Leiden University



As one of the premiere institutions in the Netherlands and the oldest university, Leiden University (Universiteit Leiden) was established in 1575. As a comprehensive institution, Leiden strives for excellence in an open academic community where teaching takes place in small-scale groups with the focus on the individual. Freedom of spirit and the free development of research are among its core principles. Their academics are motivated by the highest ambitions of quality and integrity, and their innovative teaching is interwoven with our high quality research. Leiden has about 25,800 students and offers over 100 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. This program is university-wide, meaning any undergraduate Pitt student regardless of major may participate.

Fact sheet: 
Learning Objectives: 

As an active and engaged participant on this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • the ability to succeed independently in a foreign education environment.
  • non-US based perspectives on your field of study and/or future career path.
  • a global network of peer in similar fields of study and connections with faculty in the Netherlands.
Partner Information: 

International exchange coordinators (university-wide)


Plexus Student Centre
Kaiserstraat 25
2311 GN Leiden

Location Description: 

Leiden University has two campuses: in the cities of Leiden and the Hague. They are 10 minutes apart by train. 
Leiden is a quaint Dutch city located between Amsterdam and The Hague. The close relationship between the city and university have resulted in Leiden's reputation as one of Europe's most important scientific centers for hundreds of years. With a population of 124,000 residents, it is a safe, friendly city, with beautiful buildings lining the picturesque canals, several city parks and historical houses. 
The Hague is a truly cosmopolitan city with a large and diverse international community. As the International City of Peace and Justice, The Hague is full of embassies, consulates, non-governmental organisations, international companies and government organisations. It is the perfect location for our International Studies and Global Challenges programmes and all that they entail.

Housing Description: 

Leiden offers options for university-affiliated housing or private accommodations. Pitt students are not guaranteed spots within university-affiliated housing. Although Leiden will provide instructions on when and how to apply for housing, Pitt are advised to research housing options prior to admission to Leiden. See Leiden’s general housing website.  
Student housing, particularly, in Leiden is limited, especially in Fall when there is most demand, and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Students may also be offered housing in The Hague, or provided information about acquiring housing privately. Pitt students should pay their non-refundable housing fee as early as possible, even if they have not yet been admitted to Leiden. 

Academic Description: 

At Leiden, courses are taught in Dutch and in English. Specific courses will be offered in one of the two languages. Programs that are specifically offered in entirely English include the following: 

Most programs at Leiden offer a selection of courses in English.  Pitt students may choose from the following areas for electives: a) Global Public Health, b) Earth, Energy and Sustainability, c) Governance, Development, and Sustainability, d) World Politics, e) International Justice, and f) Human Diversity.  For more details about the courses available to Pitt students studying at Leiden, please visit their website.  


Credits taken at Leiden are evaluated on an ECTS scale and will transfer to Pitt according to a 2:1 ratio. For example, 10 ECTS credits will transfer as 5 Pitt credits. All credits taken at Leiden require approval by both your academic advisor(s) and study abroad program manager. Additionally, for the purpose of full-time status here at Pitt, students should be prepared to take what is equivalent to at least 12 Pitt credit hours.   

Courses taken at Leiden will be treated as transfer credits and will be marked as pass/fail (S/NC) on a Pitt student's transcript. In other words, transfer credits will not affect your Pitt GPA. Actual grades earned will appear on the transcript from the exchange university. 


As a part of the cultural experience, Leiden University offers Dutch Language Courses specifically designed for visiting students. These may be considered for credit or not for credit. Verify with the study abroad program manager regarding their transferability.  

Students who have attended this program in the past have taken classes in the areas of:: 
Political Science
Legal Studies
English Composition
Religious Studies

Like Pitt, Leiden University’s grading scale follows the practice of assigning letter grades, such as A, B, C, D and F. In addition, they may also use the traditional system. This grading scale assigns numerical values between 0 – 10, with 10 representing the highest grade achievable. For more information about the grading scale at Leiden, see their explanation.  


For Pitt transfer credit, in order to earn a grade of “S,” (satisfactory) at Pitt, you must make an equivalent to a grade of “C” or higher. An equivalent to a “C-” or lower will result in a grade of “NC” (no credit) at Pitt. Pitt students may utilize the following online resource to understand the grading scale within this host country. 


Leiden will provide hardcopy (or electronic transcripts) to the University of Pittsburgh’s Study Abroad Office. Make sure to follow their instructions on how to ensure that an official copy of the grades is received. Hardcopies should be sent the following address: 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA. Electronic copies should be sent to the designated exchange program manager under “SAO Staff.”  


Exchange university transcripts typically do not arrive from the exchange university until 3 to 4 months after the end of exchange period. Therefore, Pitt students should be mindful of how this may affect their ability to graduate, especially when exchanging during one's senior year. Another consideration is how this may affect your financial aid package, as the S/NC grades are not posted until transcripts are received. 


