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Programme structure

How is the study programme structured?
Download the curriculum overview

Which courses can you take? How is the programme structured? What makes a major? Download the curriculum overview and explanation to learn the study possibilities in the Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities at AUC.

Curriculum structure

AUC's interdisciplinary study programme includes six semesters (totaling 180 European credit points (EC)) over the course of three years. Each semester is 20 weeks long, divided into a 16-week period and a 4-week period. Students 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 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. Students design their own interdisciplinary study programme with advice from their tutor and gradually fill in this structure with their chosen courses. The exact details of each individual programme will differ from this diagram, but it represents a general overview of what a student can expect when studying at AUC.

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 EC needed to graduate. 

Cross-listed courses
Some courses are listed under more than one of these components. For example, a course can be listed as an Academic Core course and as a major course, or the same course can be listed under multiple majors. These types of courses are referred to as “cross-listed” courses. A student can decide for themselves for which requirement they choose to count the cross-listed course. However, the same cross-listed course cannot count towards multiple requirements (i.e. you cannot apply the same course to fulfill a major course requirement and an Academic Core requirement; it will count toward fulfilling one or the other).

1. Academic Core courses

Academic Core courses (36 EC, equivalent to six courses) are classes that all AUC students must take. The Academic Core provides a foundation for the rest of the programme and includes 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 begin taking courses to fulfil their major requirements (90 EC, equivalent to 15 courses). 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 more advanced courses.

Use the drop downs below to check the requirements per major
  • Sciences major course requirements
    1. 66 EC (equivalent to 11 courses) in the Sciences (indicated in the diagram below)
      • At least 24 EC (equivalent to 4 courses) of which are at the 300-level
      • At least one lab course in the Sciences
    2. The following methodology courses:
      • First year: Calculus 
      • By the end of the second year: Linear Algebra or Statistics for Sciences
    3. Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • Social Sciences major course requirements
    1. 66 EC (equivalent to 11 courses) in the Social Sciences (indicated in the diagram below)
      • At least 24 EC (equivalent to 4 courses) of which are at the 300-level
    2. A choice of the following methodology courses:
      • First year: Methods for Social Sciences Research
      • By the end of the second year (choose one):
        • Statistical Methods for Social Sciences Research or
        • Qualitative Research Methods or
        • Mathematical Methods for Economics or
        • Statistics for Sciences
    3. Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)
  • Humanities major course requirements
    1. 66 EC (equivalent to 11 courses) in the Humanities (indicated in the diagram below)
      • At least 24 EC (equivalent to 4 courses) of which are at the 300-level
    2. The following methodology courses:
      • First year: Methods in the HumanitiesI* 
        • *This course was formerly called "Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory"
      • Second year: Introduction to Visual Methodologies
    3. Capstone (Bachelor's thesis)

3. Courses outside of your major

Students at AUC must take at least two courses in each major that is not their own (24 EC, equivalent to 4 courses). For example, if you major in Humanities, you will also need to follow at least two courses in the Sciences and two courses in the Social Sciences to fulfill your degree requirements. Students are free to select any courses they are interested in and for which they meet the prerequisite(s).

4. Elective courses

In addition to Academic Core courses, major courses and the requirement to take at least two courses in each major other than their own, all students will also take electives of their choice (30 EC). Elective courses can be selected from any of the three majors. It is also possible to study off-campus, in the Netherlands or abroad, and take courses at other institutions as electives. Electives allow students to examine subjects in an interdisciplinary manner by exploring fields or disciplines that may not be related to their major. Alternatively, students can use elective courses to delve further into a specific area or specialisation within their major, including fields of study not offered by AUC but available off-campus. Elective courses encourage students to create personal curriculums that add increased freedom of choice beyond more traditional disciplines and study programmes. 

5. Capstone

At the culmination of the programme, all students will write a Bachelor's thesis referred to as their Capstone project. Worth 12 EC, 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 interdisciplinary 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, but can also be completed in the second semester of the first year. Students enrol for a Community Project or Internship as a separate course, which must meet the minimum hour requirements equivalent to 6 EC. This translates to 168 hours in total. This can be done either in January or June by working full-time (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.

    Starting in Spring 2024, AUC students can also undertake a 30 EC internship. This expanded internship allows students to conduct academic research for an entire semester, supervised by an internal supervisor at AUC and a supervisor at the host research department. For students who aspire to a future career in research, this internship makes it possible to experience the world of academic research first-hand and develop valuable professional skills.

  • Study abroad and off-campus courses

    While completely optional and not a required part of the programme, AUC students are allowed to take up to 42 credits of the 180 credits required to graduate as off-campus courses. Off-campus courses can be taken in the second or third year of their studies as part of an exchange programme abroad, at VU Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) or any other university. To take an off-campus course, AUC students must first submit a request to AUC's Board of Examiners or AUC's International Office (if studying abroad) to have the course approved before enrolling.

    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. 

    Taking off-campus courses at VU or the UvA

    Both VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam offer many courses that can be interesting for students to complement their studies at AUC. Depending on the courses they've already completed at AUC, their timetable and available seats in the desired off-campus course, AUC students can enrol in hundreds of courses that are taught in the other Bachelor programmes of the VU and the UvA. For example, students can follow specialised courses that allow them to learn more about specific subjects or better prepare them for specific graduate programmes. For all off-campus courses, students must first submit a request to AUC's Board of Examiners to have the courses approved before enrolling.

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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