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European Studies
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Study programme

The Bachelor's European Studies provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage with Europe’s complex present and future. For example, you learn how to put the tensions in Eastern Europe in a historical perspective, see how notions of European identity underpin debates on EU enlargement and how economic decisions have shaped the internal market.

Programme structure

In this programme you are introduced to a number of mandatory subjects, including the study of a modern language. You will choose a major that will provide the basis for further specialisation in European Studies. Alongside the core programme, you may choose from a range of electives or opt for a minor. You can also decide to study abroad for a semester or do an internship.

The study programme explained

Which sort of courses will you take? What does a typical week look like? Is this programme the right fit for you? Find out more in this video.

The first year

The first year of the programme serves as an introduction to European Studies. The courses will offer an overview of the entire discipline. You will:

  • Explore the history of Europe, the development of European cultures, the rise of nationalism, and the creation and workings of the European Union.
  • Choose a modern language (other than English) in which you will become proficient by the end of your studies. You can choose to study Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Modern Greek, Polish, Russian, Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish), Spanish and Turkish. Dutch native speakers may also opt for Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.
  • Develop specific academic skills, such as academic writing and conducting independent research.
  • Visit Brussels to get a firsthand look at the day-to-day workings of the European Union at the end of the first year.
Copyright: Greetje van der Werf
European Studies in Amsterdam offered me a chance to explore a new city and a new culture as well as an array of different subjects and courses. Oliver Callaghan, student Read the interview

The second and third year

In the second year, your course selection will be devoted to your major. In the third year of the programme, you can tailor your own curriculum. You will:

  • Choose to specialise in one of five majors: European Culture, European History, East European Studies, European Law and European Economics. You will continue to develop the language you selected in the first year.
  • Take a course in ‘Philosophy of the Humanities’, in which you will explore the historical and philosophical background of the Humanities with a focus on the field of European Studies.
  • Specialise in a second major, opt for a minor or choose electives in a wide range of subjects. You also have the opportunity to use your elective credits to study abroad or do an internship for a semester. You will conclude the programme by writing a Bachelor’s thesis, your first major piece of independent research.
Bachelor's Week Information session (recording)

See this recording of our November 2022 live session, in which the European Studies Bachelor's programme is illustrated in detail.


Please note: This is the course overview of the shared first year of the Bachelor's programme in European Studies. View the UvA Course Catalogue for the programmes of the specialisations in the second and third year.

  • National Thought in Europe
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  • Turning Points in Modern European History
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  • The Other Europe
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  • European Integration
  • Economic and Legal Integration of Europe
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  • European Literary History
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  • First Year Seminar European Studies
  • Restricted-choice electives: Language Proficiency 1a
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  • Restricted-choice electives: Language Proficiency 1b
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UvA Course Catalogue: European Studies
Copyright: Greetje van der Werf
European Studies ended up being much broader than I expected and delved much deeper. Sarah Osei-Bonsu, student Read the interview
  • Minor and electives

    Next to your regular courses and your specialisation, you will also have 30 ECTS worth of space to fill by doing electives, a minor, an internship or by studying abroad.


    In theory, any course can be taken as an elective, from courses offered by the Faculty of Humanities to those offered by other faculties or even other universities. Most programmes offer separate electives.


    A minor is a cohesive teaching programme that consists of 30 ECTS. Doing a minor is not mandatory. However, it may be a good way to prepare for a Master’s programme or for a certain profession.

  • Internship and studying abroad

    The programme allows for you to do an internship and/or to study abroad for a period of time.


    You can enrich your study programme as well as your CV by doing an internship. This will allow you to gain experience at an organisation in the field of Ancient Studies and gives you an impression of the job opportunities they offer.

    Studying abroad

    The UvA is closely involved with international programmes involved with cooperation and exchange within Europe, the United States and Canada. This gives you the opportunity to study abroad for a period of time.

  • Learning and assessment

    European Studies is a three-year Bachelor’s degree of 180 ECTS credits. An academic year accounts for 60 credits that are spread across two semesters, with each comprising two 8-week blocks and a 4-week block. As a Bachelor’s student, you are expected to spend an average of 42 hours a week on your studies.

    • In your first year, 12 to 15 of those hours will be spent attending lectures, while in your second and third years you will have approximately 8 to 10 hours of class. The remaining time will be spent on self-study, preparing for lectures and seminars, completing coursework and assignments, as well as exams.
    • You will attend both lectures and small group seminars. Lectures generally introduce the main topics of the course, discussing and explaining course readings and literature. In the seminars, you will work closely with your fellow students, collaborating on assignments, presentations and talks.
    • You will be tested by means of written and oral exams, presentations, essays, reports and assignments. Your final grade for a course is determined by the results you receive for each of these.
  • Honours programme

    Highly-motivated students may qualify to take part in a selective Honours programme. This programme accounts for an additional 30 ECTS and will help familiarise you with various other aspects of academic research and prepare you for a subsequent Research Master's degree.

    Read more about the Honours programme

Accreditation and academic title

The Bachelor's programme European Studies forms part of the broad label European Studies. The quality of this programme has been positively accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that after successful completion of the programme you will receive a recognised Bachelor’s degree in European Studies and the title Bachelor of Arts (BA).