Program Fees: 
Pitt students participating on an exchange program will pay regular Pitt tuition and fees, according to their in-state or out-of-state residency status. In addition to the Study Abroad Administrative Fee, this also includes all Mandatory Fees, such as the Student Activity Fee, Wellness Fee, Computing and Network Services Fee, and the Security, Safety, and Transportation Fee.  
Pitt Students on financial aid and/or tuition scholarships will need to consult the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid or respective entity providing the funds to confirm coverage for study abroad. 

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition* $9,314 $16,328
Mandatory Fees $545 $545
Study Abroad Fee $400 $400
Total Billed by Pitt* $10,259 $17,273
*The tuition rate listed is defaulted to reflect the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. For Pitt students of another Pitt school or campus, the tuition rate will reflect the home school or campus. See posted rates on the Institutional Research page.
How Much To Budget: 

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Travel Expenses: Airfare, Passport, Visa, Resident Permit  $2,000
Room & Board $3,000 - 5,000
Personal Expenses $1,000 - 5,000
The Estimated Costs reflect information provided by Leiden and are reported to OAFA to calculate financial aid packages.The listed costs are defaulted to one semester. Multiply the costs by two for two semesters. 
Personal expenses vary with individual students. Review the Leiden's website for more information, and visit our budgeting page for more information. 

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, you may need to purchase additional insurance if the exchange university you will attend requires purchase of a specific health insurance coverage per their regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you know the cost of that insurance prior to committing to the program.

Program Dates: 

Pitt students enroll at Leiden for either a full semester (fall or spring) or a full academic year (two full semesters). Leiden's academic calendars may differ from Pitt's normal fall (August through December) and spring (January through April) semesters, so Pitt students should check the academic calendar at the exchange university. Like Pitt, Leiden’s academic calendar follows a Fall-Spring progression, meaning Fall is the first semester followed by the Spring semester as the second. Because Leiden’s academic calendar varies significantly from Pitt’s, exchanging for only the fall semester is not possible. However, if a single semester at Leiden is desired, then the Spring (or second) semester is the only option. The dates listed above are estimated and therefore subject to change according to the host university’s schedule.

Dr. Shawn Alfonso Wells

Hujambo, Hola, Bon jour! I am the Exchange and Panther Programs Manger. I have a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and am an Adjunct professor of Anthropology who has taught in the Anthropology, History, Sociology, and Africana Studies departments at Pitt and CMU. I recently helped students to achieve their goals as their Academic Advisor. I did my fieldwork on Color Classification in Cuba and have led many ground breaking experiential student trips to Cuba. I love learning about different cultures and want to help facilitate students being able to travel abroad learn the world. I look forward to assisting you to achieve your goals.


Schedule a Zoom appointment with me below or get in touch with me through email to discuss exchange options and your future global experience.


Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password
  • Select Find Available Time
  • Select the time that works for you
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!

Application Instructions: 

Pitt sends a limited number of students per semester to Leiden. In addition to applying to the Pitt Study Abroad application above, be sure to review Leiden's website regarding their application requirements for incoming exchange students. A formal nomination from Pitt Study Abroad is required for Pitt students to be recognized as an exchange student at Leiden. Therefore, Pitt students must complete all necessary Pitt Study Abroad steps in addition to Leiden's requirements. In other words, acceptance by Pitt Study Abroad does not guarantee acceptance by the exchange university.  
The exchange university may require the following to be submitted through an online application. Requirements may include but are not limited to the following:  

  • Application Form 
  • Copy of Valid Passport 
  • Official Pitt Transcript 
  • Official Pitt Verification of Enrollment 
  • Statement of Intent or Purpose 
  • Resume or CV 
  • Official Language Evaluation 
  • Up to 2 instructor letters of recommendations 
  • Up to 2 passport photos 


Additional Information: 

Language Requirements: Non-native English speakers will be required to show evidence of English proficiency either through the IELTS or the TOELF. Please check with Leiden regarding these requirements.  

Insurance Requirements: 

Students studying abroad through Pitt Study Abroad are automatically provided health insurance coverage during the official program dates. However, in addition to health insurance coverage, Leiden recommends Pitt students to purchase additional liability coverage. See the details here. 

Visa Requirements: 

In order to study as a student in specific countries, a visa or permit is required. A visa is formal endorsement by the host country to grant permission for an individual to enter, live or stay in that country for a specific purpose and period. In addition to a visa, some host countries may require a residency permit upon arrival. 


For those without EU/EEA country nationalities, students must obtain a student visa or permit to study in the Netherlands. For an overview regarding the visa process, please review Leiden's website. Also, check the Dutch Embassy or consulate closest to you for additional information.   


Leiden will provide general direction after formal admission on for how to apply for either the visa and/or residency permit. Pitt students should also research the visa and/or permit process through the specified country consulate website.   


In general visa and/or permit application requirements include but are not limited to the following requirements:  

  • Visa application 
  • Valid Passport 
  • Verification of acceptance from sponsoring university (exchange university) 
  • Financial Documents, such as bank statements, tax documents or pay statements.   
  • Passport photos 
  • Application fee 
  • Medical/physical examination (likely to require a doctor's appointment so plan accordingly)