Looking for a Challenge

International Leiden Leadership
Programme (ILLP)

ILLP is a six-month Honours Programme designed for ambitious and talented master’s students at our university and at Delft University of Technology. This intensive extracurricular course is taken alongside the regular master’s course, and requires substantial motivation and dedication. The students who are admitted, develop their personal leadership style during the programme based on an initial personal assessment mapping their strengths, weaknesses and ambitions. Coaching, training and seminars with leaders in the corporate and public sectors are part of the programme. Students who are selected (25 in total each year) pay a small extra fee on top of their regular tuition fee. For Dutch-speaking students there is the Dutch Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP).


Study or internship abroad

Some programmes may allow you to follow a study abroad or internship abroad. This is an extra challenge for the most qualified students. 

If you choose to do an internship or to follow part of your Leiden study programme outside of the Netherlands, you may be eligible to apply for a grant covering part of the costs. This is possible through the Erasmus+ scheme for study, research or a traineeship in a European country, or through Leiden University Lustra+ scheme. Lustra+ is intended for study, internship or research at an institution or in a company outside Europe.

Dual master’s programme

This involves embarking upon two different university degrees at the same time. They can be complementary, or, they can be very different from one another. However, it is crucial that you obtain approval of the faculties involved. Please note that there may be an additional tuition fee involved.

Research master’s programmes

Most faculties offer two-year research master’s programmes, which are more intensive than the regular master’s programmes. They are designed for highly motivated students, and are a good preparation for a PhD study. 

Advanced master’s programmes

The Leiden University Law School offers these in-depth programmes which cover a specific area of legal expertise. Designed for excellent students with legal experience and qualified lawyers who wish to enhance their career prospects, classes are small and students benefit from close contact with professors and expert practitioners from the relevant legal field. 


When I was choosing a study programme, I particularly wanted to do one with an international perspective. What happens beyond borders has a direct effect on everything that goes on within those borders. So I opted for International Studies. I was also interested in politics, so I chose to study Political Science at the same time, combining the two. 

The university has so much to offer. When I started my master degree, there were heaps of opportunities for extra courses. I wanted to learn more and also followed courses outside my programme. And the different student organisations and associations were the perfect opportunity to get to know lots of people. That’s the reason I’m an Amnesty International volunteer, for example, and why I set up a student society in 2019: the MENA Student Association. We represent people from the Middle East, organising events relating to the region and culture, and striving to offer people from this region a safe place in which they don’t feel like outsiders due to their ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

I would describe myself as an idealist who wants to make the world a better place. You can also do that through small gestures, like helping a blind person with their shopping, for example. Eventually, I would like to be a diplomat, or fulfil my greatest ambition of becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs. Experience has taught me that whenever you open one door, another one opens too. There are endless opportunities to do things.

Zeineb Romdhane (23) Middle Eastern Studies