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Exemptions and petitions

Do you want to request a change to the academic requirements set by your study programme? Perhaps you want to be exempted from a particular course, because you think you have already acquired the knowledge elsewhere. Or do you want academic credits earned at another institution to be counted towards your studies in Leiden? If so you can submit a special request, known as a petition.

Speak to your study adviser or study coordinator about how to request an exemption or submit a petition of another nature. In most cases petitions must be submitted via uSis. However check first under the faculty or study programme tab whether any special procedures are in place.

The final decision on your petition will be made by your institute’s Board  of Examiners.

Petitions in uSis

In most cases, if you want to request a change to your academic requirements you can submit a petition via uSis. For example if you want to be exempted from certain academic requirements, have study credits earned abroad recognised as part of your Leiden studies, or receive a different amount of credits for part of your curriculum. There are five types of petition:  

  • Exemption
    Use this kind of petition if you want to request exemption from a particular part of your study programme. Sufficient materials must be submitted to support your request.
  • Different amount of study credits
    Use this kind of petition if you want to request an amount of study credits for an element of your study programme that differs from the amount stated in the prospectus. Sufficient materials must be submitted to support your request. If the study element does not have a pre-specified number of study credits there is no need to submit a petition. Instead you should make arrangements directly with your study programme.
  • Extra-curricular course
    Use this type of petition if you want to have an academic element from Leiden University’s prospectus included as one of your extra-curricular study elements.
  • Replacement
    Use this type of petition if you want to replace an element of your study programme with another element from Leiden University's prospectus. This type of petition can be used, for example, for electives courses.
  • External education
    Use this type of petition if you have taken a course at an institution other than Leiden University, and want it to count towards your study programme in Leiden. This type of petition could be used, for example, for elective credits or extra-curricular courses followed elsewhere. Petitions of this nature are always provisionally approved, then definitively evaluated upon receipt of documentary evidence.

You must submit a petition as soon as you realise that you want to change your academic requirements, which means as quickly as possible and preferably before you follow the academic element in question. For information relevant to your particular situation please contact your programme’s education administration office.

No petitions on top of petitions

Once you have submitted a petition you cannot submit another one for the same academic element, irrespective of the status of the petition. If you change your mind, or realise you have submitted the wrong type of petition, you must first withdraw the petition before you can submit a new one for that particular academic element.

Withdrawing a petition

To withdraw a petition you must send an email to the education administration office of your study programme with the subject ‘withdrawal of petition number xxx’, with xxx being the petition number as stated in the confirmation email you received. Make sure to state your student number in your email and the reason for withdrawing your petition. Await confirmation that your petition has been withdrawn before taking further action.

Supporting materials

All petitions must be clearly but briefly substantiated. In addition, petitions for exemptions, different amounts of study credits and external education, must also be accompanied by supporting materials. When requesting an exemption, your supporting materials must be submitted at the same time as your petition. For petitions concerning different amounts of study credits or external education, your supporting materials (usually a transcript of grades) can be submitted after the academic element in question. Make sure to submit the materials as soon as you can. If you wait too long you run the risk that your results will no longer be counted towards your academic requirements. The required documentation can vary from programme to programme, so always check with your programme administration what you need to submit, when, and in what format (hard copy or digital) well in advance.

Appeals

If you do not agree with the outcome of your petition you can formally appeal against the decision. You can do so by sending a letter to the Examination Appeals Board within six weeks of the date of issue of the decision in question. In this letter, your formal appeal, state why you disagree with the decision. Make sure to include supporting materials and examples.

Individual requests to the Board of Examiners

The Board of Examiners processes individual requests from students regarding their studies. Students should approach  the Board of Examiners with their request in writing.

We distinguish between two types of requests for the Board of Examiners :

1. Individual queries from students for the Board of Examiners concerning their programme of study or other questions relating to the Regulations for Teaching and Examinations and/or the Rules & Regulations: students approach the Board of Examiners through the requests from.

2. Students that the Board of Examiners receives in the form of appeals sent via the uSis programme, on which the board must reach a decision: students submit appeals through uSis.

Each of the two types of request entails a different procedure for students. These procedures are described below.

- All correspondence regarding submitted requests can only be made exclusively by mail.
- Terms within which the decision must be reached in different situations are described in the Rules and Regulations. In certain periods the board will reserve the right to exceed this limit. Students will be noticed when possible.  
- This term will start when all queries and/or accompanying documentation is/are received by the board.

1. Individual queries from students for the Examination Committee

For individual request to the Board of Examiners the following rules and procedures are applicable:

Request Form Board of Examiners

2. Submitting an appeal through uSis

The Board of Examiners must issue a decision on some matters it receives in the form of appeals that students need to submit using uSis (see uSis FAQ). These concern requests for exemption or substitution. Leiden University has five different types of appeals, each of which (see appeals explained) applies in a specific situation:

1. You should submit an appeal for Exemption if you want to ask to be exempted from a particular compulsory course in your study programme. You can do this if you want to substitute a course in the Public Administration curriculum with an equivalent course you have taken at another university or institution. You will need to supply supporting documentation for this.

