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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.
Utrecht University is committed to its ongoing internationalization process through the encouragement of global exchanges and the restructuring of its programs to accommodate international students. English language curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels has expanded steadily over the last few years, enriching the range of UCEAP offerings significantly. Utrecht University offers a top quality, world-class academic environment; teaching is closely linked to the latest research. The programs at the University are characterized by a wide range of academic disciplines and strong interdisciplinary nature. Courses are taught in small groups, allowing for an intensive exchange of ideas between students and lecturers. Utrecht University offers ambitious and talented young international scholars the opportunity to learn, grow, and flourish.
In principle, all UU courses are open to you as long as you meet the prerequisites. Many courses are taught in Dutch, and are available only if you are fluent in that language. However, there is a growing selection of courses taught in English.
Group work is very common at UU (and Dutch universities in general). The idea is that you form a small group and work together on a project or prepare and do a presentation. Together you are responsible for achieving a good result. It is not unusual that you are graded as a group, and not individually, on these assessments. Part of the learning experience is cooperation, commitment, working in a team, and taking responsibility for what you as an individual and your group as a whole have achieved. If possible, try to make your own group with students you know.
You are required to take the normal course load at UU, which is two courses per block. Semesters are divided into two blocks and most courses run for a single block.
If you are a year student you will take two courses in each block worth 6 UC quarter units (4 semester units) each. You will receive a total of 24 UC quarter units (16 semester units) per semester.
If you are a fall only student you will need to register for early exit courses in block two (see "Early Exit Courses" below) worth 4.5 UC quarter units (3 semester units) each. You will receive a total of 21 UC quarter units (14 semester units) for the semester.
UU’s current English language course offerings are found in several faculties, including:
- Humanities- notably in Women's Studies, History, Film and Media, Linguistics, Literature, and Religious Studies
- Law, Economics, and Governance- including opportunities to study International Law and Political Science
- Social Science- Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, and Education
- Geosciences- including courses in Geography and Environmental Studies
UCEAP students also have taken courses in Biology, Development Studies, and Communication
Courses are listed at three levels: (100) Introductory, (200) Elaborating/ Intermediate, and (300) Advanced/Senior, which are dual bachelor’s/master's level courses. Courses at higher levels may have prerequisites; however, teachers will waive these if your assessment shows you have already reached the required level in the field.
Courses offered to exchange students at UU can be found on the Utrecht University website.
Each faculty or division has its own website listing courses. The UU website listed above provides you with an overview of the different faculties, and from there on you can navigate to the course offerings.
Early Exit Courses
Block two of fall semester stretches into January; to finish exams before the December break, you’ll need to coordinate with Ingrid Dijkstra at region2@ qdesk.uu.nl
to determine the availability of courses in your field of study that will allow early exams. In the course of May or June, prior to your departure, Ingrid will provide you with a list of courses that offer an early-exit option. Please keep in mind that these are tailor-made solutions and this means it is your own responsibility to make arrangements with the lecturer at the start of block two.
For information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
The Dutch grading system differs greatly from the UC system. Grades are numerical on a 1 to 10 scale, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best grade. However, according to a famous saying: a 10 is for God, a 9 is for the professor, and an 8 is for the student. Indeed, 10 and 9 are rarely given, and 8 is considered a very good grade. An average good grade is 7, and 6 is considered a sufficient pass. Grades below 5.5 are considered failing grades, hence you can fail marginally (5.4) or badly (2.0).
The exam period for the fall semester at UU extends into late January, therefore fall grades are not available until much later than is typical for UC. Grades for the fall semester are usually available by late April or early May. If you are on the fall semester program at UU you should not apply for graduation until the spring quarter/semester after your participation. Grades for the spring semester at UU are usually available by late September.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Improve Your Language Skills
Many people in the Netherlands speak excellent English. At Utrecht University most are still taught in Dutch, but many courses are now taught in English.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Travel to Your Host Country
Insurance for Personal Possessions
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
Additionally, make sure that you have a bank balance in the U.S. of at least $1,000, so that you can pay your first month’s rent, obtain books for classes, and manage other expenses. Ask your bank what the daily withdrawal limit is and what the fees are.
