Teaching and research

Leiden offers 46 three-year bachelor's programmes and 73 one- or two-year master's programmes.

Leiden University's philosophy is that a full academic training consists of a bachelor's and a master's programme. All students who have completed a bachelor's programme in Leiden are therefore eligible to proceed directly to at least one Leiden master's programe. 

After completing a full academic programme, Leiden students are equipped for all positions within society that call for an academic level of thinking and working. Our graduates are also competent to embark on a PhD programme.

Three types of programmes

  1. Bachelor's programmes
  2. Master's programmes
  3. PhD programmes 

Bachelor's programmes
Leiden has traditionally been known for the strongly academic content of its teaching programmes. This also applies to the bachelor's stage, where the emphasis is on learning academic skills. One of the key skills taught in Leiden is the ability to carry out independent research; all students are therefore required to carry out a research project to complete the bachelor's programme.   

Bachelor's programmes in Leiden

Master's programmes
In line with the University's commitment to integrating research and teaching, the emphasis in the master's programmes is even more strongly on developing research competences. Leiden University awards three types of master's diploma: the Master of Arts (MA), the Master of Science (MSc) and the Master of Laws (LL.M.)

There are also different types of master's programmes:

  • 1-year master's (MA/MSc/LLM/)
    Some of these are general master's open to all candidates with a Leiden bachelor's diploma.
  • 2-year research masters
    For talented students whose aim is to pursue an academic career. The admission requirements for these programmes are higher than the standard admission criteria. The research master's are an excellent introduction to the PhD track.
  • Teaching master's
    Students who have completed a master's programme in one of the school subjects can then take a one-year teaching master's programme.  
Master's programmes in Leiden

PhD programmes
It takes approximately four years to acquire a PhD. The training period consists mainly of independent and original research, supervised by a Leiden professor. The doctoral defence takes place following the publication of an academic dissertation and/or a series of academic articles on a particular subject. 

PhD in Leiden

Types of teaching

Teaching at Leiden University takes the following forms: 

  • general lectures
  • work groups
  • practicals
  • individual research assignments
  • lab work
  • specific training courses 
At the Faculty of Law, for example, students can practise their knowledge and skills in Moot Court. Fieldwork is carried out by the Faculty of Archaeology, and students of anthropology conduct research both in the Netherlands and abroad. 

The different types of teaching are designed to encourage students to study independently and to participate actively in class discussions. Leiden's teaching programmes are supported by an electronic learning environment, Blackboard. The University encourages students to spend part of their teaching programme abroad, or to take an international research internship. To facilitate these exchanges, Leiden participates in a number of different international networks, such as the European Union's Socrates Network. 

Talented individuals
Leiden University aims to attract talented young individuals as early as possible.  It was with this aim in mind that the  Pre-university College was set up. The Pre-University College offers talented school pupils the opportunity to follow lectures at University during the final two years of school (VWO). In addition, Honours Classes are organised for talented and highly motivated students. 

Levels of teaching
The weight of the teaching programmes is determined in a structure that indicates the level of abstraction and the weight of a particular element of the curriculum. This is expressed in a range of 100. for an initial course in the bachelor's programme, to 600 for a specialist course in the master's programme.

More information can be found at teaching programmes and policy.

Last Modified: 10-09-2014