The exchange program with the University of Leiden Faculty of Law began in 1990 and has been one of the most popular programs. UConn Law students may attend Leiden University and exchange students from Leiden may attend UConn Law School.
We hope that you will gain two perspectives as a result of your study; the insider's view of what it means to be educated in a civil law system and the comparative view, a deeper understanding of our own legal system gained from studying and comparing it to another system and by explaining it to those around you.
- Application Process
- Course of Study
- Credits for Courses Taken at Leiden
- The Town and University of Leiden
- Cancellation Policy
- Further Information
- Leiden Contacts
- Law School Contacts
- Student Contacts
The program is designed for students matriculating at the University of Connecticut Law School. First and second year day division students are eligible to apply to study abroad during their second or third year. Evening division students and four-year day students are eligible to apply in their second or third year to study abroad during their third or fourth year.
The application process for all programs takes place once a year in February and decisions are made in March for the following academic year. Application forms are available at the Study Abroad Fair and online. Selection criteria include grades, faculty recommendations, essay and interview.
In 1989, Leiden University's Faculty of Law began to offer courses in English to law students from other countries. Most of the students who take these courses, collectively called Leiden Law Courses, are students from other Western European countries, or from the United States. Some of the students are Dutch law students whose international concentration requires that they take some of their electives in English. Thus at Leiden, one's classmates are as likely to be from Spain and Germany as from Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Leiden exchange is that our students participate directly in a Dutch law school. The Leiden courses are neither especially designed for nor run by Americans. This means that the Connecticut students have not only the opportunity to take some interesting international and foreign law subjects, but also are, for a time, students in a foreign law school. It has always been our belief at Connecticut that this foreign learning experience is of considerable benefit to those who are thinking of doing some of their legal practice in the areas of international and foreign law.
The Fall semester at Leiden runs from September to December. Students are expected to take part in an orientation program before the start of classes. Second semester begins in early February and ends in June. The exact finishing date for either semester will depend on your individual course and exam schedule.
UConn students take a minimum of four courses carrying a minimum of 30 European Community Course Transfer System (ECTS) credits as listed on the Leiden Law Courses class schedule. Of the 30 required ECTS, students are encouraged to take 15 ECTS of mastercourses in the Public International Law and European Law LL.M. programs. Course overviews of the two LL.M. programs are located at:
A complete list of law courses offered is available on Leiden's website. Students must confirm their programs of instruction with Blanche Capilos at the end of the first week of classes. It is the students' responsibility to see that their selected courses of study meet the minimum aggregate ECTS required.
Students must take a minimum of four courses (equaling 30 ECTS) for which they will receive nine study abroad credits and take a three-credit SRP with a Connecticut faculty member. Thus students receive 12 credits for a semester at Leiden. A minimum of 12 credits is required to earn full residence credit for the semester and to be eligible for financial aid. Twelve is the maximum number of credits allowed for a semester abroad.
Leiden grades our students on a scale of one to 10, with 7 being the lowest passing grade. No credit is given for grades of 1-6. Individual courses and grades are not listed on UConn transcripts, rather a notation is made that the student studied at Leiden for the semester and the total credits awarded is listed. Students should know that the Dutch grading system is tough; failure is not as improbable as at an American law school. Students may wish to protect themselves by adding an additional course to their program.
The U.S. - Dutch equivalency is as follows:
Enrollment for exams is very important. Students are encouraged to sign up on-line prior to ten days before the exam. A 20 euro fine is charged to students who sign up ten days to three days before the exam. Students are not able to sit for exams if they have not signed up by three days before the exam.
Most students' accommodations will be arranged through the International Office at Leiden University. Part III of the Admission application form contains housing choices and students should complete and return the form promptly as housing is assigned on a first come, first served basis. The housing contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. Students should include a statement about wanting a single room close to the Faculty of Law in a student house. Hooigracht has received good reviews for location and cleanliness. If accommodations are not acceptable, it may be possible to switch after October 15 or February 15. Another possibility is to locate housing through the "Roofs" program. Contact the "Roofs" program at: Studentencentrum Plexus, Kaiserstraat 25, P.O. Box 439, 2300 AK Leiden, The Netherlands; or via email@example.com".
