A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

The End of a Degree: Applying for Your Master’s Programme

In coming to the end of my bachelor’s degree I was faced with the question: what next? It was difficult to imagine that I would ever finish it at the beginning of my degree, let alone that it would come to an end as fast as it did. Yet here I am, a degree almost under my belt and the future wide open. There are many avenues one can explore when it comes to the end of a bachelor’s degree; in this series, I will focus on the big three: a master’s degree, a gap year, and employment. This first blog will focus on the process of finding and applying for a master’s degree.


For me, the choice of a master’s degree was instinctive; I had completed a programme that I really enjoyed but was not my final educational end-point. Rather, I realized that what I wanted to do was to be a human rights lawyer, requiring some more studying. Luckily, I would not have to start it all again with a bachelor’s degree in law but could continue onto a master’s degree because of the 45 credits of law I had obtained. Thus, the answer to what next was easy for me: a master’s degree.

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There are several steps to take when applying for your master’s programme; I have used as a handy guide to the whole process. The first is to differentiate between your programmes. There are those at the universities of applied sciences which focuses on increasing knowledge and professional expertise at a graduate-level using improving professional skills before moving into a career, and those at research universities that provide you with the knowledge and analytical skills at a graduate level where you can carry out independent research before moving into a career.


Admission requirements

After selecting which type of master’s programme you would like to pursue, the next step is to find out what is required of you to participate in the programmes. These requirements include whether you are qualified for the programme, whether you speak the language of the course at the required level, and if a preparatory year is required before starting the degree. These are important to check quite a while before you plan to study the programme as there may be specific credits, tests, or courses that you need to complete before your application.


The specific requirements can be found on the university’s website under the application and admissions section. These websites are often user-friendly and provide you with a step-by-step process on how to check if you are eligible for the degree.


The process of applying

Once you have checked if you tick all the program boxes, the next step is to start applying. The application process will start at the university’s website under the application and admissions section. Thereafter you will need to submit your application in StudieLink – the portal for all students in the Netherlands. This process can be a bit finicky, but there are steps to make it easier:

  1. Create a StudieLink account
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Add your previous education (if it was not already present in the portal)
  4. Choose a university
  5. Choose a study programme
  6. Check the study programme details such as the date you would like to start, the type of enrolment it is, and whether you are starting the programme as a first-year or other year student.
  7. Answer the institutional questions
  8. Confirm your details

Photograph from Pinterest

Thereafter, you will receive an email confirmation from StudieLink. The rest of the application process updates will be provided to you by StudieLink.


It is important to check if the programme is a numerous fixus programme or not. This is whether the study programme at the university has a certain capacity or not for the programme. Should the number of students who apply exceed the number of available places, a selection procedure will occur where selection is based on your ranking that the institution determines. If you are offered a place in a numerous fixus programme you have two weeks to accept the place in the programme.


After this process, you will hopefully receive a notification indicating acceptance from the university.


Although the process of applying for a master’s degree can seem daunting, it’s actually quite straightforward (at least procedurally). The difficulty will be making the choices for the future, what they entail, and how you will have to move your life or not to accommodate them. So again, it can be daunting, but it is truly quite exciting.




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This entry was posted on May 18, 2021 by in Student Life, Study.

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