Off-campus courses are courses that students take at other institutions than University College Utrecht. In practice, most off-campus courses are taken at Utrecht University, 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 University College Utrecht usually provides an excellent base for entering a master’s, some programs (especially natural science oriented master’s) require more than what the college 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 University College Utrecht. Example: taking a course in advanced conflict mediation to complete a development studies track.
Others take an off-campus course simply because they have found an interesting course that is not necessarily related to their curriculum. Example: taking a course in environmental economics while majoring in philosophy
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.
Also for learning a new language not offered at University College Utrecht, or learning a language at a higher level than offered at the college, off-campus courses can provide a solution. Examples: taking advanced Spanish.
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 University College Utrecht provides, such as small classrooms and individual attention.
Ideally, students are in their second year before they consider an off-campus course. The first year at University College Utrecht is important for settling into the intensive study routine, mastering English as an academic language, and building an understanding of the curriculum.
As long as a student meets the pre-requisites for an off-campus course, as stated in the course outline on OSIRIS, they are entitled to sign up for it.
Students are entitled to take up to 22,5 EC of off-campus courses as part of their 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.
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 regulations apply as for Utrecht University courses (see below).
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 bachelor and student websites
The 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?
Utrecht University 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:
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 are University College Utrecht’s track supervisors. They know what the college offers within their discipline and what not, what is offered at Utrecht University and what is needed to enter a good Master’s programme. They are your best source of information if you want to find out the best way to enrich your curriculum within a specific discipline.
Since off-campus courses are a good way to increase your chances to get into and be successful in a Master’s programme, it is good to know what courses Master’s programme 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 University College Utrecht procedures and network within Utrecht University and other Dutch universities can be helpful sources of information.
“I took 4 off-campus courses: Economics of the Public Sector, Microeconomics, Game Theory and Econometrics. The first two were just substituting for UCU courses I couldn’t take at UCU due to scheduling conflicts. They would have been part of my UCU experience, so they didn’t add much to my curriculum. On the other hand, I took Game Theory and Econometrics, both at the Department of Mathematics, to expand my curriculum and experience a different way of teaching.
The material was very interesting and I enjoyed the courses very much. Both courses were very challenging, and I put lots of effort to understand the material and do well. They trained me to be more rigorous and scientific in my approach to the discipline. In particular, Econometrics gave me very strong foundational basis. I doubt I would have been able to get the internship at the Nederlandsche Bank if I hadn’t taken that course and done well. During the internship, I applied models that I studied in Econometrics, but I also had to learn new models that the training I had got made me grasp relatively easily.
Attending courses at the main university was a refreshing experience. Simply biking towards the Uithof was nice! UU students were interested in what they were doing and clearly valued the education that they were getting. Both classes were relatively small (about 30 in one case and 15 in the other) so we had the opportunity to ask questions and the teachers were very approachable."
–Fede Torracchi, Class of 2008
"I am planning to pursue a career in the field of corporate sustainability after UCU. Though UCU offers a lot of courses, there are unfortunately not many courses in sustainability, and none in business. Therefore, I took the opportunity of doing a minor in business at the Utrecht School of Economics, and other off-campus courses at the UU. Off-campus courses are quite different compared to UCU courses. It is another way of teaching and the classes are usually bigger. It definitely is something you have to get used to - but I loved them. Taking off-campus courses is a great way to gain knowledge in the subjects you are really interested in and to design your curriculum the way you like to have it. This way, I can still apply for master programs with business prerequisites with a UCU degree. Moreover, you get to know other students from various studies, other teachers and it is a good way to burst the UCU bubble!"
–Cato Bui, class of 2016
"The off campus course is definitely refreshing when it comes to its setting and the structure of the course: a lot of the lectures were held at different (very cool) locations in the uithof. Structure-wise, I liked the fact that the off-campus course consisted of many guest lecturers, so we got to hear the different perspectives and works by specialists within the field of Ecohydrology. I also liked the excursion and how we implemented our hands-on knowledge of that experience in the classroom/lab, when we had to model the findings. Another huge plus in an off-campus course: the lab resources. The Uithof has many awesome labs and great equipment. For Ecohydrology, we learned to work with GIS in GISlabs in the Geosciences building (Unnik). I learned not to underestimate off campus courses despite their being rumoured to be easier than on-campus courses. Due to the different structure of the course, I really had to get used to a new way of studying again. Class sizes were a little bit bigger, but still allowed for student-teacher interaction. It's good to realise that, even when the course is in English, the teachers and class are, for the majority, Dutch, so a little flexibility is necessary! I would definitely recommend that UCU'ers enrich their curriculum with a course off campus. It is a refreshing perspective on your academic experience as a UCU student."
–Naomi van den Berg, class of 2016
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.
To add an off campus course to your UCU degree program, it must be approved by your tutor and the Exam Board before the UCU semester begins. Please ensure that an off campus course request is submitted at the latest one week before the start of the UCU semester in which you would like to take the off campus course.
It is important to note that most Utrecht University 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.
While University College Utrecht’s academic year is divided into two semesters, the Utrecht University year is divided into four quarters (‘blokken’). The UU academic calendar can be found on the Utrecht University website. Note that the second and fourth quarter end a few weeks later than the University College Utrecht 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 semester at University College Utrecht. Counting on that course as part of the 30EC semester requirement is thus risky.
The Utrecht University timeslots are more extensive than the University College Utrecht timeslots, 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.
The UU uses the Dutch grading scale (1.0 - 10.0) instead of the University College Utrecht's 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 University College Utrecht 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 Utrecht University, getting an A-, B- of C- for a course is not possible. Additionally, the final grade of a Utrecht University 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!).
At Utrecht University, 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.
In the past, students have had different experiences with the level of regular Utrecht University courses as compared to our own 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.
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.
The Utrecht University 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.