Your first year Dutch Studies

Full working week

The programme consists of lectures and tutorials. In the lectures, the professor will talk about the main themes of a subject. During the tutorials, you work with the material, discussing it with your fellow students. You also prepare written assignments and give presentations in which you show that you can understand and report on academic literature.

You will be at the University almost every day to attend classes. You prepare the rest of your study week independently. In total, you spend at least 40 hours a week on your study.


In your first year, you have to work hard at learning Dutch. You will learn to speak, understand, read and write Dutch. You will also have introductory lectures on all other aspects of Dutch culture and society. You will learn about the history of a country which is both small and great at the same time. You will discover the diversity of Dutch art history and gain insight into present-day Dutch society. More information about the courses can be found in the online prospectus.

Credits (ec)

The year is divided into two semesters, or blocks. The entire first year consists of 60 ec (in the European Credit Transfer System). One ec stands for 28 hours of study. These credits are only awarded if you have met all the requirements of a subject. In general, no credits are awarded for partial exams or attending classes only.


You conclude each subject with an exam. This may be a written or an oral exam, a presentation, an essay or a combination of these assessment methods. You receive a grade for each exam and assignment. You also receive an assessment of your performance in the tutorials.

The Dutch system of awarding marks goes from 1 (poor) to 10 (outstanding). You have passed an examination if you have achieved a 6 or higher. Nines and tens are rarely awarded. For more information on study points and the evaluation system, see: Credits en Grading.

Digital facilities

For students at Leiden University, many of the activities related to their study can be organised online. uSis is the University online administration system, students have to register themselves via uSis for tutorials, papers and exams. uSis also shows your personal information, grades and timetable. You will also have access to Blackboard, Leiden University’s digital learning environment. Lecturers and tutors use this web based tool to support the lectures and tutorials.
Read further: ULCN and Blackboard.

Testimonial Sammiejo Stubb - your first year

What courses do you follow?
‘In the first two years of the program you follow history, literature, art history and linguistics classes, and in the third year you choose which direction you would most like to pursue. Sampling all of these classes helped me realise where my own interests lie: with linguistics, which I begin this fall.’