Honours Education at Utrecht University; what does it imply?



University education is diverse and challenging. However, since every student is different, Utrecht University offers honours programmes for students who desire even more broadness and depth and would like to optimally develop their talents during their education. Each Bachelor’s programme offers an honours programme which starts in the second half of the first study year. Next to that there is a university wide honours programme for all Bachelor’s programmes: the Descartes College. For Master’s students various honours programmes are offered, as well as the university-wide Young Innovators programme. An overview of all programmes can be found on this page.


Broadness and Depth

An honours programme in Utrecht contains deepening as well as broadening elements. Honours students not only deepen their knowledge in their own discipline, but also develop their own excellent academic skills. This includes looking beyond the borders of their own field of study and providing multiple perspectives on common complicated issues.


Own Choices

To a large extent, students are able to compose their own honours programme so that their talents and ambitions can be optimally developed.



Students and teachers form an honours community, through which they inspire and stimulate each other. There is a lot of room for students’ own initiatives to organise activities, such as guest lectures by well-known scientists, discussions and debates, excursions and study trips abroad.



Honours students get acquainted with researchers both from within and outside their field of study in various projects at an early stage in the programme. The honours thesis offers students the chance to perform their own research on a topic of the student’s own choice.


International Experience

An internationally orientated careers market demands academics to be able to look beyond national and cultural borders and to function at an international level. Therefore, honours students are offered an international experience in their honours programme. This can consist of studying at a university abroad, a study trip with fellow students, a summer school, or a research project abroad.


Criteria and Final Results


Only the most talented and motivated students will be selected for an honours programme. For this, a combination of various factors are taken into account: grades, motivation, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities.


Progress Requirements

Throughout the course of the honours programme, regular checks are performed to see if students still meet the requirements. The factors that are checked include a high grade point average (GPA) and their progress in the regular study programme.



If all the requirements for the honours programme are satisfactorily met, students will receive a certificate.


Added Value

Honours students obtain an excellent starting position for their career and continuing education.


Are you a (honours) teacher at Utrecht University looking for more information about honours education at Utrecht University? Please visit the website of the Teaching Academy Utrecht University (TAUU; in Dutch only!) to find more information on honours education at the "kennisplatform".


Do you have a question or remark about this page? Please let us know.

General information