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Welcome to Leiden University

Will you soon be joining Leiden University? Here you can find all the information you need to get your studies off to a good start.

Joining a bachelor's or master's programme?

Find out what you need to know and arrange by clicking on your faculty or study programme tab.

Joining an exchange or study-abroad programme?

Find out all you need to know for your semester at Leiden University on the website for international exchange and study abroad students.

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.

Welcome to IRO!

Information on the academic year 2024-2025

This page refers to information in the Prospectus and in MyTimetable. The information for the academic year 2024-2025 is not yet available. It will be available in the Prospectus from 1 June, and on MyTimetable during the summer period.

What to arrange before your studies begin

The last hurdle

It took quite some time and effort, but the fact that you are about to start in the BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations programme means that you have successfully completed the selection and placement procedure. And that you have accepted the place in the programme that you have been offered. Right?

Selection and placement procedure BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations

Current status selection and placement procedure

Please make sure you complete your application as soon as possible, by submitting all the necessary documents and following all the required steps to ensure you will receive an unconditional offer.

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:

› Prepare your stay at Leiden University

ULCN account

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.

Read more about ULCN accounts

LU card

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.

Read more about the LU card

Get to know your fellow students, discover The Hague


The Hague Orientation Programme (HOP week) gives all first year students of Leiden University in the Hague the chance to get to know one another, the university and the city. We strongly encourage you to attend the HOP Week from Monday 19 up to and including Friday 23 August 2024.

Registration beforehand is mandatory. You can register here: hopweek.org.


Study association SPIL will organise a Freshmen Weekend in the month of August.


CIROS, the community of IRO students, will organise a sparkling programme full of activities during the IROC month in September. Information about the activities will be available on their website.

Plan your classes

IRO Orientation Day

You are expected to attend the IRO Orientation Day on 29 Augsut 2024. You will meet your professors, instructors and study advisers. After a plenary session you will meet your peer mentor and your peer group for specific information about the systems you will be using, your u-mail, arrangements of books and your schedule.

Further information TBA.

Check the Timetable page for an overview of the coming academic year and information about MyTimeTable, Leiden University’s scheduling app.

BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations, Timetable

Students in classroom, Wijnhaven building The Hague
Infographic: IRO Programme Structure Year 1

2 semesters, 4 blocks

  • The academic year runs from September to July and is divided into two semesters.
  • Each semester has two blocks, so there are four blocks in total.
  • Each block has 8 weeks; 7 weeks of lectures and workgroups (the last week of each block is exam week).
  • There are no holidays within a semester.


  • After the first semester, during the month of January, there is a ‘Winter break’, during which there are no programme activities (with the exception of resits, see below).
  • The same goes for the ‘Summer break’, which is after the second semester, from July to September.


  • The last week of each block is exam week.
  • For each exam there is one resit scheduled.
  • Resits for exams taken in the first semester take place during the January reces;
  • Resits of exams taken in the second semester take place in June, at the start of the Summer reces.


Infographic: IRO Programme Structure Year 2

Semesters, blocks, exams

The second year has the same structure as the first year (two semesters, four blocks of each 7 weeks and 1 one exam week).


In some respects, the second year differs from the first year:

  • The academic skills workgroups span two blocks.
  • In the second semester, you will have to choose between two courses: Contemporary Political Philosophy (block 3) or Rational Choice Theory (block 4).
Infographic: IRO Programme Structure Year 3

The third year is all about choice. It consists of three elements, each of which can be tailored to your interests:

  • an interactive bachelor seminar, which you pick from a broad range of topics;
  • the bachelor project, during which you prepare for and write your thesis and which you also select from a broad range of topics;
  • the elective space, spanning 30 EC, which you design yourself, using one or more of these building blocks:
    • elective courses from other programmes and even universities;
    • a minor, a set of related courses from another bachelor’s programme;
    • a research internship and/or
    • study abroad, via
      • an exchange programme (temporarily enrolling in the study programme of a partner institution), or
      • going abroad independently (selecting the institution and making all arrangments yourself).

The options you chose, and how they are scheduled accross the (academic) calendar at home, the target institution or workplace, determine what your third year looks like in terms of the order of courses, etc. By the time you need to start preparing for the third year, your study adviser will gladly assist you.

Academic calendar

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:

Prospectus BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations

Wijnhaven building

Most of your lectures will be held at the Wijnhaven campus, Leiden University’s largest educational facility in The Hague, a 5 minute walk from The Hague’s central railway station. Want to know where to find it and what it looks like?

Wijnhaven building

360 tour of the Wijnhaven campus (YouTube)



A reading list per course is listed in the Prospectus. Make sure you have the required textbooks before the start of the academic year. Members of the study association SPIL can purchase textbooks discount by mid–August. You are free to purchase your books through other channels (second year IRO students, (online) book shops), but please make sure you buy the correct edition of your books to avoid confusion. Take into account that it may take some time before you will receive your books.


