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About Netherlands
Country Handbook

Leiden University

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Leiden is a small town: all university buildings are within walking or cycling distance. Because of the safe environment and the individual approach, students tend to feel at home fairly quickly. The surroundings of Leiden offer a wide range of recreational possibilities. The North Sea with its scenic beaches and dunes is eight miles to the west of Leiden. Behind the dunes are holiday resorts which bustle with life during the summer; many of them are below sea level. To the northeast of Leiden are large lakes, which are excellent for sailing, windsurfing, rowing, and, sometimes, when it is cold enough, for ice-skating.

ISEP Exchanges: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester
ISEP Direct: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.
ISEP-Direct site for students from all member institutions.

Chance of Placement
Chance of placement for US students is generally good.
Chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally good.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Chance of Placement on ISEP Direct is excellent assuming students meet general entry requirements.

Program Dates
Academic year: late August to June
Semester 1: late August to mid-January
Semester 2: late January to June

Information about ISEP Direct fees and deadlines.

The ISEP-Direct program fee includes the benefit package for: Tuition and Insurance

ISEP-Direct Program fees:
Full Year 16-17: $21,500
Semester 1 16-17: $11,750
Semester 2 16-17: $11,750

For priority consideration, applications for the following semester should be received before February 15 and September 1 unless otherwise noted. Rolling admissions are considered for ISEP-Direct before these final application deadlines:
SM1: March 15, 2016
SM2: October 1, 2016

Fast Facts
Leiden, Netherlands (pop. 117,000)
Student Enrollment: 17,000
Language of instruction: Dutch, English
University Home Page
Course Tips for Exchange Students

ISEP Exchange and ISEP Direct:
Arts (African languages & cultures, Arabic, archaeology, art history, Chinese, Dutch, Dutch studies, Egyptian, English, French, German, history, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin American languages & cultures, linguistics, modern Persian, philology, Slavonic, Semitic, Soviet studies, Turkish); Interdisciplinary Programs (African studies, American studies, biotechnology, environmental studies, ethnic minorities, German studies, history of European expansion, international studies, lexicology, medieval studies & ancient cultures, management of arts & cultural activities, museology, performing arts); Law (administrative, Antillian, criminal, Dutch civil, East European, fiscal, foreign & comparative, human rights, international & European Community, political science); Mathematics and Natural Sciences (astronomy, biology, biopharmaceutical chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics); Philosophy; Archaeology (prehistoric, Native American); Social Sciences (cultural anthropology & social studies, educational & pedagogical sciences, political science, psychology, public administration); Theology (comparative study of religions, history of the church, history of religions, Islamic studies, New Testament, Old Testament, philosophy of religion, psychology & sociology of religion).

Courses taught in English
Leiden offers approximately 150 courses taught in English at the undergraduate level; all graduate courses are taught in English. Interdisciplinary courses are offered in the departments of Biomedical Sciences, Linguistics, Nano Science, Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology, History, Political Sciences, Psychology, English and American Literature and Studies, Dutch Studies, Middle East Studies, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Law.

Academic Notes
Students can compose their own programs, choosing courses from a large number of electives offered by the various departments. Courses focus on a wide variety of subjects such as Dutch Language, Culture and Government, European Politics and Administration, Law, English Language and Literature, Global Studies, and World Art.

The Department of English has a popular program with different courses that focus on linguistic and literary themes. Examples would include courses on British and Irish urban dialects, history of the English language, English linguistics, English literature 1660-1800, English literature 1800-1900, Eighteenth-century English drama and its translation into Dutch, poetry of the 1930s, James Joyce, India in writing, and colonial and post-colonial literature.

There is a special one-year program in Dutch Studies. The first semester is conducted in English and features intensive Dutch language instruction and art history. The second semester consists of courses in literature, history, culture and society and requires Dutch proficiency.

Students typically enroll in 3-4 classes per term which averages to 6-8 hours in class per week. A term runs for 20 weeks.


Transcripts will be issued in February/March for Semester 1 students and August/September for Semester 2 and Full Year students. To ensure that transcripts are issued in a timely manner, you must follow the instructions that you will receive from your contact person after arrival. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the studentís home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
ISEP Exchange and ISEP Direct:

Language Requirement: All regular courses, except those described under Academic Notes, are taught in Dutch. For courses taught in Dutch, fluency is required.

Language Courses: Dutch language and culture courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year or semester for an additional fee for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

Pre-session: A 3-week pre-session, intensive Dutch language course is offered in the summer and winter for an additional fee. Students can earn 4 Dutch credit points.


ISEP Language Proficiency Report May be substituted for official score? No
TOEFL:90 Ibt/ 575 PBT
Institutional TOEFL accepted?: No
IELTS: 6.5 for most bachelorís programs
Other tests accepted: A Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
English as a Foreign Language courses available? No

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.

Special Academic Conditions
All candidates must have an overall GPA of at least 3.2 (most have significantly higher). Additionally students should be entering their 3rd year at time of application. Most courses are intended for students that have completed basic coursework in their field of study who have completed entry level coursework in their major field prior to exchange (at least 4-5 courses).

Special ISEP Application Instructions
Students will be expected to provide a transcript with a list of courses they are taking in the current semester with the official ISEP application. After being placed by ISEP the student will be notified and asked to complete an internal Leiden application. This does NOT guarantee placement in the program. After Leiden reviews the application the student will be either be confirmed or denied acceptance.

Please note that all participants to the Netherlands from outside the EU must pay a residence permit fee via their host university. As of January 2013, the fee is EUR 300. See Country Handbook for details.

Hints for Researching Courses
Use the Courses link in the Fast Facts box above. Select the appropriate academic year and "Exchange" or "Study Abroad" in the drop down menus. Only courses listed under "Exchange" or "Study Abroad" are available to ISEP students.

Housing and Meals

ISEP Exchange:
Students are housed in single rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens. A stipend for meals and accommodations is provided.

ISEP Direct:
Programs include tuition only; room and meals are not included. Students can expect to pay approximately EUR 350-500 for rent and approximately EUR 200 for meals.

You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: EUR 450 - 600.

Students will be introduced to Leiden University with the help and support of Leiden students after students arrive to campus. Students will be taken on tours of the city and museums while being introduced to sports options and student societies. Includes social and cultural activities as well as joint meals and drinks.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Founded in 1575, Leiden University is known for the high quality of the education and research facilities provided. It is a fully accredited, classical university enrolling over 17,000 students. An increasing number of courses, in various disciplines, are being taught in English, as are all Masterís degree programs. The university library contains a unique collection of old manuscripts and maps, and an elaborate collection of prints and drawings. There is an extensive collection of plants and herbs in the botanical gardens and the national herbarium.

What Past Students have to Say
"Leiden is a beautiful city that offers a highly credited university with a great surrounding. You are able to study and enjoy student life while being a short trip away from larger more prominent cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. It's the perfect city to see the Netherlands and get the most out of your study abroad experience." - Student from Central Michigan University