Welcome to Leiden University
You are about to start your studies at Leiden University. Make sure you are well prepared and get your studies off to a good start. Find out what you need to know and arrange by clicking on your faculty or study programme tab.
Your time as a student at Leiden University will soon begin. Read here what you need to do to find your way quickly and prepare optimally.
What to arrange before your studies begin
Please make sure you complete your application as soon as possible, by submitting all the necessary documents and following all the required steps.
Your registration is complete you have
- been admitted to the programme;
- registered in Studielink for the programme (please check in Studielink whether you have completed all necessary steps); and
- have paid the tuition fee.
For questions about the status of your application and the deadlines for handing in the required documents (such as your diploma) you can contact the Student Affairs Front Office (via the contact form or via +31 (0)71 527 8011).
As an international student, you will need to take care of a number of practical matters before and after arriving in the Netherlands:
- check if and how you should request visa or a residence permit;
- arrange housing;
- insurances and health care;
- open a Dutch bank account;
- make an appointment to register yourself with your new municipality.
Please inform yourself about these and other steps:
As a student of Leiden University you’ll receive a student account (ULCN account). This gives you access to the university’s systems and work stations. You'll first need to activate your ULCN account.
Your LU card is your university ID card. It gives you access to a range of facilities. Make sure to request your LU card before starting your studies.
Get to know your fellow students, discover your city
OWL (Leiden) and HOP (The Hague)
For students who are new to the Netherlands and/or would like to learn more about studying in Leiden and who would like to get to know their fellow students, Leiden University organizes the OWL (Orientation Week Leiden). Students are provided with practical information about both the university and the city of Leiden. OWL takes place at the end of August
› orientationweek.org (Leiden)
For the programmes that are offered in The Hague, Leiden University organizes The Hague Orientation Programme (HOP; in August only).
› hopweek.org (The Hague)
Pre-registration for both OWL and HOP is required.
Plan your classes
You will kick off your programme with a welcome/information session. This will be held in the first week of the semester. You will be notified as to the exact date and location by e-mail in the last week of August (if you start in September) or in the last week of January (if you start in February).
Please see your Prospectus for the most recent information.
Officially, the academic year starts in September and ends in August. The academic year is divided into two semesters. Each semester has two blocks (duration: 8 weeks)
There are no holidays inbetween blocks. Yet, The university is closed during the Christmas break from 25 December till 1 January. January is a lecture free period and there are no classes.
If you want to plan ahead in further detail and familiarise yourself with holidays, compulsory closures, etcetera, please consult the academic calendar.
You can find all course information in the Prospectus, your online study guide. It contains a description of the content, methods of instruction, and course materials of each course:
- Political Science: International Organisation (The Hague)
- Political Science: Nederlandse Politiek (Leiden)
- Political Science: International Politics (Leiden)
- Political Science: Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Development (Leiden)
- Political Science: Democracy and Representation (Leiden)
- Political Science: Political Legitimacy and Justice (Leiden)
Institute of Political Science
The Institute of Political Science is located both in Leiden and in The Hague:
- The Leiden offices are situated on the 5th floor of the Pieter de la Court Building (Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, Netherlands).
- In The Hague, your will find us on the 6th floor of the Wijnhaven Building (Turfmarkt 99, 2511 DP The Hague, Netherlands).
Some classes, lectures and other activities may take place at other locations of Leiden University.
For an overview of all Leiden University locations, see
Make sure you know where you have to be and when on your first day.
Please be advised that you
- have to register in advance for the courses (and exams) you want/need to take and that
- there are strict deadlines for enrollment.
Make sure to familiarise yourself with the guidelines on this page:
Most students bring their preferred notebooks, laptops and other devices to take notes during the classes. The University does not require or prefer certain brands or models. The university has facilities to charge your devices; please make sure you have the right adapter for the Dutch electricity system. In the Netherlands the power plugs and sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Students can purchase educational software at a discount via SURFspot (with a student discount).
Support and advice
Your study adviser gives advice about study planning and progress. In case of personal, medical or family circumstances students can talk to their study adviser to discuss the situation, the need for professional help, the consequences for their study progress, and the possible options for minimizing study delay.
Course and exam registration and other practical, administrative matters are being taken care of by the Student Services Centre (SSC).
During your time as a student you will probably face a variety of challenges. Both in terms of studying and personal development, you might need a little help from time to time. Find out how you can boost your wellbeing and who you can turn to for support. Read more about wellbeing
Leiden University offers support to students with a disability. Learn more about the facilities and arrangements:
Get to know key facilities
Here, on the student website, you can find a wide range of practical information about your studies. By selecting your programme when logging in, you can view information that is relevant to you. Find out how to get the most out of the student website
The above link takes you to a page which informs you about how to use the student site in general. Below, we provide a few more guidelines specifically for Political Science master students.
Navigating to the student site and picking your language:
URL Leiden University: www.universiteitleiden.nl
Choose English via the button on the right top of the page. Please note that programme-specific information for this programme is only offered in English.
Click on ‘Students’ in the horizontal menu on the left upper corner of the page.
Select your programme:
In the pop-up window that appears, type/select: ‘Political Science (MSc)’.
Please note that there are no sections or entries for the different master’s specialisations in Political Science. All information on the student website is to be accessed using the ‘umbrella’ programme mentioned above.
Once you have entered the student site, you can switch to your programme from within every page. Use the selector to the right of the dropdown menu.
Your student card is your proof of registration as a student of Leiden University. The student card is a digital card and can be found in the University Leiden app after activation.
All the details of your studies are recorded in uSis. From your first registration as a student until your graduation.
Brightspace is Leiden University’s online learning environment.
As a student of Leiden University you will be issued with a university email address: uMail. All correspondence from the university will be sent to this address. You can set up your uMail account so that all mails will be forwarded to your own email address.
The indispensable app for Leiden University students. Here you can find all your personal study information in one place. Log in once and access your schedule, results, available computers and university news anytime and anyplace.
Get more out of your student days
SPIL is the study association for Political Science students at Leiden University. SPIL was founded in 1981 and has since grown to be one of the university’s largest study associations, with more than a thousand members. For a nominal annual membership fee, SPIL offers its members a wide range of benefits.
As a student of Leiden University, you have access to a wide range of affordable sports via the University Sport Centre (USC) in Leiden and The Hague.
The Programme Committees advise the Institute and faculty councils about everything that concerns education. Furthermore, these committees actively contribute to quality assurance of the Institute’s bachelor’s and master’s programmes. Both staff and students are represented in the Programme Committees. Student members are elected annually (in October, just after the start of the programme) for a one-year term.
The Programme Board organises the Insitute of Political Science’s educational programmes. It also advises and consults other university agencies about the content and set-up of programmes. The Programme Board consists of the Institute’s scientific director(s), the programme director(s) and a student. The student member, usually a second or third-year bachelor student, is appointed for a one-year term, after an open application procedure.
The University Council is a democratically elected participation body in which students and staff of the University are represented. The Council follows the decisions of the Executive Board critically, issues solicited or unsolicited advice and has a say in important decisions by the Board. This often concerns topics that directly affect students and employees, such as quality of education, new buildings or sustainability.
After the University Council, the Faculty Council is the second highest staff and student body at the University. It acts as an intermediary between the various departments of a faculty. The Faculty Council has the right to approve and advise on various matters concerning the faculty. It also represents students and staff and is a sounding board for the Faculty Board.