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Exchange Programme
Social and Behavioural Sciences

Social and Behavioural Sciences (exchange)

Exchange students enrolled in Social and Behavioural Sciences’ programmes at their home universities take part in the Exchange Programme Social and Behavioural Sciences at the UvA.

All courses in this English-taught programme are provided on an advanced undergraduate level in one of the bachelor’s programmes of the College of Social Sciences, the College of Communication, the College of Child Development and Education and the College of Psychology: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences; Cultural Anthropology; Sociology; Political Sciences; Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies; Communication Science; Child Development; Education; Psychology. For most courses a strong background in one of these disciplines is required. If necessary, this is indicated in the course descriptions, which can be found in the course catalogue

List of courses

The programme offers courses in the following thematic clusters:

  • Child Development and Education
  • Anthropology of the body
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Anthropology of economy and ecology
  • Courses about a wide variety of regions
  • Communication and Society
  • Economic and financial geography
  • Environmental geography and planning 
  • Political Geography
  • Urban Studies
  • International development Studies
  • Global Health, Care and Society
  • Global Migration
  • Urban Studies
  • Conflict studies
  • Gender & Sexuality studies
  • International Relations
  • Political Economy
  • Public Policy and Governance
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Work and Organisational Psychology
  • Brain and Cognition
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychological Methods
  • Clinical Developmental Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Intersectionalities (class, race, gender & sexualities)
  • Urban Places & Social Problems
  • Migration & Citizenship
  • Health & Society
  • Education & Work
  • Globalising Cultures
  • Social Interactions and Interdependencies
  • Power, Culture, Identity
  • Society, Social Action and Inequality
  • Culture and Structure
  • Sustainability

Placement in courses always depends on the educational background of students and on places available. Some courses require a strong background in the specific field. Students pre-register for a maximum of 42 courses during the course registration, after which entrance requirements will be checked. In case students have to change their course registration, the International Office will inform students on this process. After the course registration deadline, no further alterations are possible.

Please note that we cannot guarantee placement in specific courses as the allocation in courses is done via a lottery system. If a student needs a specific course, we can try to accommodate if the partner university confirms that this particular student needs this course.

Please check the course catalogue regularly because changes may still occur.

Academic Calendar 2023 - 2024

Below you can find the University of Amsterdam's academic calendar, including exam weeks and holidays.

Courseload and credits

Credit system

The University of Amsterdam uses the European Credit System (ECTS, EC’s). The standard workload for full-time students is 60 EC per academic year (1680 hours of study) or 30 EC per semester (840 hours of study). 


The credit system is based on student workload. Student workload does not only consist of lectures and seminars, but also of individual study activities. The workload is expressed in credit points based on the ECTS. 1 EC represents 28 hours of full-time study, including lecture attendance, hours spent on individual study and preparation of assignments.


Most courses are 6 ECTS (one block, 8 weeks) or 12 ECTS (two blocks, 16 weeks) and are mostly offered in the first two blocks of the semester. Courses last for one or two blocks. The length of a course is indicated in the course catalogue. When selecting courses please note that you should divide your study load equally. For example, if you are selecting a standard study load of 30 EC per semester, you should select 12 EC in block 1, 12 EC in block 2 and 6 EC in block 3 (as block 3 is the shortest period). Students are expected to take a minimum of 24 ECTS per semester. Students can register up to a maximum of 42 ECTS per semester but are then expected to drop 12 ECTS before the start of the semester. Taking 36 ECTS per semester is allowed but not recommended since this is a very high workload for 16 weeks.

Students are recommended to take a maximum of two courses during one block. In case the student only takes courses in block 1 and 2, this usually means a workload of 24 credits. Students following more than two courses per block need to be prepared for a higher workload.

Academic climate

The UvA highly values independent and critical thinking. Students are expected to study independently. Past exchange students have expressed to find the academic climate challenging but rewarding.

Exams and assessments are not only scheduled at the end of a course, but also during the block. Students are often expected to hand in weekly assignments, such as small essays or reports, and most courses have both a mid-term and a final exam.

It is not common for teachers to be more lenient or easy on the exchange students Professors expect exchange students to fully participate in courses. There are no auditor-only options.

Links to UvA Course Catalogue 2023-24: