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Exchange Programme
Social and Behavioural Sciences

Social and Behavioural Sciences (exchange)

Exchange students in Social and Behavioural Sciences take part in the Exchange Programme Social and Behavioural Sciences. All courses in the English taught programme are on 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; this is indicated as such in the course description.

List of courses

The programme offers courses in the following thematic clusters:

  • Child Development and Education
  • Anthropology of the body
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Political anthropology
  • 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
  • European Politics and Global Change
  • 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

Students can choose any course from the different disciplines and these thematic clusters, when it regards second year courses. For third year courses however an appropriate background in the specific discipline is required. Only few first year courses are open for exchange students.

Exchange students can also choose up to 12 EC from the  Exchange Programme Humanities, offered by the Faculty of Humanities. Other options include placement in courses of the BSc Future Planet Studies and in the elective courses of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Placement in courses depends in all cases on availability and in most cases on educational background. When choosing their courses students should take into account that alternative placement might be necessary.

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



Academic Calendar 2022 - 2023

Here you find the Universiteit van Amsterdam 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. 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



Courses are mainly 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 not to take more than 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 in  block 1 or 2 need allowance for a higher workload.

Academic climate

The UvA places a strong emphasis on independent and critical thinking. Students are expected to study independently. A lot of self-study is required. Students find the academic climate challenging but rewarding.

Exams and assessment are not only scheduled at the end of a course but students can also find themselves doing weekly assignments such as small essays or reports and most courses have mid-term as well as final exams.

It is not common for teachers to be more lenient or easy on the exchange students. Exchange students are expected to fully participate in courses, there are no auditor-only options.


Links to UvA course catalogue 2021-22:

The course catalogue version 2022-2023 will be published here on 1 June 2022.