Flexible study

In the 2019-2020 academic year, Utrecht University began experimenting with flexible study for selected target groups and subject to certain conditions. Flexible study makes it possible for students to take fewer courses during the academic year and to pay for only those courses (plus a 15% surcharge for administration costs). The aim of the experiment is to find out whether this form of flexible study leads to wider access to higher education, greater student satisfaction, more opportunities for individual development and a lower drop-out rate.

This experiment will run up to and including the 2023-2024 academic year. In 2023, the Dutch parliament will decide whether the experiment will be turned into legislation, so that all study programmes can make flexible study possible.

For which degree programmes is flexible study possible?

Flexible study is only possible for one of the following master's degree programmes

What are the conditions for flexible study?

There are four conditions:

  • You must register or re-register as a full-time student.
    Flexible study is not possible if you are an auditing, pre-master’s or part-time student.
    If you started studying as a part-time student, you may submit a request for flexible study. In this case, you must register as a full-time student.
  • You must belong to one of the following target groups:
    • Flexible study allows you to combine your job and study more easily.
    • You are an Elite Sports Student.
    • You are a member of a student board and receive at least €425 from Utrecht University in that specific academic year as compensation for board activities.
    • You are an informal carer for your father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter at the start of the degree programme. This type of informal care goes beyond ‘usual help’. It is unpaid help that has not been imposed as an obligation on someone. This target group does not include those providing care for individuals without a health condition, such as childcare for healthy children and grandchildren.
    • You have a chronic illness or disability.
  • You belong to a group consisting of the first 100 applicants for flexible study for GIMA or the first 300 applicants for flexible study for an educational master’s degree programme.
  • You are eligible for the statutory fee.

Registration and selection

You must register in Studielink and participate in the registration and selection procedure for the master’s degree programme. Once you have been admitted, you will receive further information from the master’s degree programme about how to apply for flexible study. For more information, click on the link above for your master’s degree programme.

Tuition fees

You pay 1/60 of the statutory tuition fee for each credit (ECTS), plus 15%. This surcharge has been determined by the Minister of Education.

Flexible study is not an economical option in all cases:

  • If you plan to take a number of courses for the full academic year, but stop during that year (e.g. after two or six months). In this case, the tuition fee you have been charged will not be refunded.
  • If you intend to take courses that are worth more than 52 ECTS, the surcharge of 15% will make this a more expensive option.

If you have paid a tuition fee to another education institution, you will have to pay the statutory tuition fee again to Utrecht University.

No Proof of Payment of Tuition Fee (Bewijs van Betaald Collegegeld) will be issued for another education institution.

The only exception is for flexible students studying for the Geographical Information Management and Applications master’s degree programme. They must also take courses at another education institution, but only need to pay the statutory tuition fee at one institution.

The tuition fee can be paid as a lump sum or in instalments. Click here for more information about payment methods

Deregistration and refund of tuition fees

If you deregister, you will not receive a refund of your tuition fee. No exceptions are possible unless you are forced to stop your studies due to demonstrably unforeseen circumstances. If this is the case, you must make an appointment with a student counsellor through Student Services.

Student grant

As you are a full-time student, you are entitled to a student grant (DUO). How long you are eligible and the amount you will receive as a student grant will depend on your student grant history.

Financial compensation for a delay in your studies

This is only possible:

  • for the part that you have already said in advance you wish to take as flexible study.
  • if you are unable to complete this part due to circumstances beyond your control, as referred to in the Financial support scheme in cases of circumstances beyond one’s control (Regeling Financiële steun op grond van overmacht).
  • if you meet the other conditions of this scheme.

More information about circumstances beyond your control