The School of Law plays no role in arranging for housing. The student houses give Connecticut students a chance to live as a Dutch student. The dorms allow Connecticut students to form close relationships with other European students. Our returning students have reported that life in a student house is comparable to that of a small, upperclass U.S. dorm. Standards of cleanliness vary.
Connecticut has negotiated an exchange agreement with the University of Leiden which provides that students will pay their home institution for tuition. Thus, Connecticut students taking courses in Leiden will receive a regular fee bill from the Business Office here, charging them for twelve credits. A Law School Study Abroad fee of $475 is charged to help defray the administrative expense of the program. All other fees except parking are paid by the student as well.
In addition to the cost for instruction, students participating in the Leiden exchange should take into account the cost of travel to the Netherlands as well as the cost for accommodation.
Of course, depending on the student's situation there may also be lost income if the student needs to give up a full or part-time job in Hartford. Students on financial aid should consult our Financial Aid Office as usual to see what special arrangements need to be made. Study in Leiden should not affect financial aid status. For Financial Aid purposes, 12 credits in our semester-abroad programs is considered to be full-time study.
American students born in the U.S. do not need visas. After arrival in The Netherlands, you must apply for a residence permit. Leiden will include the financial statement and acceptance letter necessary for the residence permit in your welcome package. You must provide a birth certificate and pay a fee.
Leiden is a medium-sized Dutch town of about 120,000 people. Located in the center of the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hague urban triangle, Leiden is a convenient location for traveling throughout the Netherlands. Train and bicycle are the most popular forms of travel.
Leiden has a fascinating blend of old and modern architecture. The inner city is largely unchanged over the last two centuries, containing some 1200 buildings of historic interest, many located alongside the town's picturesque canals.
Leiden played a key role in the Eighty Years War of the 16th century when the Dutch won their independence from Spanish rule. Threatened with siege and starvation, the people nonetheless kept their city from the Spanish until rescued by Prince William of Orange on October 3, 1574. As a reward, William established the University of Leiden the following year. It has been considered since then a seat of international culture. The Pilgrims spent eleven years in Leiden before going to Plymouth, England where many set sail for America shortly thereafter.
The University has no main campus; its buildings are scattered throughout Leiden with most located in the historic inner city. The Gravensteen, a former palace and prison, is the oldest building of the Law Faculty and dates from the 13th century. A new Law Center has been built which contains faculty offices, classrooms, and computer facilities, library, cafeteria and café, bookstore, and copy services. The University has over 18,000 students enrolled and there are over 5,000 students in the Faculty of Law. Leiden has the largest and perhaps most prestigious law faculty in the Netherlands.
Leiden is a student-town with an abundance of low-cost entertainment. Connecticut students have found it to be friendly and affordable. Leiden University's many student clubs make finding Dutch activities, be they athletic, social or cultural, quite easy.
Foreign study at Leiden University will not be canceled by the Connecticut due to lack of enrollment. Should Leiden University decide to cancel the program, Connecticut students will then register for regular classes at the School of Law. In the event that cancellation occurs after the pre-registration period for the semester in question, every effort will be made to accommodate student preferences in registering for classes. No promise can be made that all desired classes will be available.
Information about the Faculty of Law's facilities courses and additional information about study abroad in Leiden is on the university website. There is a Leiden University International Programs CD and a Leiden binder on reserve in the library.
Blanche Capilos can answer many of your questions or direct you to helpful resources.
If you are an individual with a disability that requires accommodation in order to participate, please consult Dr. Jane Thierfeld Brown, Dean's Office, 570-5130.
Paul Cormier, a former UConn J.D. student who studied abroad in Leiden a number of years ago, lives and practices there. He is always interested in meeting UConn students who come to Leiden and has a standing offer to help them in adjusting to life in The Netherlands. Please feel free to contact him before or after you arrive.
Blanche Capilos, Deputy Director
International Legal Programs
Professor Mark Janis
Director of Student and Faculty Exchanges
Manon van Doorn, Ava Keijzer and Lianne Kos are here as an Exchange Students during Spring semester.