Are you an outstanding and highly motivated student and looking for extra challenges? Then you might be eligible for one of the Honours programmes.

U.S.E. offers an honours programme, in which extra challenge is key, and which aims to encourage students to develop their talents and ambitions. 

The U.S.E. Honours programme is a two and a half year program you can follow on top of your regular courses. It is specially designed for students who want to challenge themselves and wish to get the maximum out of their time at U.S.E.. Students of the Honours programme take tutorials in smaller groups taught by senior faculty such that topics can be discussed in more depth and in greater detail. In addition, they initiate and participate in extracurricular activities which enable them to develop more extensively their academic and professional skills.  

The Honours programme facilitates an environment in which you can actively explore and integrate insights from other disciplines, such as geography, social sciences and law.

In the honours programme you use this multidisciplinary perspective to study real world issues. In doing so you not only build upon established knowledge but also on latest insights, which together creates an unique learning experience.

More information:

Entrance requirements

  • an average mark of 7 for the courses in period 1
  • passed the courses Multidisciplinary Economics and Mathematics for Economists without a retake.


Requirements to stay within the programme

We offer a challenging programme with dynamic and interactive teaching and specific guidance.

After being admitted to the honours programme we expect you to actively participate in the courses and the extracurricular activities and become a member of the honours community. You have to leave the programme if you:

  • have not contributed the minimum required study effort; or
  • have more than one retake in the academic year concerned; or
  • have not attained an average mark of 7; or
  • have not actively participated in the extra-curricular activities.

If you meet the requirements you can apply through:

Send a motivation letter to the Honours Programme Committee (, in which you state your motivation why you would like to join the programme and how you feel you might contribute to the program (1 A4 max.)
Please also include a C.V. and a letter of recommendation from your tutor (please send all this in a single file, named #lastname#_honours.doc).

Deadline: December 10 2018.


The honours programme is a two and a half year programme within the Bachelor of Economics and Business programme. The first two semesters you will attend honours specific variants of the following required courses:

Year 1

  • Strategy and Organisation
  • Macroeconomics, A European Perspective

Year 2

  • Intermediate Microeconomics, Games and Behaviour
  • Econometrics

Optional courses

Besides these honours variants of the regular courses you have to choose two optional honours courses. These optional honours courses enable the fulfilment of the requirement of six honours courses in total.

You are allowed (and even encouraged) to take more optional honours courses.

Utrecht University, the Faculty Law, Economics and Governance and the Utrecht University School of Economics offer optional courses for honours students:

Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Period 4
Urbanisation and Geography The Real-world Perspective  Creating Societal Impact: Interdisciplinary cooperation and contributing to public value

The future of  inter-national development cooperation: Scenarios for 2025


One Health

Descartes cursus: Een waaier aan wetenschap  Descartes cursus: Wetenschap in maatschappelijke context
Descartes cursus: Humaniteit: van robotica tot genetica  Descartes cursus: De eenentwintigste eeuw


The Real World Perspective (ECHRWP)

This course consists of writing a weekly blog that the course coordinator prof. Maarten Goos will post on his blogsite (this blog is widely read by journalists, policy makers, colleagues, his former students,…). These blogs will be applying what you learned about economics to real world problems. Although writing these blogs might seem an easy task, you will soon realize that it is not and that it is testing you to your limits.

Subscription for the course: mail Student Desk Economics


Urbanisation and Geography (ECHUG)

The course Urbanisation and Geography analyses the ongoing processes of urbanisation and agglomeration from an economic perspective with a multidisciplinary state of mind. As such it provides an introduction into the fields of Urban Economics and Geographical Economics.

The learning objectives are:

  • Understand empirical information regarding economic data, including the ability to critically appraise and characterize these data.
  • Understand and critically appraise the main theories of Urban Economics.
  • Understand and critically appraise the main theories of Geographical Economics.
  • Discuss, present, and critically evaluate different theories in light of available data.

