P36 foto Philosophy
Global and Comparative Perspectives

As if actually travelling through space and time, from China to Europe, and from antiquity to the present day, this programme will show you how to challenge largely unquestioned patterns of thought, and develop new perspectives on current issues.

Study Philosophy

The Philosophy programme in Leiden is one of just a few of its kind worldwide, and is unique in the Netherlands. It takes a global and comparative perspective of philosophy, whereas other programmes mostly restrict themselves to philosophy rooted in Greek antiquity. Many even narrow this down further by focusing on the type of analytical philosophy developed during the 20th century.

Leiden University’s approach is different. We meet a need for inclusiveness, by allowing the world’s traditions of thought to mutually inform and enrich one other. In addition to traditional Greek philosophy, the programme features philosophies from India, eastern Asia and the Arab world. You will get to use all the resources that philosophy has to offer!

P49 Emma Abdi Wansbrough

Emma Abdi Wansbrough
Senior student

'Both the teachers and students come from a diverse background and bring in a diversity of thought, which really adds value to the programme. What is so special about this bachelor’s is that we are trying to create new ideas by combining concepts from different schools of thought, for example by comparing concepts from Confucianism and Ancient Greek philosophy. Learning about the different ideas, traditions, and ways people from all over the world think had a big impact on me. Such insights help me start cross-cultural dialogue. For example, if you want to work at an NGO, knowing of foreign cultures and ways of thinking will help you enormously.'

Curriculum: Philosophy

Philosophy  Global and  Comparative Perspectives

Global and comparative

Your lecturers and supervisors are internationally recognised scholars from a wide range of philosophical disciplines. The programme stands out through its focus on philosophies from around the world, using comparisons and interaction. You will explore these disciplines:

  • analytical philosophy
  • continental European philosophy
  • comparative philosophy
  • Arabic philosophy
  • East Asian philosophy (China, Japan, Korea)
  • Indian philosophy
  • African philosophy

Why study Philosophy in Leiden?

  • The programme is unique in the Netherlands and one of the few worldwide in featuring traditions of thought from India, East Asia, Europe and the Arab world.
  • It offers an international academic environment and teaching based on the long tradition of acclaimed Leiden scholarship.
  • Besides lectures, you will have tutorials for in-depth discussion and skills training, as well as mentoring by senior students and dedicated staff.

Is Philosophy for you? You match the profile if you:

  • love reading and writing;
  • have a good command of English;
  • are prepared to challenge preconceived notions;
  • are not afraid of high levels of abstraction;
  • appreciate the value of diverse practices; concepts and modes of understanding;
  • want to develop your intercultural competences.

It’s up to you

You will be able to adapt your programme as much as possible to suit your own interests and ambitions. The Philosophy programme includes a full semester of optional studies in your second year. You could follow one of the many minor programmes that Leiden University offers. Doing an exchange semester at a university outside the Netherlands will give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons and boost your academic knowledge and personal development. Leiden University has agreements with many leading universities, including those in Oxford, Beijing, Paris, and Hawaii. Moreover, with your newly acquired background in cross-cultural thinking you will also get the chance to test your skills in practice. An internship in a professional organisation is a unique opportunity to acquire hands-on experience and additional skills. Besides, it can also be a source of inspiration for your future career.

Your future career

Graduates proceed with master’s programmes in Philosophy and other topics, at Leiden University or other universities in the Netherlands or abroad:

  • Philosophy graduates have developed strong academic competences, combined with resourcefulness and a broad outlook. Your intercultural skills will be in high demand in a wide range of fields.
  • 100% of our graduates find a job within 6 months, 100% find a job suitable for a university graduate within 1 year after graduation.

    Our graduates have, for example, found jobs at:
  • Dutch embassy in Turkey
  • European ThinkTank Freedom Lab
  • Red Cross
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Dasym Investment Strategies


Part of the admission and application procedure is participation in the matching module. Matching helps you determine whether the focus and level of the programme are for you. You receive advice in order to solidify your decision to start this programme.


Location: Leiden


year programme, 180 ECTS


English-taught programme established




largest lecture size


maximum tutorial size