How is the study programme structured?

AUC's study programme is structured around three years of study, covering six semesters. All students develop their individual study plan by taking courses from the Academic Core, their major (sciences, social sciences or humanities) and a variety of elective courses. Once at AUC, an academic tutor assists in selecting courses to create a coherent curriculum that matches the goals and interests of the student.

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Curriculum structure

AUC's study programme includes six semesters (totalling 180 European credit points) over the course of three years. Each semester is 20 weeks long, divided into a 16-week period and a 4-week period. You will 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 overview of the programme in more detail, divided per semester and per year. Starting at the bottom of the diagram, each row represents a semester while each block represents a single course of 6 credit points.

You design your own study programme with advice from your tutor and gradually fill in this structure with your chosen courses. 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 is meant to represent a more general overview of what the AUC programme includes.

Curriculum components

The AUC curriculum is composed of three components: Academic Core courses, major courses and elective courses. In total, students will take a minimum of 28 classes, in addition to completing their Capstone, to achieve the 180 ecp needed to satisfy the programme requirements. 

Academic Core classes

The Academic Core courses (48 ecp) are those classes which all AUC students must take. The Academic Core consists of various courses that provide a foundation for the rest of the programme and includes foreign language courses, Big Questions courses, academic writing courses and the Global Identity Experience.  

Academic Core courses required for all students

  1. Academic Writing Skills
  2. Logic, Information, Argumentation
  3. The Global Identity Experience
  4. Advanced Research Writing
  5. One Big Questions course
  6. Two consecutive levels of a single language
  7. Community Project or Internship

Major requirements 

AUC students major in the sciences, social sciences or humanities. Based on this selection, students then begin taking courses to fulfil their major requirements (96 ecp).

Science major requirements

  • Ten disciplinary courses in the Sciences
    • At least three of which are at the 300-level
    • At least one lab course
  • A 100-level (introductory) theme course in the Sciences
  • A 300-level (advanced) theme course in the Sciences
  • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • The following methodology courses:
    • First year: Calculus 
    • First year: Linear Algebra or Statistics for Sciences

Social Sciences major requirements

  • Ten disciplinary courses in the Social Sciences
    • At least three of which are at the 300-level
  • A 100-level (introductory) theme course in the Social Sciences
  • A 300-level (advanced) theme course in the Social Sciences
  • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • A choice of the following methodology courses:
    • First year (choose one): Research Methods and Statistics I or Statistics for Sciences
    • Second year (choose one): Basic Research Methods and Statistics II or Qualitative Research Methods or Calculus for Economics 

Humanities major requirements

  • Ten disciplinary courses in the Humanities
    • At least three of which are at the 300-level
  • A 100-level (introductory) theme course in the Humanities
  • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • A 300-level (advanced) theme course in the Humanities
  • The following methodology courses:
    • First year: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
    • Second year: Introduction to Visual Methodologies
AUC Academic Core Overview 2019-2020

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


In addition to the academic core classes and courses for their major, all students also take electives of their choice (36 ecp). Students are free to select courses from any of the three majors for their electives and can take the opportunity to explore various fields or disciplines that may not be related to their major or concentration. Alternatively, students can also use their elective courses to delve further into a specific area or concentration within their major that particularly interests them. The elective courses allow students to explore and create a personal curriculum that extends beyond traditional disciplines or conventional study programmes. 

Programme components further explained

More information about various programme components, including what a Community Project or Internship is, interdisciplinary course requirements, what a Capstone is and options for studying abroad, are explained below.

Community Project or Internship

Students at AUC are required to complete at least one Community Project or Internship as part of the curriculum. This is typically done in the second or third year. Students enrol for a Community Project or Internship as a separate course, which must meet the minimum hour requirements for a course of 6 ecp. This translates to 168 hours in total. This can be done either in January or June by working fulltime (40 hours per week over four weeks) or during the 16-week period semester by working about 10 hours per week. Community Projects and Internships can also be completed over the summer (July and August).

At least one course in each of the majors

All students are required to complete at least one course listed as Humanities, one course listed as Social Sciences and one course listed as Sciences. In order to ensure that all students have access to courses outside of their major and experience at least a portion of another major, all students must take at least one course in each major regardless of their own. 


At the culmination of the programme, all students must write a Bachelor's thesis referred to as their Capstone. Worth 12 ecp, the Capstone project sees students developing, researching and analysing an original topic of their choice. The Capstone experience allows students to bring the various components of their individual study plan together to showcase the unique knowledge and applied skills they've learned throughout the programme.  

Study abroad

Students may choose to take courses for a semester abroad at one of AUC's partner institutes or a UvA/VU exchange partner. Students will typically study abroad during the second semester of their second year or the first semester of their third year. Depending on their choice of destination, students may take courses that count toward their major course requirements or electives. 

Published by  Amsterdam University College

5 August 2019