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Programme structure

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.

Curriculum structure

AUC's study programme includes six semesters (totaling 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 amount to a total study workload of around 42 hours per week (16 hours of class plus 26 hours of self-study).

The sample curriculum structure (available via the link 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 exact details of your programme will differ from this diagram, but it is meant to represent a more general overview of what the AUC programme includes.

Curriculum components

The AUC curriculum is composed of four components:

  1. Academic Core courses 
  2. Major courses
  3. Elective courses
  4. Capstone project

In total, students will take a minimum of 28 classes in addition to completing their Capstone project (Bachelor's thesis) to achieve the 180 ecp needed to satisfy the programme requirements to graduate. 

1. Academic Core courses

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

2. Major courses

At AUC, students choose one of the three majors: sciences, social sciences or humanities. Based on this selection, students then begin taking courses to fulfil their major requirements (96 ecp). The level (100, 200 or 300) corresponds to how advanced the course is considered to be, with 100-level indicating an entry-level course and 300-level indicating specialised and advanced courses.

  • Sciences major course 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
    • The following methodology courses:
      • First year: Calculus 
      • First year: Linear Algebra or Statistics for Sciences
    • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • Social Sciences major course 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
    • 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 
    • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • Humanities major course 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
    • 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
    • Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)

3. Elective courses

In addition to Academic Core and major courses, students will also take electives of their choice (36 ecp). For electives, students are free to select courses from any of the three majors and can take the opportunity to explore fields or disciplines that may not be related to their major. Alternatively, students can use their elective courses to delve further into a specific area or specialisation within their major. Elective courses encourage students to create personal curriculums that extend beyond traditional disciplines or conventional study programmes. 

4. Capstone

At the culmination of the programme, all students will write a Bachelor's thesis referred to as their Capstone project. 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 various components of their individual study plan together to showcase the unique knowledge and applied skills they've learned throughout the programme.  

Other programme components 


  • 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 their 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 by working about 10 hours per week. Community Projects and Internships can also be completed over the summer.

  • 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 stimulate interdisciplinary thinking, all students must take at least one course in each major regardless of their own. 

  • Study abroad

    Students may choose to take a semester abroad at one of AUC's partner institutes or at one of UvA/VU's exchange partners. 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 requirements or as electives. 

Questions? Talk to a current AUC student

If you're a bit confused about the programme structure at AUC or what a real study plan looks like, please feel free to get in touch with a current AUC student who can assist you in better understanding the various components and how these elements fit together in their actual study plans. 

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