How is the study programme structured?

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Three years, six semesters

AUC's study programme is structured around three years of study, covering six semesters (totalling 180 European credit points). Each semester is 20 weeks long, divided into a 16-week period and a 4-week period.

You will usually take five courses per semester of 6 credit points each (four courses in parallel during the 16-week period, and one course during the 4-week period). This will translate into a total study workload of around 42 hours per week (16 hours of class plus 26 hours of self-study).

The curriculum structure (download below) shows the general structure in more detail, per semester and per year. You start at the bottom: each row is a semester while each block represents a single course of 6 credit points.

You design your own study programme, with advice from your tutor, gradually filling in this structure with your chosen courses. Of course, the details of your programme might differ from this diagram (you might take more than one disciplinary course in a semester, for example, and then take no disciplinary courses in the next), but it shows the general pattern.

Below you can download a diagram which shows how your programme is constructed. At the outer ring, you will find the basis of your academic career: the Academic Core. Via one of the themes you work up to the final part of the programme: the Capstone.

AUC Academic Core Placemat 201-2017

AUC Curriculum Placemats. They are also available to download in the right-hand column as PDFs.

Academic Core

At least ten of your courses (totalling 60 credit points) will be in the Academic Core, which ensures you develop strong academic skills. These include a minimum of one 'big questions' courses in your first year, that you will choose from the four offered by AUC. You will take Academic Core courses throughout your programme; the exact requirements will depend on your choice of major.


At least half of your study programme (90 credit points) will be dedicated to your major. This includes the courses that you follow on your selected theme (2 x 6 credit points), and the capstone experience in your final year (12 credit points).

You can major in the sciences, the humanities or the social sciences. You declare your major at the end of your first year, and with the help of your tutor you will then select a coherent package of at least 11 courses on subjects within your major that you will take in your second and third years.


Alongside the requirements of the Academic Core and your major, you then have up to 30 credit points (one-sixth of your programme) that you can complete with freely chosen courses, the electives. You can use your electives to expand and deepen your studies in a variety of ways.

Published by  Amsterdam University College

2 September 2016