During your bachelor’s programme
The best time to go abroad is during the elective credits phase of your bachelor’s programme. You are then relatively unrestricted in the courses you can follow. If you obtain advance approval from your Board of Examiners, the credits you earn abroad can generally be counted towards your studies in Leiden.
During your master’s programme
You can also go abroad during your master’s programme, for example to do a research internship or project. If you are doing a two-year master, you should certainly have sufficient time to do so. During a one-year master, it may be a little more difficult.
Going abroad during your master’s programme can be tricky for a number of reasons: not all host universities accept master students and some have strict admission criteria. The application procedure can also be very time consuming. Make sure to start gathering information as early as possible and discuss your plans with your international exchange coordinator well before the application deadline.
Second semester as plan B
Are you planning on going abroad in the first semester? It’s a good idea to also check whether going abroad in the second semester might be an option. 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. Mention in your application that this would be an option for you. Discuss it in advance with your study adviser.
Consult your study programme
Are you unsure when would be the best time for you to study abroad? Discuss it with your study adviser. If you do know when you want to go, you still need to reach agreement with your study programme about how to incorporate a period of study abroad into your programme. You are not permitted to go on exchange without your programme’s approval, so it’s important to discuss your plans well in advance with your study adviser.
You can choose to study abroad either during your bachelor’s or master’s programme.
During your bachelor’s programme
Law students may study abroad for either one semester or a whole year, including the writing of their thesis. Criminology students may study abroad for one semester only. Students who study abroad for one semester usually do so in the second semester of their third year. In this case, they write their thesis before departure, i.e. in the first semester of their third year.
You can request that the credits you earn abroad be counted towards your bachelor programme’s elective credits, or instead have them counted as extra-curricular credits. In some cases, you can replace a Leiden course with a course followed abroad, with advance permission from the coordinator of the Leiden course.
During your Master’s programm
Master’s students may also study and write their thesis abroad. You can request that the credits you earn aboard be counted as extra-curricular credits. Alternatively, you can replace a Leiden course with a course followed abroad, but only with advance permission from the coordinator of the Leiden course in question (max 10 ETCS- see Rules and Regulations, article 4.7.5.
Avoid schedule clashes
When applying to study abroad, check that the start of your studies abroad will not overlap with your Leiden schedule. At some universities abroad the second semester begins in January. If you know that you have to take exams in Leiden in January, select a university where the second semester begins in February.
You can also plan to study abroad just after graduation. If you remain registered as a bachelor’s or master’s student at Leiden University, you can request an additional certificate for the credits you earn abroad from the Law School’s Education Administration department.