the quality of higher education, NVAO contributes to the advancement of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders.

Code of Conduct

Leiden University subscribes to the Code of Conduct for Dutch Institutions. This Code sets out standards for Dutch higher education institutions in their dealings with international students. By signing the Code of Conduct, Leiden is offering its international students a guarantee of the quality of its programmes, student recruitment, selection and counselling procedures.

International Student Barometer

It is the firm conviction of Leiden University that the quality of research and education is greatly enhanced by the presence of talented international students and scientific staff with international experience. The International Student Barometer (ISB) proves us right. The results from Summer 2011 show that Leiden scores overall first in the Netherlands. Leiden has consistently been rated world class on academic aspects such as the quality of our education, our course content and our teachers.


Students in Leiden can rely on personal attention and guidance in both their academic and their personal life. The University provides a wide range of services including student advice and counselling, information services, sports and cultural activities.
The University has one central library, and many faculties and departments also have their own dedicated libraries. Computer rooms are available at the faculties, the University Library and Plexus Student Centre. Students can also bring their own laptop to university throughout which wireless internet is available. Furthermore, the University offers a sports centre, a language centre, a student careers centre, and many other amenities.

As a student of Leiden University, you will also have access to various support services specially designed to assist students. Some of these services, such as the International Student Adviser, offer support particularly aimed at international students. At the faculties, you can, for example, receive support from co-ordinators and study advisers. Special assistance is also offered for students with a disability.

Student life

Life in Leiden is greatly influenced by the relatively large number of students, as most of them both live and study in the historic city of Leiden. Leiden University does not have a campus, but the city is its campus. You will almost always run into someone you know when you go shopping or when you go out at night. Since Leiden is a small city, all the university buildings are within walking or cycling distance. Given the city's safe environment and friendly atmosphere, students generally feel at home here very quickly.

In addition, the wide range of student associations and organisations all enrich the vibrant student culture of both the university and the city. Regardless of whether youre looking to enrich your study experience, to participate in competitive sports or to simply have a good time, youll have no trouble finding a student association that suits you. You will be introduced to everything that the university and the city have to offer during the introduction programme for new international students, organised by the University prior to the first and second semester. The programme consists of a general introduction to the University and the faculties, the city of Leiden and the student organisations.

Leiden is not only a true university town, but also a beautiful and historic city with many 17th century buildings; its picturesque city centre is criss-crossed with boat-lined canals, bordered by red brick streets. At the same time, it is also a modern cultural and business centre offering all the amenities you need to make your stay here both enjoyable and memorable. The city has twelve museums, a wide range of shops, delightful cafés and international restaurants, several cinemas and much more.

Furthermore Leiden is located only eight miles inland from the North Sea coast, within easy distance of the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. The Hague can be reached by train in 12 minutes, Schiphol Airport in 20 minutes and Amsterdam in 45 minutes. Cities such as Brussels, Paris, London and Berlin are just a couple of hours away.

Master's Programmes at Leiden University

Search these programmes »

We also list Bachelor's Programmes .

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Faculty of Science

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