Computers and printing facilities, open daily in the summer and through the evenings during the academic year, are available on both campuses of the university. You will be given a SOLIS-mail account that enables remote access to libraries, all campus information systems, and online course environments such as “Workspaces.”
If you take your own laptop with you, it is recommended that you take a laptop lock, or look into Lojack for Laptops.
Phones are generally not available in the university housing, but you will most likely have Internet access.
You can have mail sent to your address after you arrive and move into your accommodations.
UU students will be housed in dorms on the UCU campus.
Each unit has shared bathrooms and a living room. The rooms are furnished, and you will receive a bedding package upon arrival. The bedding package contains a duvet, duvet cover, pillow, pillowcase, fitted sheet, and flannel under-sheet. The bedding is included in your UCEAP fees and is yours to keep. You will need to supply your own towels. There is a phone for incoming calls only (outgoing calls require a calling card). All rooms are equipped with Internet connections.
Utrecht University Term Housing
Housing is offered through the housing bureau Short Stay Solutions (SSH). There are different student housing locations throughout the city. Some are located in the city center, others just outside the center or in the suburbs. There is also a dorm on the De Uithof campus. You will be living with other international or Dutch students in shared housing and will share common facilities such as the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. You can request a single or double room.
After you have been accepted by Utrecht University, you will receive information from your UU contact person regarding the application procedure for housing. You will receive access to an online database of all available accommodations from which you can select a preference. Short Stay Solutions will accommodate your preference when possible. Utrecht University cannot guarantee the availability of housing. The number of reserved rooms is limited and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you apply on time, your chances of finding accommodations are good. Note that the rental conditions for this type of accommodation are strict; rental periods are always for a fixed period of time, and early cancelation of the rental contract is not permitted. The reservation will be confirmed approximately two to three weeks before your arrival, and you will receive all the details regarding the address and rental period, rent and deposit, and owner of the property or his caretaker.
You are responsible for all room expenses, and these must be paid directly to Short Stay Solutions. The first month’s rent and a deposit (usually one month’s rent) must be paid in advance, usually within 2 weeks of making the reservation.
If you are a financial aid student, you are responsible for paying for your housing even if your financial aid has not yet been disbursed. Plan ahead for this.
About a week before your arrival, you will contact Short Stay Solutions to arrange a time and place for signing the rental agreement, paying the rent and deposit, and obtaining the key. This is usually done in the office of Short Stay Solutions, which is located on the De Uithof campus. Upon receiving the key, you will need to show a proof of payment of the first and the last month’s rent.
The distance from your housing to classs will vary depending on where you will be housed and the location of your classes. If you are taking classes in the faculties of Humanities, Law, and Economics, your classes will be held in the city center. If you are taking classes in other faculties, your classes will be held in De Uithof. Housing accommodations in De Uithof are De Bisschoppen and Cambridgelaan. De Uithof is a 15-minute bike ride from the city center. Ina Boudier Bakkerlaan (IBB) is located in between De Uithof and the city center. Baden Powellweg is located 10 minutes from the city center, 20 minutes from De Uithof. Kruisstraat is located in the city center. Note that there are more locations than the ones mentioned in this guide. The following locations are not recommended by UCEAP due to the distance: Grote Trekdreef, which is located in the suburb Utrecht Overvecht; housing located in the suburb Kanaleneiland; and housing called Warande, which is located in Zeist, a small town near Utrecht.
All housing facilities are accommodated with kitchens, cutlery, and cooking utensils. Supermarkets and stores are usually nearby. On the De Uithof campus, there is a student cafeteria where you can go for lunch or dinner.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
There is a large student sports center in Utrecht, as well as numerous student sports clubs in the city. Utrecht University students can use the student sports center, as well as the cultural center, which is located in the city center. With a UU student card, you can get discounts on extracurricular activities and access to libraries and computer facilities.
Students with Disabilities
Utrecht University offers special services. If needed, local staff can assess individual cases to determine what can be arranged in cooperation with the local Disability Coordinator.
Local & International News
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.
In addition to the excellent counseling resources available at De Uithof, private counseling is also available.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
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
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.