As soon as you have submitted your appeal in uSis, an automatically generated message will be sent to your "u-mail" university e-mail address (so make sure that this address works!) in which you are asked to submit supporting documentation. Supporting documentation cannot be sent together with the appeal in uSis and therefore has to be sent separately – in hard copy (not by e-mail) to the administrative secretary of the Board of Examiners (see above).

The following documentation should be provided for an appeal for Exemption:

- A certified transcript, which must be an original, not a copy. If you only have one original, you can bring it in person to the Public Administration teaching service desk. There a copy will be made and stamped so that you can keep the original.

Note: Original documents sent to the Board of Examiners remain the boards property and will not be removed from the archives.
- A description of the relevant courses from the course catalogue of the institution where you took them.

Note: The Board of Examiners will only consider print-outs from the complete original course catalogue descriptions, not text copied into a Word document. Course descriptions should be as detailed as possible. In all cases, the following should be clear: what the number of ECTS units is, what reading materials were used, the course content and when the course was taken. In general, the more specific the information provided, the better and faster the Board of Examiners can make a decision.

Note: Course descriptions used for appeals for exemption must be from the same year that the course was taken.

Note: Supporting documentation sent to the Board of Examiners in connection with this type of appeal should be marked with the uSis appeal number.

2. You should submit an appeal for Exceptional Number of Units if you want to have a different number of units for a particular required course in the programme of study than the number listed in the course catalogue. You will need to supply supporting documentation for this.

3. You should submit an Extracurricular Course appeal if there is a course in the Leiden University course catalogue that you have taken during the course of your current programme of study and that you would like to have applied as extracurricular coursework. That means that you want to add courses and their associated units over and above the minimum number of units required for your degree. To do this, you should submit the appeal under the "dummy programme component" listed in your programme requirements under the heading "Extracurricular". Extracurricular courses only appear on the diploma supplement, not on the list of courses found on the diploma.

Note: If you have courses at institutions other than Leiden University that you would like to have applied as extracurricular courses, you should submit an appeal for External Coursework (see below).

Note: A bachelor-level course cannot be listed on your master's diploma supplement.

4. You should submit an appeal for Substitution to have other courses or a minor taken within Leiden University applied to your electives. See: elective courses

Note: If you want to substitute a required course with coursework at an institution other than Leiden University, you should submit a appeal for External Coursework (see below).

5. You should submit an appeal for External Coursework if you want to substitute a particular required course with coursework completed at an institution other than Leiden University. For example, you can do this to satisfy your electives of for extracurricular courses that you are taking or have already taken somewhere other than at Leiden University. You will need to provide supporting documentation for this.
As soon as you have submitted your appeal in uSis, an automatically generated message will be sent to your "u-mail" university e-mail address (so make sure that this address works!) in which you are asked to submit supporting documentation. Supporting documentation cannot be sent together with the appeal in uSis and should thus be sent separately – in hard copy (not by e-mail) to the administrative secretary of the Board of Examiners (see above).

The following documentation should be provided for an appeal for External Coursework:
- A description of the relevant courses from the course catalogue of the institution where you took them.

Note: The Board of Examiners will only consider print-outs from the original course catalogue descriptions, not text copied into a Word document. Course descriptions should be as detailed as possible. In all cases, the following should be clear: what the number of ECTS units is, what reading materials were used, the course content and when the course was taken.

Note: An appeal for External Coursework is usually first approved on a provisional basis on the basis of the documentation provided. A final decision on the request is only given after documentation is provided on the courses actually completed. This is relevant, for example, when students have indicated beforehand what courses they want to take but end up deciding to do something else.

Note: Supporting documentation sent to the Board of Examiners in connection with this type of appeal should be marked with the uSis appeal number.

Communication with regard to appeals

As soon as you have submitted an appeal in uSis, an automatically generated message is sent to your "u-mail" university e-mail address (so make sure that this address works!). You will receive messages in the following situations:

• When you have submitted an appeal ("confirmation of receipt"). Your appeal has then been assigned a reference number ("appeal number") and you will be informed as to whether you need to provide supporting documentation.
• When your department has not yet received the necessary supporting documentation.
• When your department has approved your appeal.
• When your department has rejected your appeal.
• When your department's teaching administrator has withdrawn your appeal. (A teaching administrator will only withdraw an appeal on the student's request. So, such a message will never come unexpectedly.)
• Possibly, in the case of an appeal for External Coursework: When your external coursework has been provisionally approved.
You can check the status of your appeal in uSis.

Once again:

Automatically generated e-mails in connection with appeals are sent to student's "u-mail" university e-mail address. Make sure that this address works and/or that messages to it are forwarded to another address.

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