As with books, the required readers for each course are listed in the Prospectus. Readers are ordered via readeronline. We advise you to order as soon as you activate your ULCN account, because it will take at least 2 to 3 days before you actually get them.

Student with reader


Syllabi will be published by your instructors on the Brightspace page of their respective course. Once you are registered for a course in uSis, you are automatically registered for the Brightspace page of that course where you will find your syllabus and other important information.

Register online

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 course and exam enrollment.

Registration is done in the app MyStudymap. The deadlines are listed in the Prospectus.

Course and exam enrollment

Prospectus BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations

Infographic: Binding Study Advice Year 1

The Binding Study Advice (BSA) entails that you need to earn at least 45 out of the 60 study credits at the end of your first year in order to be able to continue in your second year.

In the course of your first year you will be given regular advice on your progress. This advice, although it is not binding, is a good indication of whether or not you are likely to be able to complete your study successfully within the time prescribed. You will receive your first advice half way through the academic year, by 31 January at the latest. If your results are insufficient in May/June, you will again be issued with advice.

The third advice, which you will receive by 15 August the latest, is binding. There are two outcomes:

Traffic sign: 'Go'

A positive advice means that you may continue to the second year of the programme. Please note, however, that eventually you have to obtain all 60 study credits.

If you miss credits, you will need to take the courses and/or do the exams for the relevant subjects again.

Traffic sign: 'Stop'

A negative binding study advice means that you must unenroll from the programme. It also means that you cannot apply for the same programme at Leiden University for the coming four years.

Further details about the Binding Study Advice (BSA):

Student site: BSA


Feel free to bring a notebook, laptop or other device 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.

Note that in your first year, the courses Statistics I and Statistics II are part of the core curriculum and you are supposed to work with statistics software. Students can access this software via the university computers. See for more information the courses Statistics I and Statistics II in the Prospectus. Please inform yourself about the minimum system requirements of the software used in our courses.

Support and advice

Peer mentoring

As a student at Leiden University, you are provided with different kinds of study guidance. This guidance is given by your Academic Skills workgroup instructors, study advisers, and peer mentors.

As a first year student, you are placed in a mentor group with a peer mentor, a second or third IRO student, who can help you adjust to study life in the Hague and with questions about practical matters in the first semester (such as where can I find my schedule, do I need to register for classes and exams, how can I access to my Student applications (MyStudyMap, Umail and Brightspace).

Skills workgroup

During the first and second semester of your first year you will have weekly workgroups. During these workgroups you will practice academic skills that are essential to social scientific study and research: These skills will form the foundation of your study throughout the bachelor in Political Science - International Relations and Organisations.

The instructor of the Academic Skills workgroup will help you to acquire important academic skills (from searching for and correctly referring to literature, to writing an academic essay).

Study advisers IRO

Your study adviser is there to help you with other study related questions (study planning, study delay, study challenges, rules and regulations or personal circumstances, career planning and preparation). The study advisers will keep track of your study results during the first academic year, also because of the Binding Study Advice (BSA).

The study advisers offer an interactive mentoring session each block. During these interactive sessions they will provide tools to manage your study and develop your personal skills and academic career. Current IRO students will contribute to the sessions and share their experience with the programme. You will find further details about the mentoring programme in the Prospectus. The dates can be found in your student schedule in uSis.

IRO study advisers

Course and exam registration and other practical, administrative matters are being taken care of by the Student Services Centre (e-mail: ssc.pol@leiden.edu.

Student Services Centre of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

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:

studying with a disability

Get to know key facilities

Here, on the student website, you can find a wide range of practical information about your studies.

Select your study programme

When you first visit the website, you will be asked to select your study programme to continue.

  • By selecting your study programme, you can access information that is specific to your particular programme and faculty.
  • By visiting the site as a guest, you can only access general, university-wide information.  

The website will remember your selection. This means you won’t have to make a selection next time you log in from the same device.

Tabs: from general to specific

If you have selected your study programme, you will sometime see more than one tab on a page:

  • The tab on the left contains general information.
  • The tab in the middle contains information from your faculty.
  • The tab on the right contains information from your study programme.

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 students in the BSc Political Science: International Relations and Organisations.

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.

Enter student site

Select your programme:

In the pop-up window that appears, type/select: ‘International Relations and Organisations (BSc)’.

Student site: select programme

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.

Student site: select programme

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.

Read more about uSis

Brightspace is Leiden University’s online learning environment.

Read more about Brightspace

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.

Read more about uMail

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.

Download the app


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Get more out of your student days

SPIL logo


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.


CIROS logo


CIROS was founded in March 2018 as a student initiative aimed at fostering social cohesion within the IRO student community through a range of academic and non-academic events. Since then, CIROS has grown to become a registered Student Association within Leiden University, with 10 committees, several clubs, as well as several ongoing projects. We are composed of students from over 25 different nationalities.


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.

Programme Committees Institute of Political Science

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.

Board of the Institute of Political Science

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.

University Council

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.

Faculty Council Social and Behavioural Sciences

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