Honours is a complex matter, because Utrecht University (and other Dutch universities) use it in different ways, however the following might help remove some doubts and uncertainties:

  1. UCU is an honours college, it is in fact a highly selective programme, where students are constantly stimulated to deepen their studies, to broaden their horizons, and develop their talents as much they can. UCU students are students (and later, graduates) of an honours college. That we are an honours college will come to be printed on each UCU transcript.
  2. Technically, though, not everyone at UCU is an honours student. University rules prevent us from saying that; faculties designate only a small minority of their students as honours students, and we have to follow that logic as well. However, besides the UCU diploma, UCU graduates can apply for a UU honours certificate. In the consideration of rewarding this certificate, an excellent academic performance, including extra credits are essential, as well as curriculum enrichment experiences and a personal motivation.
  3. UCU students may apply for courses offered by any Bachelors Honours Programme at Utrecht University. 

Please carefully read the FAQ about Honours at UCU: about Honours Programmes at the UU, the participation of UCU students in them and their place in our curriculum; about our curriculum enrichment options; and about the UU Honours Certificate.

Is UCU an Honours College? Are UCU students Honours Students?

UCU is an Honours College, because it is a selective program of Utrecht University. Our students can rightfully say they are students (or later, graduates) of an Honours college. That we are an honours college will come to be printed on each UCU transcript. UCU students may apply for courses offered by any Bachelors Honours Programme at the UU.

Is UCU a UU Honours Programme?

No, not in the strict sense as defined below, but UCU is an Honours College and offers Honours activities (curriculum enrichment options) that are open (some upon additional selection) to all UCU students.

What is a UU Honours Programme?

A UU honours programme typically consists of honours activities —above and beyond one's bachelor graduation requirements— that add breadth, depth and international character to one’s bachelor experience: for instance, extra courses, stay abroad, evening lectures, extra thesis. Outside UCU, all Bachelors at the UU offer honours programmes to 10% of their students. Typically students are selected in their first year and, if admitted, they —and only they— can join their honours programme. Some programmes also offer interdisciplinary courses, to which honours students of all faculties can apply (see below).

May UCU students apply for honours courses offered by UU Honours Programmes?

Yes! All UCU students may apply to participate in honours courses offered by any UU Honours Programme, since UCU students are Honours students. Find some examples of these courses here. The Honours Director will make sure this page is updated when she hears of new interdisciplinary courses offered at the UU. She will send an email to all students and all tutors. Very successful interdisciplinary courses in Dutch are offered at the Descartes College. The application criteria differ per courses. And so does the language in which they are offered —many are in English, however students who are interested in a course should carefully read the description, and if anything is unclear, they should contact the course coordinator. They are usually very eager to welcome UCU students and will be delighted to answer any question. These courses need to be taken on top of the 180 ECTS needed to graduate. This implies that one needs either to have earned 7.5 ECTS earlier on (for instance, by having attended a summer course), or to earn 7.5 ECTS in the summer term after completing them.

Who can apply for a UU Honours certificate?

All Honours students at the UU may apply for the honours certificate if and only if they have successfully completed an honours programme on top of their bachelor programme. The honours programme is reserved for students who have been selected as honours students and differs for every bachelor programme. Therefore the requirements for applying for an honours certificate differ.

At UCU we strongly believe in giving the opportunity to students to design their own education, thus we do not have a fixed honours programme that needs to be completed by all who wish to earn a certificate.

At UCU we make sure that motivated and brave students can explore options above and beyond the courses they need to take in order to graduate; i.e. options that add even more breadth, depth, and international character to their bachelor experience. For example:

  • We offer the unique student led honours seminar. Students may design their own course: UCUINTHON32. This course needs to be taken on top of the 180ECTS needed for graduation. Thanks to this rule, we can keep it as an experimental course, which falls outside the jurisdiction of the Board of Studies and of the Exam Board. N.B. One should not take this course as a 5th course, since it is a very intensive course. This implies that one needs either to have earned 7.5 ECTS earlier on (for instance, by having attended a summer course), or to earn 7.5 ECTS in the summer term after completing them.
  • We facilitate curriculum enrichment options. These are very mixed bag of possibilities for expanding one’s own curriculum beyond graduation requirements: some of these options are UCU courses, some are UU courses, and some are not courses at all.
  • We give the opportunity to students with a GPA of 3.7 and above to write an Honours Thesis next to their regular thesis. These students receive an invitation from their Head of Department to write an honours thesis, which they can either accept or decline.

All our students can apply to any of the above, if they meet the respective criteria. All the above are unique opportunities to enhance their curriculum, and all can be mentioned in the motivation letter they will write to accompany their UCU graduate diploma (bachelor’s degree), i.e. the diploma of an Honours college, when applying for masters or for jobs.

If UCU students, after their graduation, wish to apply for the UU honours certificate, they need to meet the following requirements

  • a minimum overall GPA of 3.6 (of the 3 years, no rounding up)
  • no history of social or academic probation
  • at least 2 Curriculum Enrichment options, e.g. participation in the student-led honours course (INTHON32), or other courses at UCU, UU or elsewhere that you regard as worth mentioning;
  • at least 20 extra ECTS or more on top of the 180 necessary to graduate.
  • some international experience (it does not need to be a full semester abroad)

These requirements can be met in different ways by different students. If the students who meet these requirements decide to apply for the UU Honours Certificate, they need to follow the procedure specified on the UCU website.

For any questions, send an email to Chiara Robbiano (C.Robbiano@uu.nl).

For more questions about Honours programmes and the Honours certificate please contact Chiara Robbiano