Academic system & grading

The University offers different graduate and non-graduate (certificate) programmes. The study load in the Dutch university system is specified in credits based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Students receive a mark out of ten for their examination courses.

Bachelor, Master, PhD and Non-degree (certificate)

The bachelor’s programmes (with the exception of BA International Studies and International Bachelor in Psychology program) are taught in Dutch and take 3 years; the master’s degree programmes are generally taught in English and take 1 to 2 years.

Earning a doctorate takes at least 4 years of study and consists of independent and original research under the supervision of a professor, see: http://www.research.leiden.edu/phd/

Exchange and Study Abroad students are awarded a certificate for the courses for which they have completed the course work and/or examination. Upon return to the home university, students must not forget to give their Leiden University co-ordinator the final list of the courses they have taken in order to complete their transcript.


Credit system

The study load in the Dutch university system is specified in credits based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). An academic year consists of 60 credit points. One credit point is equivalent to 28 hours work and includes lectures/tutorials, reading, preparing for tests, exams, the writing and assessment of papers, etc. Leiden students do not receive credits for courses they have failed.

Dutch grading system

Students receive a mark out of ten for their examination courses.
Dutch grading system compared to American grading system

Dutch American
10 A   Excellent
9 A   Very good
8 A   Good
7 B   Good/Fair
6 C   Satisfactory
5 D   Not quite satisfactory
1 to 5 F   Fail

The lowest pass grade is 5.5, while grades 9 and 10 are rarely given. It is important to note that in the Dutch system teachers never give grades on the basis of a normative curve and competition plays little or no role. Marks are interpreted independently by the student’s home university.

Last Modified: 04-07-2017