nl en

Elective Space Year 3


The elective space in the IRO Programme, ideally planned in Year 3 (30 EC in total), can be covered with any of the following elements:
a. Study Abroad
b. Electives
c. Minor
d. Research Internship & Electives

a. Study Abroad (30 EC)
Leiden University has exchange agreements with many partner universities abroad. Permission for a period of study abroad will only be granted if you have passed your all IRO courses of the 1st year, the period of study abroad fits in with the curriculum of the study programme and will not cause any delay in study progress. If you go abroad via an exchange agreement of Leiden University, you must have passed all IRO courses of the 1st year and have a grade average of at least a 7,0 at the time of application. Sometimes there is an additional language requirement.
It is also possible to go abroad as a “free mover” or visiting student if Leiden University does not have an exchange agreement. In that case, there are different requirements and arrangements.
Check the website for more information about possible destinations. You can contact the IRO Exchange Coordinator for questions about options for study abroad via an exchange agreement or alternative options.

  • See for more information the website or Brightspace page Academic Career Support IRO

  • Contact for information the IRO Exchange Coordinator via

b. Minor (30 or 15 EC)
Leiden university offers a wide range of deepening and broadening minors. Minors can be found in this online prospectus. Students can also pursue a minor at another Dutch university. Minors from other Dutch universities (except Delft or Rotterdam) need to be pre-approved by the Board of Examiners. The minor ‘Politics: Conflict and Consensus’, offered by the Institute of Political Science, cannot be taken by Political Science students.

c. Elective courses (30 EC)
You can select 30 EC of elective courses of your choice from Leiden University or another Dutch university. Usually students select electives in an area they would like to focus on in their future education. The Board of Examiners has to pre-approve your selection of electives in the IRO Elective space. If you are pursuing a second Bachelor degree or if you have completed university courses before, you can request the Board of Examiners to transfer the credits obtained and thus receive an exemption for the elective space. Contact your study adviser for this option.

d. Research Internship (15 EC):
The Research Internship should preferably be scheduled for the first semester of Year 3. Permission for an internship will only be granted if the internship is research based, if you have passed year 1 of the programme and obtained at least 40 EC of the second year, including the Research Methods in Political Science course, if the internship fits in with the curriculum of the study programme and will not cause any delay in study progress. The length of the internship must be at least ten weeks, with full-time working hours. An internship will normally be for 12 weeks or three months, including the writing of an internship process report and internship research report. Students are expected to take the initiative to find an internship position. You can find details about this element on the Brightspace page Academic Career Support IRO.

Guidance during the internship
During the internship you will have a supervisor from the Institute of Political Science and a supervisor at the internship organization. On beforehand, the roles between the different parties -student, internship organization and internal supervisor) are specified in an internship plan. The required forms for the internship plan can be found at the student website (see this link) and on the Brightspace page Academic Career Support IRO.
Only research internships that have been pre-approved are eligible for credits. This entails that the internship plan needs to be approved on beforehand by the Board of Examiners. This approval needs to be done via the internship coordinator through the e-mail address On the student website you can find an overview of all the requirements for a research internship for EC as well as all details about the procedure (see this link).

Internship Report
As part of the research internship for EC, a student needs to submit an internship report at the end of the internship period, which includes an internship process report (consisting of about 2 to 5 pages) and a substantial research report (at least 15 pages). Based on this internship report, grading will take place by the internal supervisor, with input from the supervisor at the internship organisation. When all elements are graded as sufficient, the EC will be granted.

For questions about the requirements and procedure of the research internship and the start of the procedure for approval of the internship proposal, contact the internship coordinator at
For more general information in the orientation phase and a check of how the research internship would fit in your individual study plan, you can contact your study advisor.

Note: as of 2024-25, participation in the Research Internship is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed and at least 40 EC of the second year have been obtained, including Academic Skills: Research Design (5 EC), Statistics II (5 EC) and Qualitative Research Methods (5 EC).