Subscription for the course: mail Student Desk Economics


Creating Social Impact (USG4541)

This course is a selective honors course for students from the Law Colleges, the honours programme of the Utrecht University School of Economics, the Utrecht University School of Governance and University College Utrecht.
The purpose of this course is to let you design, develop and implement interdisciplinary projects that have a concrete and direct bearing on society, and to let you experience boundary-crossing learning.
Our society is in need of interdisciplinary problem-solving. Many issues have become so complex that they can no longer be solved  in a direct or simple way. These so-called ‘wicked problems’, such as socio-economic inequality, integration of minorities, or the rising costs of the health care system, call for an interdisciplinary approach towards problem-solving, in which economic, legal, governmental and other fields come together. By letting students from the departments of Law, Economics, Governance and University College Utrecht work together on such wicked problems, the Dean’s Honors Course will contribute to public value in our society.
Next to introductory sessions on topical wicked problems, interdisciplinary cooperation and public value, four task groups of four students will be formed. The task groups will be fully interdisciplinary, with one representative of each of the participating departments. In the task group you select a recent and contested public issue that you both research from different disciplinary perspectives and for which you formulate a strategy to create public value related to the public issue at stake.
The end result or the product of your work will be presented during a plenary (and public) meeting in the presence of the supervisors and the deans of the faculty Law, Economics and Governance and the Utrecht University College. The so called ‘products’ may have very different shapes: from presenting a report, a plan, an experiment to an exhibition or a short seminar with stakeholders. 

Subscription for the course: Student Desk Governance


The Future of International Development Cooperation: Scenarios for 2025

Seven meetings on trends, possibilities and limitations of Third World Development. The last meeting everybody presents and discusses the outcomes of different scenarios. For more information and subscription contact prof. Wieger Bakker.


One Health (BMW33214)

The course “OneHealth” has been developed to appeal to multidisciplinary Honours students from: veterinary, (bio-) medical, and pharmaceutical sciences. In addition, students from management sciences, law or economics are encouraged to participate if they have particular interest in this topic.

Students are actively involved in creating an interesting and challenging course. Subgroups of six students from different backgrounds choose their own theme for the whole course. Exemplary themes include One Health issues like Q-fever, MRSA, brucellosis, toxoplasmosis, avian influenza or MERS. Students are encouraged to contact experts on subjects not yet or incompletely covered in the course, but required for their chosen topic or for all students in the course. Students will be stimulated to organize excursions to topic-linked destinations.
In the first weeks of the course, supportive and informative plenary lectures will be scheduled, presented by experts in every relevant discipline (clinical-, veterinary-, biomedical-, pharmacological-aspects, burden of disease, zoonotic outbreak management, considerations from the past). In addition, they will attend workshops to train their interdisciplinary research skills. Throughout the course, student groups will work on their own project, guided by a mentor, who will discuss problems and make plans on a weekly basis.

Subscription: via course coordinator Frank Coenjaerts.


In addition, you will organise and participate in extracurricular activities. Think of activities such as organising a congress, a debate, a field trip, writing a ‘popular science’ book, or writing a blog. You will finish the programme with an honours thesis.


The Descartes honours programme is interdisciplinary and differ from other bachelor honours courses due to their broad nature, covering various fields. The Descartes courses enable you to see how your own discipline relates to others. You will enter into discussion with the best students and teachers from other specialisations. Each course reflects upon the academic disciplines from a different perspective. You can take the honours courses in the second and third year of your degree.

The language of the courses is Dutch.

Signing up and the selection process
Bachelor's students who are motivated and have broad interests can sign up for selection for the Descartes programme at the end of the first year of their Bachelor's programme. Are you already an honours student? In that case you do not need to take part in the selection process and you can sign up directly (each semester) for one or more courses at the Descartes programme.

More information
For more information and courses offered, go to Descartes College or contact our team at