Mandela Scholarship Fund – Leiden University

The Mandela Scholarship is intended for South African students, who want to study at Leiden University for one semester in order to extend their knowledge and contribute to the development of South Africa.

Deadline   –   1 October for programmes starting in February / 1 April for programmes starting in September

Target group – Bachelor, Master

Countries/ nationalities    –   Permanent residents of South Africa

Scholarship type – Study

Faculty – Archaeology, Humanities, Medicine/LUMC, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Science, Interfacultair Centrum voor Lerarenopleiding, Onderwijsontwikkeling en Nascholing (ICLON), African Studies Centre, International Institute for Asian Studies

For who

South African students, who intend to return to South Africa and contribute to national development after their studies at Leiden University.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must be:

  • permanent residents of South Africa.
  • enrolled at a South African University.
  • motivated to upgrade or extend their knowledge in order to make a contribution towards the development of South Africa.


Students must return to South Africa after their studies.

Scholarship or loan amount
Duration: one semester (maximum 5 months)

The scholarship includes:

Tuition fees for a one-semester study abroad programme (if applicable)
Note: exchange students are exempted from tuition fees on the basis of the exchange agreement
Living allowance: € 1000 per month
Insurance sponsored by AON Student Insurance and arranged by Leiden University’s Scholarships Team
Application process
Submit an online application for admission for an exchange/study abroad course at Leiden University.
Once you have been admitted to an exchange/study abroad course, complete the Mandela scholarship application form.
Submit your completed scholarship application form as scanned email attachment to: Make sure to attach all required documents, namely:
Exchange/study abroad admission letter from Leiden University
Scholarship motivation letter
Recent transcript of records from your South African University
Up-to-date CV
Photocopy of your valid passport(s)
Two original letters of recommendation (one of which should be from an academic staff member)
Documentation showing the status of any other grants you have applied for
Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself in the Netherlands (the Mandela scholarship does not cover all expenses). This can take form of:
a student grant letter showing the exact amount and duration of your grant, or
a recent bank statement in your name, or
a notary statement declaring that your parents have sufficient financial means to support you

Selection process
The selection committee will review all applications and select scholarship recipients on the basis of academic merit, motivation and prospects for future contribution towards the development of South Africa.
Candidates will be informed of the outcome by the Scholarships Team:
– In June, for programmes beginning in September
– In November, for programmes beginning in February
The student is responsible for submitting a complete application, according to the steps described above and before the aforementioned deadline. Leiden University cannot be held responsible for late and/or incomplete applications.