How does Admissions work?

The admissions process in The Netherlands can seem a bit complicated at first. It involves both the University of choice and DUO the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs. DUO is part of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Netherlands.

First contact the insititution

To be admitted to a higher education programme, the student should first contact the institution that offers the programme, or look at the website of the specific programme. These resources will indicate exactly which admission requirements are required and the process to follow for application and registration in Studielink. Each university or university of applied science and each programme will have their own processes and requirements for students with international diplomas.

Currently for Leiden University this means first filling in the online application, paying the application fee and submitting the form with the proper documents uploaded. After this is completed, students can then register that application on Studielink. This process will change in 2017 where students will first register in Studielink and then they will receive instructions on how to complete the process.

The exception to this is for Dutch-speaking students applying to one of the four Dutch-taught Numerus Fixus programmes at Leiden University. Please see the section below for further details.

Main requirements for admission

The main requirement for admission to a bachelor’s programme at Leiden University (this includes Leiden University College) is a secondary-school diploma that is deemed equivalent to the Dutch secondary school diploma that prepares students for university (the VWO diploma). For example, the full International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, 3 A-levels with grades of A-C, an American High School Diploma plus 4 Advanced Placement classes with exams or many other national university preparation programmes are deemed equivalent to the Dutch VWO diploma. You can find our list of these diplomas here. If you do not see your school’s diploma listed or you have a question about this, please contact the International Relations Officer, Carolyn Barr.

As these diplomas are deemed equivalent, students who have completed the diploma successful and apply (with all proper documentation) are deemed admissible to the university. (Please keep in mind that students can apply while they are completing their final year of their programme). Sometimes this may seem too “easy”. However, students must keep in mind that once accepted, they must perform well in their first year in order to continue their studies. If the student has achieved enough study points in their first year they will receive a positive BSA (Binding Study Advice) and continue on to their second year. If they do not, they will receive a negative BSA and will be asked to leave the university. Therefore it is important to work hard and be committed to their programme.

Decentralised selection

In certain popular fields such as criminology, tax law, biomedical science or medicine, the number of seats are limited. This is called Numerus Fixus. Selection for these programmes happen via decentralised selection. At Leiden University these four programmes are taught entirely in Dutch. None of the English-language programmes at Leiden University are Numerus Fixus programmes. Decentralised selection is a term may have heard associated with The Netherlands and is another way a Numerus Fixus programme admission is decided. It essentially means the university makes the admissions decision themselves based on extra admissions criteria – therefore these are selective programmes.

For more information on the Bachelor’s in Medicine programme, click here.

For more information on the Bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences, click here.

Compulsory matching

Does one of your students want to apply for the International Bachelor’s programme in Psychology? Then they will have to complete the compulsory matching procedure of this programme. By completing the online matching module they can find out if Psychology is the right study for them before they officially enrol in the programme.

University Colleges

While University Colleges in The Netherlands generally have a set number of seats for enrollment each year but are not classified as Numerus Fixus and therefore students can apply to more than one. However, these programmes are Honours Colleges within larger university faculties and therefore have more selective admissions requirements. For example, at Leiden University College, students must also submit an essay and participate in an interview in addition to showing math proficiency and meeting general university admission requirements.