Off-campus courses are courses that students take at other institutions than UCU. In practice, most off-campus courses are taken at Utrecht University (UU), but students can also take off-campus courses at other Dutch universities, or even abroad.

Not all such courses are formally considered off-campus courses; exceptions include exchange courses, courses of a fixed program (e.g. TLP, China) and law courses for the double degree program in Liberal Arts & Sciences and Law.

Fulfilling master’s requirements

Even though UCU usually provides an excellent base for entering a master’s, some programs (especially natural science oriented master’s) require more than what UCU offers. Example: taking a course in advanced statistical physics to complement a physics track.

Expansion of major or minor

Some students take an off-campus course because they are interested in a sub-field of their major or minor that is not taught at UCU. Example: taking a course in advanced conflict mediation to complete a development studies track.

Broader interest

Others take an off-campus course simply because they have found an interesting course that is not necessarily related to their UCU curriculum. Example: taking a course in environmental economics while majoring in philosophy 

Timeslot clashes

For students who have timeslot clashes or who did not get a spot in the course they preferred, an off-campus course can be a solution. Example: taking a level 2 economics course at the Utrecht School of Economics.

Languages

Also for learning a new language not offered at UCU, or learning a language at a higher level than offered at UCU, off-campus courses can provide a solution. Examples: taking beginner Arabic or advanced Spanish.

The experience

Finally, an off-campus course can be an opportunity to experience a different learning and teaching environment - some argue that it is good to know how it is to live without the luxuries UCU provides, such as small classrooms and individual attention.

Students are entitled to take up to 22,5 EC of off-campus courses as part of their UCU curriculum (15 EC if you decide to go on exchange), to be taken after their first year. Off-campus courses taken as a 5th course do not count towards the maximum number of off-campus courses. 

Utrecht University

See the rest of this page.

Other Dutch universities

Contact the particular university you would like to take a course at for more information about their courses and procedures. The same UCU regulations apply as for UU courses (see below). 

Abroad

Many universities offer summer courses or winter courses for foreign students. You can find an overview of summer and winter programs offered by partner universities here.

The UU Course Catalogue

The official database in which all courses that the UU offers are registered is the UU Course Catalogue. Courses for future years may not be confirmed and will not appear in the catalogue until they are confirmed. Selecting the current academic year (‘2000’ refers to the academic year ‘2000-2001’) provides some idea about course offerings next year, but nothing is certain until final confirmation is made.

The Course Catalogue provides course descriptions, instructor/course coordinator contact information, and scheduling information for all courses listed. It also indicates whether particular courses can be taken as a subsidiary course (not all off-campus courses are open to students from other faculties). If you have questions about whether you would be eligible for a particular course, you can try to contact the instructor/coordinator for permission before attempting to register for it. 

The UU bachelor and student websites

The UU bachelor website contains a separate section for every bachelor program. Many of these sections provide an overview of the courses offered by that respective program. Unfortunately much of the information is only offered in Dutch. Programs may also list their courses on the student website.

Difficult to find?

The UU is a very big institution that offers many, many courses. This can make finding that one particular course a challenging experience. If you have difficulties with  finding the right course, or are not sure whether the course you found suits your needs, it might be smart to gather advice before you make a final decision. See below for possible sources of advice.

If you need advice on whether you need to take an off-campus course, if you have troubles finding the right course or if you want to know whether the course you selected is a smart choice, there are four sources you can consult:

Tutor

It is always important to consult your tutor when making decisions regarding your curriculum. Your tutor can guide you through the procedures you have to follow when registering for an off-campus course and can give you useful advice.

Fellows

Fellows are UCU’s track supervisors. They know what UCU offers within their discipline and what not, what is offered at the UU and what is needed to enter a good master’s. They are your best source of information if you want to find out the best way to enrich your curriculum within a specific discipline.

Master’s institutions

Since off-campus courses are a good way to increase your chances to get into and be successful in a master’s, it is good to know what courses master’s institutions require you to have taken. 

The Academic Student Council (ASC)

Whenever you experience difficulties with choosing or getting into the right off-campus course, the Academic Student Council is there to help. Their experience with UCU procedures and network within the UU and other Dutch universities can be helpful sources of information.

You are responsible yourself for registering for an off-campus course. The dates for the registration period for each course (these vary across the different faculties of the university) are provided in the OSIRIS course description. Make sure to register for these courses in this period, otherwise you will need to register via the Studiepunt for the faculty, which is only possible in exceptional cases (if at all).  

Registrations happens, again, through OSIRIS: log in, go to the ‘Register’ page and follow the instructions. If you experience problems, you have to contact the student desk of the faculty that offers the course.

In order to make an off-campus course count towards your individual UCU curriculum, it needs to be approved by your tutor and the Exam Board. This needs to happen through the curriculum request form, which you can fill in online, at least one week before the start of the UCU semester.

Language

It is important to note that most UU courses, including language courses, are in Dutch. Only the Utrecht School of Economics, located on our campus, offers an English equivalent of all of their courses; at other faculties, only few are in English.

Different semesters

While UCU’s academic year is divided into two semesters, the UU year is divided into four quarters (‘blokken’). The UU’s academic calendar can be found on the UU website. Note that the second and fourth quarter end a few weeks later than the UCU semesters, which allows for a bigger spread of the workload, but might on the other hand conflict with plans in the winter and summer breaks (you might even have to arrange alternative housing because the 4th quarter sometimes runs beyond the deadline for leaving campus!). Furthermore, you might not be sure about placements in off-campus courses in quarter 2 or 4 before the start of the UCU semester. Counting on that course as part of the 30EC semester requirement is thus risky. 

Different time-slots

The UU timeslots are more extensive than the UCU time-slots, e.g. timeslot A (=A1+A2). Some faculties even use two double time-slots, e.g. A+D. In addition, afternoon classes usually start at 13:15 instead of 13:45.

Assessment

The UU uses the Dutch grading scale (1.0 - 10.0) instead of the UCU grading scale. The final grades of a course are rounded off to half scores (e.g. a 7.7 will become a 7.5). The UCU grade that will appear on your final transcript is based on this final grade and conversed according to a conversion table that can be found on this page. Please note that because of the rounding-off policies of the UU, getting an A-, B- of C- for a course is not possible. Additionally, the final grade of a UU course can be based on one exam that counts for 100%, which means that there is no other test to compensate for one insufficient grade; on the other hand, the retake policies for the UU faculties apply to your off-campus courses as well. Information about that can be found on the website of the respective faculty (note that retake periods are often scheduled in the first week of January or the third week of August!).

Teaching format

At the UU, classes usually meet in two different formats: lectures (‘hoorcolleges’) and tutorials (‘werkgroepen’). During lectures, big groups of students usually listen to the lecturer without interaction. During tutorials, students usually make assignments in small groups and can interact with the teacher.

Level

In the past, students have had different experiences with the level of regular UU courses as compared to our own UCU courses. Some indicated that they found it much easier, whereas others mentioned that they had difficulties with the high level, because of the difference in prerequisite knowledge between them and their fellow students.

Workload

Due to shorter duration of most 7.5 EC UU off-campus courses (10 week blocks), weekly workload may be higher than that of a UCU course. 

Locations

The UU courses take place at a variety of locations, distributed throughout the city. You can find the location of your lectures and tutorials on the ‘Schedule’ page of OSIRIS. To know where to go to, see UU buildings.

Exact definitions, rules and procedures regarding off-campus courses are described in the Academic Rules and Regulations of your cohort. For any other questions, approach your tutor or the Academic Student Council (asc@uu.nl).