The full Bachelor's programme takes three years. Each year comprises four 10-week periods. Each period concludes with a week of examinations. In your first year, you will have an average of 12 contact hours per week.
Below the course overview, you will find an explanation of the study programme.
If you study History at Utrecht, you study subjects in coherence. This ensures a sound structure. The courses within the specialisations you will take with the same group of students, so you will get to know each other well.
From the second year onwards, you will study History in greater depth. You can choose a History track or an International Relations in Historical Perspective track. You can choose from various specialisations within the tracks. Each specialisation comprises four subjects. You will find which topics are featured in each specialisation in the profile descriptions for the second year.
Specialisations within the History track:
- The foundations of Europe: power, religion and cultural identity
- Political Conflict in Modern Europe
In this specialisation we study, among other things, revolutions, Hitler’s and Stalin’s totalitarian regimes, and the historical roots of contemporary populism from an international comparative perspective from the eighteenth century until the present. In this way, you gain in-depth knowledge of the political history of modern Europe, and insight in the most pressing political issues of our times.
- The Power of Culture
Culture keeps our society together and determines our world view, but has also been a source of conflict. This specialisation studies cultural history from the Renaissance to the digital age of mass media and Facebook, from the civilised elites to the global mass culture of Hollywood and Disney.
- The Great Challenges. Crises, Inequality and Sustainability
In this specialisation you will analyse why some present-day societies have achieved high living standards, accessible educational systems, and healthy environments, while others have failed to do so. You will discover that at the root of long-term developments usually lie choices and decisions made by ordinary men and women trying to create a better future for themselves and their local communities, whilst dealing with adversity and crisis.
Specialisations within the International Relations track:
- Europe in the world
The European Union and its history from the early 20th Century take central stage: the historical tension between the pursuit of order and cooperation and the forces of disorder and disunity on the ‘old continent’.
- Globalisation and World Order
The focus here is on causes and consequences of growing interdependency in the world: the moral conceptions and the institutions that create world order, the forces that have determined the relations between rich and poor, North and South.
- Conflict, Violence, and Security
Students research the relations between violence and security in international politics: the historical and societal backgrounds of warfare and terrorism, the conception and creation of institutions to safeguard the security of states and citizens.
One third of the programme is filled with optional courses that may interest you. For example, you can choose to do a selection of courses from a different programme. Another option is to study abroad for a while. As a result, you can shape your own study path within the curriculum.
An internship allows to you gain practical experience during your studies: you get a taste of how you can apply the knowledge and skills you developed during your studies, in practice. An internship is also a great opportunity to see what kind of work you like and what type of organisations suit you. On top of that, it is a great way to start your professional network. The internship coordinator of the History programme can help you to find an interesting internship.
In the first year of your History Bachelor's programme, teaching will be in the form of lectures and tutorials:
- Lectures are a way of getting an overview of a large amount of information in a short of amount of time; you and your fellow students will be listening to an expert in the field.
- Tutorials give you the opportunity to actively engage with historical issues yourself. You may have to give a presentation or discuss a topic with fellow students or work on an assignment. There are plenty of opportunities for interaction and for asking questions.
You will have an average of 12 to 18 contact hours per week. In addition to lectures, you will work independently (so without supervision), in groups, or on your own. The ratio between the forms of teaching formats in the first year is:
In 2019, 78 students started the History Bachelor's programme, of which 33 are international students. Seminar groups consist of approximately 20–25 students.
Academic Year Calendar
Check out the Academic Year Calendar (PDF) here for the start and end dates of the terms and non-teaching weeks.
Binding Study Advice
Similar to other Dutch universities, Utrecht University has a Binding Study Advice (BSA). This means that each student must attain a minimum number of credits to be allowed to continue the programme. For History, this minimum is 45 credits (of the total of 60 credits that can be obtained). If a student fails to achieve this, participation in the study programme will be terminated. The Study Advisor or tutor will help students to find a programme that is more suitable for them.
The grading system in the Netherlands might differ significantly from the grading system you are used to. See here for more information.
From the start of the study programme, each student has an individual tutor. The tutor is an academic staff member, who helps you with questions regarding the study programme and advises you on the various options within the course. The tutor also advises students on how to make the most of their studies.