Universiteit Leiden

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Registering new programmes

If you have an idea for a new degree programme, be aware that the registration procedure is complex and time-consuming. Your faculty, the Executive Board, the Efficiency Committee for Higher Education (CDHO) and the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) must all approve.

New degree programme procedure

We recommend that you contact the Academic Affairs Directorate as soon as possible if you wish to submit plans for a new programme. They can explore the options with you and help prepare the necessary paperwork.

The procedure for starting a new programme is as follows:

  • The faculty
    Begin by discussing your plans with your faculty. Your Faculty Board must agree.

  • The Executive Board
    If the Faculty Board agrees with your plans, it discusses them with the Executive Board. Together they consider whether the degree programme corresponds with the profile of Leiden University, the expected level of student interest, the cost of the programme and so on. They also consider whether employers require graduates from this programme. The Executive Board must agree with the plans.

  • The Minister of Education, Culture and Science/CDHO
    If the Executive Board agrees with the plans, they are submitted to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The Minister is responsible for an efficient division of labour between institutions of higher education. The Minister asks CDHO to investigate on the basis of the paperwork that you provide. It looks, for instance, at employer needs, expected intake and comparable existing degree programmes. If the CDHO reaches a positive verdict, the University receives official permission from the Minister.

  • NVAO
    If the University has received the Minister’s permission, it asks NVAO to accredit the programme. NVAO considers whether the programme meets the quality requirements. The accreditation includes a visit to the University from an expert panel, which meets the faculty board, the programme director, the lecturers and any students. You must also submit paperwork for this.

  • The Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes (CROHO)
    If NVAO reaches a positive verdict, the programme is added to CROHO and you may begin recruiting and registering students. The new programme may officially begin.

  • Leiden Register of Degree Programmes
    The University Council and Board of Governors must issue their approval of the annual Leiden Register of Degree Programmes before the Executive Board establishes it.

How long does it take to launch a new degree programme?

It is hard to say how much time the application procedure for a new degree programme will take. It depends on the questions asked by the various authorities. Expect an average of one to one-and-a-half years from when you submit the paperwork to CDHO to when the new programme can begin.


Do you have questions on the CDHO and NVAO procedure? Please contact your Faculty Education Office. At the deparment of Academic Affairs Jesse Bruins is responsible for this topic.

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