Choosing your own route

The choices you make during your years at Leiden University will greatly influence your future career.

Second Year

From the second semester of the second year on, you can either decide to stay broad in your orientation on the field, or you can choose to specialise by taking electives focusing on a certain subdiscipline in addition to the mandatory second year courses. Some of the specialisation courses are prerequisites for specific master’s programmes.

Third year

In your third year, you will spend 45 credits on specialisation and elective courses and you will join a research project and write your bachelor’s thesis on that topic. Most students choose to join a project that is connected to their special interest in a certain subdiscipline.

Specialisation and elective courses

Leiden University allows you to shape your study programme so that it matches your interests and ambitions. You will spend 30 credits on 3 specialisation courses of your own choosing. In addition you can choose to do some electives in your second year, and in your third year you choose specialisation courses and electives for 45 credits in total. You can choose from a series of electives offered by the Institute of Psychology or by other institutes. They allow you to broaden or deepen your study. You can also use this part of the curriculum to study abroad for a period of time.

Our specialisation courses are 10 ec courses that are directly linked to our master’s programmes. For a full list of the specialisation courses see the third year courses

Some examples of topics that are covered in electives (5 ec courses) at the Institute of Psychology are:

Attention: Theory and Practice
Cross-cultural Psychology of Health and Illness
Causal Inference in Field Experiments
Emotion and Cognition
Culture and Diversity at Work
Psychological and Neurobiological Consequences of Child Abuse

Study abroad and broaden your horizon even further!

Students following the IBP curriculum can study abroad for a semester in the third year, provided they carefully plan their courses. So, if your heart is set on studying at partner universities in Boston, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Damascus, Florence or Oslo, go ahead; it will give you another unique and unforgettable experience! You will come into contact with other students and teachers, more cultures and increase your language skills and become a truly global citizen. It also improves your chances on the job market. Leiden University has many exchange programmes with foreign universities. In these programmes, important matters such as tuition fees, supervision and recognition of credits are already taken care of. This saves you time and money. The Study Abroad Coordinator will help you organise your international experience. See Study Abroad /for more information.


An internship period is a mandatory part of the master’s programme; but there is no mandatory internship in the bachelor’s programme. An internship in the master’s phase will allow you to acquire useful work experience. What’s more, you will gain insight into your own abilities and the requirements of the job market.

Testimonial Arrianna Berardi

I really like the international environment, the students for IBP have backgrounds in many different countries. I learn a lot from the other cultures. In Leiden there is a really good vibe and a good atmosphere. You can easily get around in the city by bike, or even walk. There are always many things going on, I like it!