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NETHERLANDS - ISEP Leiden University

Until further notice, students using U.S. federal student financial aid are unable to study at Leiden University. 


Founded in 1575, Leiden University is known for the high quality of the education and research facilities provided. It is a fully accredited, classical university enrolling over 17,000 students. An increasing number of courses, in various disciplines, is being taught in English, as are all Master’s degree programs. The university library contains a unique collection of old manuscripts and maps and an elaborate collection of prints and drawings. There is an extensive collection of plants and herbs in the botanical gardens and the national herbarium. 

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.  

Learn more about Leiden University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.2.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


Leiden is a small town: all university buildings are within walking or cycling distance. Because of the safe environment and the individual approach, students tend to feel at home fairly quickly. The surroundings of Leiden offer a wide range of recreational possibilities. The North Sea with its scenic beaches and dunes is eight miles to the west of Leiden. Behind the dunes are holiday resorts which bustle with life during the summer; many of them are below sea level. To the northeast of Leiden are large lakes, which are excellent for sailing, windsurfing, rowing, and, sometimes, when it is cold enough, for ice-skating.


Leiden offers approximately 150 courses taught in English at the undergraduate level; all graduate courses are taught in English. Interdisciplinary courses are offered in the departments of Biomedical Sciences, Linguistics, Nano Science, Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology, History, Political Sciences, Psychology, English and American Literature and Studies, Dutch Studies, Middle East Studies, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Law. 

Students can compose their own programs, choosing courses from a large number of electives offered by the various departments. Courses focus on a wide variety of subjects such as Dutch Language, Culture and Government, European Politics and Administration, Law, English Language and Literature, Global Studies, and World Art. 

The Department of English has a popular program with different courses that focus on linguistic and literary themes. Examples would include courses on British and Irish urban dialects, history of the English language, English linguistics, English literature 1660-1800, English Literature 1800-1900, Eighteenth-century English drama and its translation into Dutch, the poetry of the 1930s, James Joyce, India in writing, and colonial and post-colonial literature.

There is a special one-year program in Dutch Studies. The first semester is conducted in English and features intensive Dutch language instruction and art history. The second semester consists of courses in literature, history, culture, and society and requires Dutch proficiency. 

Language Courses: Dutch language and culture courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year or semester for an additional fee for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

More information about courses can be found here.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.


Use the Courses link in the Fast Facts box above. Select the appropriate academic year and “Exchange” or “Study Abroad” in the drop-down menus. Only courses listed under “Exchange” or “Study Abroad” are available to ISEP students.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life

Students will be introduced to Leiden University with the help and support of Leiden students after students arrive on campus. Students will be taken on tours of the city and museums while being introduced to sports options and student societies. Includes social and cultural activities as well as joint meals and drinks.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in single rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens. A stipend for meals and accommodations is provided. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to Leiden University includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and a stipend to help cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week. 

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office