Frequently asked questions

Below you can find most frequently used terms and asked questions about the Honours College FSW and the answers for prospective honours students. If your question is not on the list, don’t hesitate to contact the Honours College FSW ambassadors.

Frequently used terms

  • Honours College (HC): An extracurricular program of 30 ECs, spread out over 3 years. Each Faculty offers its own Honours track, with several subtracks. Some Faculties offer tracks that are open to students from all degree programmes (like the Honours College FSW), others are open only to students from a specific degree programme (e.g., the Law and Medicine Honours Colleges). Within a given Honours College, you always choose one specific track.

  • Honours track or HC-track: The sub-programme you choose within the Honours College. Within the Honours College FSW, you can choose between the Faculty Track Wetenschap & Samenleving (in Dutch) or Science & Society (in English), the Individual Track, or the Double Bachelor+ Track.

  • Honours Academy (HA): The umbrella organization that coordinates all Honours activities of the different faculties. The HA also organizes the Honours Classes. An Honours Class can be taken by Honours students from all BA and BSc programmes at Leiden University.  

  • Honours Class: An interdisciplinary course of 5 EC. It is an Honours elective. You can choose from a large number of Honours Classes, each with their own theme. An Honours Class can be taken by Honours students from all BA and BSc programmes at Leiden University.   
  • Honours Module: A short, Faculty-wide interdisciplinary course, worth 5 ECs, that you can take with Honours students from all the degree programmes at the FSW as part of your Honours track.

  • Leiden Honours Community Foundation (SLHC - Stichting Leiden Honours Community): The Leiden Honours Community Foundation (SLHC) is a network of and for honours students from Leiden University. As a member of SLHC you can take part in many activities including workshops, social events, and the annual study trip.

What Honours tracks are there?

Faculty tracks:

There are more Faculty tracks in Dutch (see the Dutch FAQ page). In addition there are three Faculty tracks that are only open to the students of the Faculty in question: the Beta and Life Science HC, the Medicine HC, and the Law HC (for students of Mathematics and Physics, Medicine, and Law, respectively).

What is the Individual Track?

In this track you put together your own programme in consultation with the Honours Coach of your own faculty. Read more about the Individual Track.

What is the Double Bachelor+ Track?

You can take this track if you are taking two Bachelor’s degree programmes at the same time. The rule is that both Bachelor’s programmes must be completed within four years. In addition, you take one 5 EC Honours Class (this is what the + stands for).

Does the Honours College cost extra?

No, there is no extra fee for participation in the Honours College. The University is glad to invest in you if you are motivated and are focused on expanding your knowledge. If you pick the FSW-track, you even go on a week-long study trip to another country in your 3rd year for free (destinations have included Istanbul, Athens, and Berlin). You may sometimes have to pay for extra materials, such as an extra textbook, but this is rare.

Can I join the Honours College if I want to study abroad for a time?

Yes, if you want to study abroad as part of your Bachelor’s programme you can still take part in the Honours College. In most cases the best time to go abroad is in the 1st semester of your 3rd year, where you have the most freedom to choose your own electives. The regulations of the Honours College state that a student can also request permission to do part of Honours College at a university abroad. The permission depends on your study progress and the type of courses you propose to take abroad. If you stay abroad for less than six months, this normally poses no problems. If you plan to stay longer than six months, different arrangements may need to be made.

Why join the Honours College?

First and foremost, Honours is a lot of fun, interesting, and offers you the opportunity to make new friends. The teaching in the Honours College is provided by inspiring lecturers, and your fellow students are all just as motivated as you! You will get the opportunity to do more research, investigate different areas of your chosen subject, or explore another area of knowledge. Your Honours courses will be recorded on the grade transcript of your Bachelor’s degree, and you also receive an Honours College certificate. You can then put this on your CV. It shows that you have explored your chosen field more broadly and deeply than the majority of students and can rise to an extra challenge. Often this will put you at an advantage over the rest!

Do I always have to be present at Honours activities?

Yes. Attendance is compulsory for all meetings, including the Honours fieldtrips. That can sometimes take a bit of getting used to, and may differ from your regular courses. It is not possible to make up Honours meetings if you miss them. So one of the conditions when you start the Honours track is that you commit to attending all elements of your programme. After all, one of the key aspects of the Honours College is high-level exchange within a small group, and you are an essential part of that group. So in that way the Honours track is also an exercise in planning and making choices. The Honours schedules are announced well in advance, and are planned as much as possible at times that do not overlap with compulsory lectures in your own degree programme. But you will need to plan carefully when scheduling seminars etc. as part of your regular degree programme, and you will need to inform the organizers of your degree programme when you are available and when you are not. There are several subgroups within the Honours track, so before the start of your Honours year you can indicate that a different subgroup would suit you better. It is not possible to switch groups after the start of the Honours track.

What is the difference between Honours College and Leiden University College (LUC) in The Hague?

LUC is a broad-based English Bachelor’s degree programme (Liberal Arts) of 180 EC, where you live with your fellow students in the same building. The Honours College is an extra programme of 30 EC that you take alongside your regular degree programme in Leiden or The Hague. HC-students also have their own location – Oude Sterrenwacht – where some of the Honours College classes are taught and some of the activities are organized, but it is not residential.

I want to complete my first year first and then (maybe) join the Honours College. Can I do this?

Yes, you can join Honours College at the start of your 2nd year. If you do this you will miss the introductory module (5EC) that every Honours track starts with. This is not a major problem. You will just have to catch up those 5EC in your 2nd and 3rd year to make up the total of 30EC for your Honours Certificate.

What grade do I need to have to join the Honours College?

Government regulations state that to join the Honours College you have to be among the top 10% of your Bachelor’s course. The university therefore requires an average grade of 7.5 or higher. However, if you haven’t achieved this average grade yet, but still want to join the Honours College, don’t hesitate to apply anyway! Make sure you write a good letter explaining your motivation. Having broad interests and high motivation is also important and therefore contributes to acceptance into Honours College.

I am not studying at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, can I still take the FSW-track?

Of course! Students from other disciplines are very welcome to apply for the Honours FSW-track!

I am taking two Bachelor’s programmes, can I also do an Honours track?

Absolutely! You can still take part in any of the Honours tracks. The faculty (FSW) tracks are a lot of fun, but if you’re taking two Bachelor’s programmes you can also choose to take the Double Bachelor+ Track. The rule is that both Bachelor’s programmes must be completed within four years. In addition, you take one 5 EC Honours Class (this is what the + stands for).  

Will I have spare time left if I join the Honours College?

Of course you will have spare time left! Many Honours students are also members of a student association, have a part-time job, or take part in a variety of other extracurricular activities and hobbies. You may have to weigh up your priorities at times, but that’s life. To find out what else our students do, read their stories on this page.

What kind of courses can you take?

The exact combination of courses you can take depends largely on which Honours track you choose. Your first year in the FSW track counts for 5EC. You take part in 5 seminars that cover the whole range of the social sciences. In addition, you learn specific skills relating to oral and written presentation and debating. In the second year you put together your own package of 15EC from a wide selection of special Honours modules, mini-internships, and extra courses within your own discipline. In your 3rd year, you attend lectures, extend your Bachelor’s thesis, and take part in a study trip abroad. Read more about the programme for the FSW-track. 

Every Honours student takes at least one Honours Class, which is independent of which track you are taking. More information about the Honours Classes.

Last Modified: 04-09-2017