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University College Maastricht - Fall, Spring & Year
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network
Academic Information
Program Overview
*There will not be a Dutch Culture and Language Program (DCL) for the 2013-14 spring semester.
There will be a 3-day orientation prior to the start of the spring term at Universoty College Maastricht.

University College Maastricht

University College Maastricht (UCM) attracts highly motivated and ambitious students from all over the world and utilizes the Problem-Based Learning approach to studying (PBL). UCM offers the opportunity to study in English in the Netherlands at a small liberal arts college that provides a broad perspective on the world and the intellectual tools necessary to analyze contemporary problems in science and society. Classes are small and emphasize independent learning and group process. The approach is interdisciplinary, and students build their own curriculum from courses offered in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, including practical skills workshops and academic core courses. Classrooms are situated in a 17th-century former monastery amid gardens.
UCM aims to establish a unique intellectual community among its students and faculty and a sense of common purpose through intensive intellectual and social exchange in the liberal arts. The college curriculum and learning environment provide intensive contact among students and teachers. You will be trained in analytical tools and scientific methods and taught to ask fundamental questions about scientific and social issues.
Academic Culture

​The Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Approach

The courses at Maastricht do not follow a traditional lecture format. The university uses a distinctive Problem-Based Learning (PBL) methodology where you will work in small groups (10–12 students) on tasks (“problems”) and set your own learning objectives based on your background, education, and work experience. Learning in this system takes a thematic, interdisciplinary approach so that both theoretical and practical issues are integrated. PBL is similar to graduate seminar work at UC. It is challenging and requires a combination of individual initiative and collaborative project management.
The core of PBL is the tutorial that meets for two hours twice a week. You will analyze problems from the Block Book, which provides you with tasks and study material, and defines your learning goals. The group will then disperse and you can work to reach these goals individually or with others. In each tutorial meeting, you will discuss the results of your study activities. A tutor (a lecturer or a senior student) also attends the meetings and serves as a subject expert. The tutor may guide the discussion whenever he or she believes this is needed.
PBL requires a great deal of self-motivation, independent study, and group study. You are expected to engage in study for 40 hours a week. Working in tutorial groups demands active participation. The social pressures exerted by group members often stimulate individual students to study diligently. You will learn useful skills, including how to work in teams, lead a group discussion, listen, summarize, and consider the interests and concerns of others.

Block Book

A Block Book provides tasks and study material. At the end of the block period, faculty review student evaluations and exam results to determine if the designated learning goals have been achieved. If this is not the case, the block is modified and subsequent blocks are adjusted to ensure that students meet the objectives of each block.
Course Information


Each semester is divided into three course periods. The first two periods are eight weeks each, followed by a four-week project period in January and June. If you are in the fall program, you will participate in the first two periods only, completing your studies in December. If you are in the year program, you may take advantage of the January and June project periods. If you are in the spring program, you may stay for the June project periods. During the regular eight-week periods, students enroll in two courses each period from offerings in the humanities, life sciences, and social sciences. Each course carries a value of 6 UC quarter units (4 semester units). Courses follow the Maastricht Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach described in this chapter. Small tutorial groups of about 12 students discuss scientific and practical problems prepared by teachers and formulate the learning goals as they develop an understanding of the problem.
While courses require independent reading and group-based problem solving, the demands of studying at UCM typically are similar to what one might expect at the University of California. Assessment is based on your performance in courses, academic skills trainings, and projects. Many courses require papers, group assignments, and presentations. Different forms of examination are used in every course. Some courses may include a final exam. For more information about the university’s courses and learning methods, visit the UCM website.
University College Maastricht also offers courses that are designed to teach the academic skills applicable across an array of disciplines. These courses cover research methods, lab skills, argumentation analysis, strategy, and negotiation. Clarify with your UC campus departmental advisor which of these courses might be meaningful for your study plan, since some courses from this group count only toward lower-division UC credit. These courses have a limited value of 2 UC quarter units (1.3 semester units) and cannot be counted as one of your required four courses for the semester.
The courses at UCM are taught at three different levels; 100 (introductory), 200 (intermediate) and 300 (advanced) level. These levels indicate an increasing level of complexity. At levels above 100 prerequisites for enrollment might be stipulated.   

Course Registration

You will receive an e-mail from the International Officer at UCM with information concerning online registration for courses, deadlines, and procedures. It is important that you make your selection by the deadline; it may be impossible to drop or add courses once the deadline passes.
 ​​For information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.


You will find that the final exams for Maastricht courses emphasize the entire reading list provided in the Block Book for each course. Many exams test your understanding of complicated theories and models covered only in that reading and not in group projects or discussion. It is common practice for Maastricht students to re-sit exams in which their marks were lower than they had hoped; however, this is not an option if you participate in the fall semester program only, so be prepared to do well on the final exam the first time it is administered. For those who do re-sit exams, note that if the grade of the re-sit is lower than the first try, the lesser grade will still count.
Grades for the fall semester are typically available by April and grades for the spring semester are typically available by early September.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Improve Your Language Skills
​Many people in the Netherlands speak excellent English, and English is the language of instruction for all courses.
Social Conduct
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
*There will not be a Dutch Culture and Language Program (DCL) for the 2013-14 spring semester.
There will be a 3-day orientation prior to the start of the spring term at Universoty College Maastricht.
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
Travel Documents
Packing Tips
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you wih your finances while you are abroad.
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Handling Money Abroad
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
UCM has its own facilities, which include an up-to-date computer room where you can work on your papers or go online. You can also access ELEUM, the electronic learning resource of the university.
Mail & Shipments
You may send mail and small packages prior to the program start date to:
Ms. Ina Engelen, International Relations Officer
Attn: [Student’s Name]
Postbus 616
6200 MD Maastricht
The Netherlands
Housing & Meals
The Guesthouses have fully equipped shared kitchens and most are located near large grocery stores.
The School of Business and Economics has its own restaurant. It serves hot meals and an array of fresh sandwiches and soups at noon and dinner time (no hot meals on Friday).
UCM does not have a cafeteria in its building. If you are a UCM student, you can use the School of Business and Economics cafeteria.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Extracurricular Activities
Students with Disabilities
Travel Sign-out Form
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Local & International News
UCEAP Insurance
Liability Insurance
Staying Healthy

In addition to the following sections, read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad. For additional travel health information, access the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health web page.​


Local Medical Facilities
Physical Health
Prescription Medications
Mental Health
Health Risks
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
Crime & Prevention
Civil Unrest
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Plans
Fire Safety
In An Emergency
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.