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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Leiden University in the Netherlands

Until further notice, students using U.S. federal student financial aid are unable to study at Leiden University. This is expected to be resolved by Fall 2018 placement!


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.

Program Type

Exchange or Direct-Enroll


Leiden, Netherlands

Languages of Instruction

English and Dutch

Program Dates

Academic year: Late August to June

Fall 2018: Late August to mid-January

Spring 2019: Late January to June

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


Early departure for fall term may be possible. Please contact the ISEP coordinator of the host country for more information.


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. 
  • Students must have a declared major, and have taken 4-5 courses toward completion of that major.
  • 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 Leiden are only able to do so as an exchange student.

Chance of placement for US students is generally good.  We recommend a back-up, just in case.


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.

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

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.



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.

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.  The Direct fee includes all of the above, but Direct fees are set by the host university and may be different than that of Exchange, which tend to be less expensive to promote more exchange opportunities for all schools.

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

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition



Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost



College Deposit (credit)



Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College



ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application



College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)



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

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 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.

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, nor fees to enroll in courses at partner institutions, and will depend on your course registration choices.  

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

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

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