Study programme

BSc Economics and Business Economics is a three-year programme. The English-language programme teaches you how economists think and how you can study current issues in business and society as effectively as possible. You learn how to take a broad view of economic issues (the real-world perspective). Each academic year is divided into four ten-week teaching periods. The programme consists of two parts: the major and the optional course profile. For the first year and a half you focus on the core courses (the major). Later in the programme, you can tailor your studies to suit your interests. You can do this by taking specific electives, taking more economics courses, a dedidacted minor, do an internship or study abroad.

What does the study programme look like?

Below you will find a concise overview of the Economics and Business Economics study programme. 

Research electives

To best prepare you for the Applied Economics Research Course during which you will write your Bachelor’s thesis, we have developed four research electives. The research electives focus explicitly on the design of a research project. All four research electives belong to their own study route. As you are not obliged to take all courses of a study route, you can do a research elective of another study route if that appeals to you more. To graduate, you must have passed one of the research electives.

Dedicated minor 

You may opt to combine Economics with a second field of study: a dedicated minor. This is a package of six subjects designed especially for Economics students. You have the choice of a dedicated minor in Law, Geography, Social Sciences or Applied Data Science for Economists. In this case, your thesis is at the interface of Economics and your chosen dedicated minor. Your tutor or study adviser will assist you in making the right choice for you.

Study routes

In the second half of the programme you can choose from a broad range of Economics courses enabling you to specialise in topics and perspectives. To help you select those courses that best fit your interests, we have developed study routes.

Teaching methods

During the programme you attend both lectures and tutorials. In a lecture, the tutor discusses a subject with a large group of students explaining its broad outlines. In a tutorial, you discuss a specific topic in a group of up to 30 students under the supervision of a tutor. You attend classes (lectures and group tutorials) for about 12-18 hours a week in the first year and you also carry out assignments. Including preparation and private study, the programme takes up 30-40 hours of your time per week.


To test your knowledge and skills, you sit examinations, write essays, hold presentations or undertake group assignments. Each period is followed by an examination week. You complete the programme by writing a thesis.

Grading system

The grading system in the Netherlands might differ significantly from the grading system you are used to. See here for more information.

Internship or study abroad

As part of your programme, you may opt to study at a university abroad for a period of six months. Utrecht University School of Economics (U.S.E.) has several partner universities abroad. These have been selected specifically for the quality of their Economics department or courses, which complement the curriculum of Economics and Business Economics. It is also possible to do an internship during the second or third year of the programme. This gives you an opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience, likely to improve your job prospects. An added perk is that you can also opt to undertake an internship.

Exchange programme in Rome

Economics and Business Economics also offers a special exchange programme which enables you to study for a full year at the Italian business school LUISS in Rome: the Luiss Programme. Read more about the experiences of our Luiss students.

Advising and counselling

When starting the Economics and Business Economics programme you will be assigned an academic mentor for the first year of your study. Your mentor monitors, progresses and signals possible obstacles and can answer any question you may have about the programme. Your mentor helps you get the most out of the programme and is also your tutorial teacher for one of the first courses at U.S.E. In addition to the mentor, U.S.E. has four study advisors. You can approach them for more personal matters.

Binding Study Advice (BSA)

At the end of the first year, you are issued with a Binding Study Advice (BSA). To qualify for a positive BSA, you must obtain a minimum of 45 study credits (of the 60 study credits in total) during your first year. If you fail to do so, you must leave the programme. This means that you must pass 6 out of 8 courses.