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Approval and application

First check your exchange programme type!

Different deadlines and procedures apply depending on whether you want to apply for destinations via a university-wide exchange programme, via a faculty exchange programme, or (if applicable) via a special exchange programme only for students on your study programme. 

  • For destinations via a university-wide exchange programme: follow the instructions and deadlines here below on the general tab.
  • For destinations via a faculty exchange programmes, or via a special exchange programme only for students on your study programme: click on your faculty or study programme tab and follow the instructions and deadlines there. 

University-wide exchange


If you want to go abroad via a university-wide exchange programme in autumn 2024 or spring 2025, you can apply until 23:59 on 1 December 2023.

Note that different deadlines apply if you are going abroad via a faculty or study programme-specific exchange programme. See your faculty or study programme tab for details.

Apply on time

Make sure your application is complete on time. Late applications will not be considered.


To apply for a university-wide exchange programme, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are registered as a student of Leiden University;
  • You have obtained at least 60EC of your bachelor’s programme;
  • Your average grade is 7 or higher*;
  • You meet any additional requirements specified by your faculty or programme (these can be found under your faculty or programme tab).

*Exception: for the ISEP programme an average grade of 6.5 or higher is required.

Steps to take

After looking through all the options in the world map, draw up a list of (up to) ten universities where you would like to study, in order of preference. Remember that lots of students want to study abroad and places are limited, so it’s wise to select at least five universities.

Letter of motivation

Download the motivation letter template, complete it (200 to 300 words per selected university) and upload it in uSis:

Second semester as plan B

Are you applying for the first semester but could also go abroad in the second semester (or vice versa)? Mention this in your letter by ticking the checkbox with the text 'Yes, I wish to be considered for a different semester if I am not selected for my first choice of semester.' Please note that it is important to discuss this with your study adviser in advance to make sure your study programme permits exchange in the second semester.

Transcript: only for master, LUC & joint degree students, and university studies elsewhere 

In your online application you will be asked to grant us permission to view your grades in uSis. You therefore do not need to upload a transcript except in the following cases:  

  • Master's student: if you are master's student, upload a copy of your (Leiden or other university) bachelor transcript with GPA.
  • Leiden University College (LUC): if you are, or have been, studying at LUC, request an official transcript with GPA from the LUC course administration and upload it in your application.
  • Joint degree: if you are following a joint degree at Leiden University and TU Delft, request an official TU Delft transcript with GPA and upload it in your application.
  • University studies elsewhere: if you have also studied at a university other than Leiden University, upload your transcript with GPA from that institution. 
  • Log into uSis > click on the study abroad tile > select ‘I want to study at a partner university via an exchange programme’.
  • Enter the requested data and upload the required documents.
  • Select your (max. 10) exchange destinations* in order of preference.
  • Submit your application.

*Want to go abroad via the ISEP programme? Select ISEP as one of your exchange destinations in uSis.

If you need further explanation, consult the Manual on applying for university-wide exchange via uSis

You may only go on exchange with the approval of your study programme. Once you submit your application, the international exchange coordinator will ask your programme to confirm its approval.   

Note that the selection procedure has changed! See explanation below.
For further details and background, see University-wide exchange - Multi-stage draw

Once your programme confirms its approval, we will check you meet the eligibility requirements. We will also review your letter of motivation to make sure your study abroad plans are realistic and achievable and your choice of universities is well considered. If we have serious doubts, we may contact you to discuss your plans. 

You will then be included in the selection process. For university-wide exchange, selection takes place via a multi-stage draw.

Multi-stage draw

  1. If there are sufficient places available for all applicants at your first choice of destination, you will be placed there.
  2. If there are insufficient places, you will be included in a group according to your current GPA: 
    • Group A: GPA 8.51 – 10.00
    • Group B: GPA 8.00 – 8.50
    • Group C: GPA 7.51 – 7.99
    • Group D: GPA 7.00 – 7.50
    • Group E: GPA 6.50 – 6.99 (ISEP applicants only)
  3. Students in group A will be allocated a random ranking number via an automated programme.
  4. Starting with ranking number one, we will check if we can place the student at their first choice of destination. If not, we will try to place them at their second choice, then their third and so on. The same will be done for all students in group A in order of ranking number.
  5. We will then repeat the same process for groups B through to E, in that order.

If you are offered a place, you will be invited to log into the study abroad portal to view the details of the offered place. Make sure to read all the information and conditions of the offer carefully.

In the unfortunate event you cannot be placed at any of your chosen destinations, you will be invited to take part in a second selection round for the remaining available places. 

If you have been offered a place, you must accept or decline it within 7 days in the uSis study abroad portal. If you do not accept the offer on time, it will be withdrawn. When accepting your place, you must agree to the Regulations on Studying Abroad. Be prepared and read these in advance. If you have any questions about the regulations, contact your international exchange coordinator.

Once you accept your place, Leiden University will nominate you to your host institution. You will then receive instructions on how and when to submit your application to your host institution, either from your international exchange coordinator or directly from the host itself. 

Foto: Ruth Kiers
Photo: Ruth Kiers
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