Leiden University is the most popular public research University situated in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1575 and emerged as a leading university. The maxim of this institute is ‘Praesidium Libertatis,’ which means a bulwark of freedom.

This scholarship provides an annual tuition fee to Master’s students. Leiden University Scholarships welcome international students to complete their Master’s degree in the Netherlands.

This is a fully funded scholarship and is given to brilliant students. The type of scholarship and the number of scholarship awards depend upon the budget for every department. This University has seven arts, sciences, and social sciences faculties, located in different places in Hague and Leiden.

This scholarship is awarded to excellent students just about to start their Master’s degree. This is one of the most prestigious universities in Europe.

 Scholarship summary

Host country: Netherlands

Institution: Leiden University

Study level: Masters

Program duration: the duration of the study program for 1 year is about 12 months, and the duration for 2 years is 24 months.

Deadline: The programs starting from 1st September have a deadline of 1st February, and the programs starting from 1st February have a deadline of 1st October.

Required language: English

Eligible countries: All the international Non-EU and EEA students.

You can find full list of scholarships in Netherlands for international students here.


  • Aimed at exceptional students enrolling in a full-time Master’s programme at Leiden University, the LExS does not cover non-advanced LLM and MSc programmes at the Leiden Law School.
  • It’s important to note the application deadlines: Programmes starting on September 1 require applications by February 1, while those beginning on February 1 necessitate applications by October 1.
  • Eligible candidates: Non-EEA/non-EFTA passport holders, with exceptions for Advanced LLMs & MSc International Relations and Diplomacy, where all nationalities can apply.
  • Participating faculties include Archaeology, Humanities, Medicine/LUMC, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Science, African Studies Centre, and the International Institute for Asian Studies.

 Courses Offered

The master courses provided by Leiden University are as follows:

  • Law
  • Humanities
  • Social and Behavioral Science
  • African Studies Centre
  • Science
  • Medicine/LUMC
  • Archaeology
  • Governance and Global Affairs
  • ICON
  • International Institute for Asian Studies

 Scholarship Coverage

  • The LExS is not a full scholarship and only lasts for the duration of the student’s study programme.
  • The scholarship is divided into three tiers:
    • A €10,000 reduction in the tuition fee
    • A €15,000 reduction in the tuition fee
    • Full tuition fee coverage less the statutory tuition fee

The Selection Procedure

  • Faculty selection committees will propose LExS recipients within 6 weeks of the LExS deadline.
  • All applicants will receive an email notification regarding their application status.

 Eligibility Criteria

  • During his/her previous studies, they must have gotten good results. They must be diligent in ensuring they are eligible for this scholarship opportunity.
  • The students are obliged to take part in other social and extra-curricular activities. This will help them in gaining international-level recognition.
  • The candidates should have obtained high marks in the subjects for which they are applying under the scholarship program. The GPA should be at least 3.2 or more than that for applying to the Leiden Excellence scholarship program.
  • If your graduation is not completed and you are still studying at the time of application, you should apply after completing two study years.
  • Attach the transcripts of the current year and the previous year stating your total GPA and the subjects.
  • The student should be passport holders of non-Eu and EEA countries; otherwise, they will not be eligible for the Leiden excellence scholarships. They will also not receive the funds that come under the Dutch support system.
  • The scholarship is only given to the students as long as they are enrolled as full-time Leiden University students. For those who want to freeze their semester or migrate to any other institution that does not come under the LExS, the scholarship will not be awarded in such a situation.
  • The students cannot receive any other fully funded scholarship while studying at Leiden University. They can receive partial scholarships but must notify Leiden University before confirming the scholarship. And if they are awarded any other fully funded scholarship, they must notify and ask the university authorities first.
  • If a candidate decides to change his/her degree program during their studies, the scholarship for the new degree program will not be guaranteed. The selection committee will review the process and the reason for changing the program and will take the final decision.
  • If someone decides to shift to any other program before the study starts, he/she will have to reapply for the program.
  • The applicant cannot postpone his/her admission for the next year or the next intake of the same academic year. The selection committee will review the case, and they may have to reapply for the next admissions.
  • You can apply for more than one scholarship and more than one program, but you have to choose one option if you get selected for two different programs. 

 How to apply?

  • Required documents to apply for the Master’s program at Leiden University:
    • A copy of your EU or EEA passport that shows your picture and personal information clearly
    • A copy of your official transcript showing all of your grades obtained. The transcript should be in English, French, German, or Dutch. If the official transcript is in any other language, you can get it translated, but the authorities of your institution should approve it.
    • A copy of your residency permit if you have any.
    • A proposal letter of a maximum of 700 words stating the reason for choosing Leiden University and your academic goals in the future.
    • A recommendation letter is usually not required, but sometimes the University asks the applicant to submit one reference letter after applying.
  • English Language Proficiency Test score:
  • TOFEL: you must have obtained a minimum of 90 scores in TOFEL. The test should be given online (internet-based)
  • IELTS: Paper-based test scoring at least 6.5. The LExS organization does not accept online tests or internet-based IELTS.
  • Cambridge English exam: C1 with a score of at least 180 or C2 proficiency.
  • You only require one test score from the above. The tests should not be given more than two years before applying for the scholarship.
  • You must show interest and fill in the portion where the scholarship section is written on your application form. While selecting the best available scholarship, tick the box of LExS.
  • You will need a separate motivation letter for each in case you are simultaneously applying for more than one Leiden Excellence scholarship.
  • Check the final application and update if it needs any changes before finalizing and submitting it to the institution.

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