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Approval and application

University-wide exchange


If you want to go abroad in autumn 2020 or spring 2021, you can apply until 23:59 on 1 December 2019.

Apply on time

Make sure your application is complete on time. If you submit your application by 20 November, you will receive a message informing you if anything is missing or incorrect before 25 November. This gives you sufficient time to make any changes before the official deadline.


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

Draw up a list of (up to) ten universities where you would like to study, in order of preference. Remember that lots of student want to study abroad and places are limited, so it’s wise to select at least five  universities.

You will need a recent transcript, that meets the following criteria: 

  • It must be an official transcript (not a screenshot from uSis)
  • Your grade point average (GPA) must be shown
  • In English

You can request the transcript from your faculty’s education administration office. Law students can request a transcript from their faculty international exchange coordinator.

Write a letter of motivation, explaining why you want to study at the three universities at the top of your list. There is no standard template for letters of motivation, the content and format are up to you. However your letter must meet the following  criteria:

  • In English
  • Maximum 500 words
  • Word document or pdf

Second semester as plan B

Are you applying for the first semester, but could possibly go abroad in the second semester instead? Mention this in your letter. If you don’t get a place at your preferred university in the first semester, your international exchange coordinator may, in some cases, immediately offer you a place for the second semester. Discuss this with your study adviser in advance.

Complete and submit the online application form, making sure to upload your letter of motivation and transcript.

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.   

If you get through the selection procedure and your programme confirms its approval, you will be offered an exchange place by the international exchange coordinator. You only have a short amount of time to accept or decline the offer.

When accepting the offer, 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.

After accepting the offer, you must apply to the host university. Your international exchange coordinator will explain how.

Exchange via your faculty or study programme

For information on requirements, deadlines and application procedures, take a look under the tab of the faculty or study programme that offers the exchange programme.

Foto: Ruth Kiers
Foto: Ruth Kiers

Application for courses

Step 1

Complete the Study Abroad orientation form and send this to the Science International Office: outgoing@science.leidenuniv.nl, at least 2 weeks before the online exchange application deadline. Upon request, you can make an appointment with Gloria Schildwacht to discuss your plans.

Online exchange application deadlines 2020-2021 

Outside Europe
Fall and/or Spring semester: 1 December 2019

Inside Europe
Fall semester: 1 February 2020
Spring semester: 15 September 2020

Step 2

Submit your application before the deadline via the online exchange application system. In your online application, you can apply for max. 5 different partner universities.

In the section ‘additional required documents’ you need to upload:

  • Your latest transcript of records.
  • One motivation letter in which you explain your motivation for each university of your choice.
  • An overview of courses that you would like to follow abroad (a provisional study plan) for each university of your choice. This is not a final study plan, you can still change your courses later.
  • If applicable, a proof of suffient knowledge of the offical language of instruction at the exchange university.

The selection for the available places at each partner university will be based on students’ performance and the application package.

Step 3

After the selection, you can ask permission of the Board of Examiners for your study plan via your study advisor. Make sure to send a copy of the permission of the Board of Examiners to the Science International Office.

Step 4

The Science International Office (inside Europe) or the Central International Office - SEA (outside Europe) will send your nomination to the partner university. After your nomination, you can start with the exchange application procedure of your exchange university (make sure to check their deadlines!).

Application for a research project or internship

See the page Internships, research and fieldwork abroad.

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