For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
Bekijk de site in het Nederlands

Big History (EN)

Add to favourites

Would you like to know how everything around you has become the way it is today? How the histories of the cosmos, life, Earth and human societies have influenced each other and have jointly shaped important aspects of the world you live in now? And would you like to use that knowledge to develop a better understanding of the challenges our societies are currently facing? If you do, then the big history course is right for you.

6 Credit Course: Stars, Life and Society

In this course, a variety of renowned experts, ranging from astrophysicists to social scientists, will take you on a journey that covers all of history, from the Big Bang until today. They will do so by recording podcasts for you and discussing these podcasts, and the connections between them, with you during live discussion meetings. State-of-the-art reading will explain what drove this history. And a research assignment will encourage you to apply the knowledge you gained during the course to a process that is important in our current world and think about this in a creative and interdisciplinary way. While doing so, you will also reflect on what big history might mean for your future.


Mw. ir. E. Quadeackers

Learning Objectives

  •  Construct an overview of big history;

  • Describe the major processes underlying big history;

  • Critically examine what the observations and interpretations are our ideas about these processes are based on;

  • Relate big history to smaller subjects, including processes that are important in our current world;

  • Use big history as a platform for creative, out-of-the-box thinking.

Teaching format

  • Lectures
  • Self-study
  • Interactive classes


Mid-term and final exam.

Study materials

  • Fred Spier (2015). Big History and the Future of Humanity (2nd edition). Wiley.
  • Online syllabus that includes a variety of videos and reading


You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Number of participants



UvA-students can register themselves from 1 December  (look for code 5512BIHI6Y in SIS) until a week before the start of the course.  

Other parties

This course is open for second and third year UvA Bachelor students and other interested parties, such as contract students or students from other institutions. You can register from 1 December until a week before the start of the course through the registration form.

High school students​

High school students are also welcome, see here for more information. 

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: 


Check the website

Feiten & cijfers
Type Contractonderwijs
Vorm Kortlopend, open uva-college
Studielast 6 EC,
Voertaal Engels
Toelatingseisen Open
Start Februari