The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has a strong international orientation. This is reflected in the curricula of the various degree programmes, the University’s research activities and its organisational culture.
The globalisation of the labour market is creating growing demand for highly trained staff with international and intercultural competences, and international academic or work experience.
The UvA prepares its students for a future career in this global labour market. To this end, the University offers various 'international classrooms' during the Master’s phase. These Master’s programmes provide education in English. The thematic and geographical focus of their curricula extends beyond the borders of the Netherlands, to include viewpoints and perspectives from around the world.
With classes taught in English, these Master’s programmes are highly attractive to international students. This in turn gives an immediate boost to the programmes’ international character: students learn to interact and collaborate with their counterparts from other countries and cultures.
During the Bachelor’s phase, the UvA encourages students to go abroad and gain international academic experience. The UvA facilitates this process by harmonising procedures with its international partners, thus ensuring that study places and exchange facilities align with UvA curricula as closely as possible.
Master’s students are also encouraged to explore the wider world by taking part in a summer school abroad or an international internship.
As a research-intensive institution, the UvA works in close collaboration with other national and international universities. These collaborations include joint research projects or research groups, in which use is made of each other’s data, knowledge and infrastructure. This in turn creates synergy and improves the quality of research. There are also numerous socially-relevant research subjects – also known as ‘grand societal challenges’ – that transcend the borders of individual countries. For example, research on climate change, infectious diseases, urban development and similar issues yields considerably greater value when conducted in a larger, international context.
National and international collaboration also helps to ensure that projects can be conducted on the scale required by major research facilities, such as a particle accelerator or nanotechnology laboratories.
The UvA’s international character is also reflected in its organisational culture. The UvA offers various services designed to help students, researchers and lecturers from other countries feel at home in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The University also uses bilingual communications to help ensure that they feel or continue to feel part of the UvA community.
Like its students, UvA lecturers are also expected to have explored the wider world and obtained international competences. The UvA stimulates them to teach for a semester at an international university, take part in international conferences or teach or attend a summer school abroad.
As a research-intensive and internationally oriented university, the UvA ranks amongst the leading European institutions. The UvA is thus an appealing university for international talent seeking to complete a Master’s programme or obtain a PhD degree. In turn, these talented international students help enhance the international character of both the University and its programmes. They also contribute new insights and experiences that can eventually help us to provide broader or more in-depth education.
To facilitate students from non-EU countries, the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship Fund makes available annual scholarships with a total value of one million euros. Scholarship from the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship Fund allow talented students to attend a Master’s programme at the UvA.
The UvA is a member of two prestigious international networks of collaborating universities.
The UvA has been a member of LERU – a network of 22 research-intensive European universities that promotes the importance of fundamental research in Europe and stimulates collaboration – since 2006.
LERU is one of the most important lobbyists within the European Union in the area of research and innovation. Together, the affiliated universities receive one-fifth to one-quarter of all European grants for fundamental research. Thanks to their collaboration within LERU, they form a serious discussion partner for the EU.
In addition to the UvA, the LERU network also includes the universities of Utrecht and Leiden.
In 2010, the UvA joined Universitas 21 (U21), a global network of 27 universities that mainly focuses on stimulating student mobility through exchange programmes, summer schools and student conferences. The network also organises conferences for early career researchers, helping them to establish contacts and build up a network.
The UvA is the only Dutch university affiliated with U21.
A number of ranking systems compare the quality of research and education at universities around the world.
The UvA attaches the greatest value to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), published by the Center of World-Class Universities and the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. This ranking, mainly based on the various universities’ research achievements, is compiled on the basis of bibliometrics: the number of publications, citations and patents.
Other key rankings include the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, which is published by the Times Higher Education (UK), and the QS World University Rankings.