Language of instruction

The language of instruction of almost all master's programmes is English. The primary language of instruction of the Bachelor's programmes is Dutch.

Leiden University’s programmes are characterised by their focus on a specific discipline and a strong interaction between education and research. This applies both to the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. Leiden University offers both one and two-year master’s by coursework programmes, as well as two-year research master's. The highest degree to be awarded is the Doctorate or PhD.


Master’s programmes at Leiden University have been accredited by the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie (Dutch Flemish Accreditation Organisation). Most of these programmes also receive Dutch Government funding.

For details: Master's Programmes in Leiden

Please note: The Ministry of Education does not make any financial contribution to the four English taught Master of Laws: Avanced Studies programme or the MA in International Relations and Diplomacy, which means that Dutch/EEA students also have to pay a higher tuition fee (full cost). It is not possible to obtain “Studiefinanciering” (study grant made available by the Ministry of Education) for these programmes.

Dutch Educational System

The Netherlands has two main types of regular higher education:

  • Universities
  • Universities of professional education

The universities focus on the independent practice of research-oriented work in an academic or professional setting. The universities of professional education are more practically-oriented, preparing students directly for specific careers. A smaller branch of education is provided by International Education Institutes, which offer programmes designed especially for foreign students. The VWO secondary school diploma qualifies students for admission to a research university Grades & Credits The Dutch grading system runs from 1 (very poor) to 10. The lowest pass grade is 6, while grades 9 and 10 are rarely given. 10 excellent (flawless; 100%), 9 very good, 8 good, 7 satisfactory, 6 pass , 5 to 1 fail.

The course load is given in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credit points. 1 ECTS equals 28 hours of study. This includes preparing for and attending classes, reading books, writing papers, studying for tests and exams etc. In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of a year of study. Normally, 30 credits are given for a semester and 20 credits for a term.