UCU offers a very particular curriculum, and a very particular style of teaching within a small international tight-knit community. There are of course other models of education, and taking an off-campus course can give students a refreshing look at how other faculties approach undergraduate teaching.

As well as experiencing different educational models, students have access to a broader course offering than is available at UCU, much of which is available in English. They can take additional specialist courses that afford extra depth in their particular areas of interest, or they can explore topics which add even more to the breadth of their curriculum.

UCU students typically take courses that are not offered at UCU but which complement their UCU curriculum, or they take courses which comprise specialist minors, for example, the Business and Entrepreneurship minor, or the Conflict Studies minor.

An off-campus course also allows students to engage with the wider UU student, teacher and research community, and to experience more of Dutch undergraduate culture.

Ideally, students are in their junior or senior year before they consider an off-campus course. The first year at UCU 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 (see below for link), they are entitled to sign up for it. 

Students can choose whether to have an off campus course added to their UCU transcript, or whether they will follow it outside their UCU curriculum. If a student wishes to have the course count towards UCU graduation requirements, they can request this in advance of taking the course from the Examination Board. 

“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

If you're interested in taking an off campus course, you can discuss it with your tutor. You can find courses in the UU course catalog in OSIRIS.

More information is also available at the page 'Off-campus courses', put together by the Academic Student Council.