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Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College)

Online Open Day

Amsterdam University College (AUC) is a study programme of both the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). During the UvA Open House, we invite you to join us in discovering what it means to study liberal arts and sciences, be part of a diverse community where all students live on campus, and explore how our interdisciplinary approach to contemporary issues equips you with the academic skills and knowledge necessary to make your vision a reality, whether that be by following a Master's degree, founding your own start-up or pursuing a career at companies and organisations around the world.

Amsterdam University College Programme Description
Watch our video for a quick introduction to Liberal Arts and Sciences at AUC
AUC campus and student residences tour
Video tour: AUC campus and student residences

Join AUC alumna Grace for a guided video tour! She'll start by showing you around the AUC academic building, including what it looks like with coronavirus measures in place, and then continue by walking over to the student residences to take a look inside each type of student room: the single-room studio apartment, the two-room shared apartment and the three-room shared apartment.

Download the curriculum overview

Which courses can you take? How is the programme structured? What makes a major? Download the curriculum overview and explanation to learn the study possibilities in the Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities at AUC.

AUC in 90 seconds
AUC in 90 seconds

What do you actually study? Where will you live? Watch our animated video for a short introduction to our academic programme and campus life!

Questions? Ask a student!

If you have a question about what subjects you'll study, living on campus or what AUC students do in their spare time, you can chat directly with a student via Unibuddy!

Look inside the AUC academic building

Did you know the AUC programme has its own academic building? All classes take place in our building located at Science Park 113 in Amsterdam East. Take a virtual look inside using Google StreetView!

AUC Student Residences
On-campus housing guaranteed

AUC students are guaranteed a room on-campus for all three years of their studies. Learn more about the three types of apartments via the video or click the link below to view more information on the costs and housing policies.


  • What are the 'liberal arts and sciences'?

    A liberal arts and sciences programme is traditionally a course of studies that provides a well-rounded education by combining subjects and fields of knowledge from the humanities, social sciences and sciences. The emphasis is on acquiring the academic skills, knowledge and intellectual tools that will allow you to apply what you learn in order to be successful in any career that you choose. A liberal arts and sciences programme provides you with a broad academic orientation while challenging you to develop an independent, critical way of thinking and writing that serves as a basis for further specialisation both in the AUC programme and at the graduate level. 

    Develop foundational academic skills

    How do you develop critical thinking, reasoning and academic skills?  The fundamental soft skills gained from a liberal arts and sciences education at AUC are developed through the methods of teaching, small class sizes, types of assignments and in the Academic Core, which are courses that all students must take. Classroom didactics focus on frequent discussion, questioning and analysing not only the source materials, but methods used in producing those materials, the context in which they were conceived and the ways in which texts, theories, data and other academic information relate to each other. In the Academic Core, you'll learn and practice the basis for these skills and techniques in courses that include languages, interdisciplinary 'big question' courses, fundamental methodologies such as statistics, maths, and visual and qualitative analyses, logic and rhetoric, academic writing and cultural awareness in Global Identity. This course work forms the basis for becoming a well-rounded, engaged learner no matter your future major or career. 

    Interdisciplinary expertise and specialisations

    While the LAS programme is commonly associated with being 'broad', students at AUC do specialise in certain areas or fields of knowledge within their majors with an eye on also being qualified to follow Master's programmes in their area of interest upon graduating. What makes a liberal arts and sciences programme different from a more traditional Dutch Bachelor's programme is that as a student at AUC, you're encouraged to approach topics from an interdisciplinary perspective, meaning that you'll combine study fields from various subject areas to develop reasoned, nuanced methods of analysing, interpreting, understanding and arguing certain perspectives on intricate societal issues.

    Climate change: an example

    For example, say you were to study climate change and environmental sustainability. During a liberal arts and sciences programme, you may combine courses about the hard sciences causing changes to the climate (environmental sciences, ecology, atmospheric sciences), how these findings influence international policy through courses in the social sciences (environmental governance, European institutions, economic regulation), and also the social impact of how these findings turn into narratives when being communicated to and received by the general public through courses found in the humanities (journalism, cultural analysis, literary ecologies, rethinking protest). As you can see, the interdisciplinary approach and flexible nature of a liberal arts and sciences programme provides you with the opportunity to have a more well-rounded understanding of the various perspectives and issues surrounding increasingly complex topics before choosing to focus on a single aspect or discipline related to that subject.

  • What subjects do you actually study? What are the majors?

    AUC offers majors in Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. When you apply to AUC, you choose one of these majors as your prospective major, and you confirm your choice at the end of your first year.

    Within,  the Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, there are a variety of tracks (combinations of courses) through which you gain expertise in more specific areas of knowledge. These concentrations make the programme cohesive and ensure that you attain a certain level of knowledge in a specific field. 


    Social Sciences


    Maths Health Literature
    Physics Anthropology Film
    Earth & Environment  Sociology Philosophy
    Chemistry Economics History
    Biology Law Culture
    Biomedical Political Science Art
    Health International Relations Media
    Information Environmental
    Economics & Policy

    Together with your AUC tutor, you will put together a coherent package of courses in your major to follow during your second and third years, focusing on the subjects that interest you most. Your tutor will help to ensure that your study programme will meet all graduation requirements.

    Your tutor will also help to make sure your major and study programme fit with your future ambitions. If you want to go on to study a particular Master's programme, for example, you may need to include specific courses in your major.

  • Is housing guaranteed for all three years of study? Is it mandatory to live in the AUC student residences? What are the rooms like?

    Yes, all AUC students live in guaranteed on-campus housing in the DUWO-managed student residences located at Amsterdam Science Park along the Carolina MacGillavrylaan in Amsterdam East. It is mandatory for students to live in on-campus housing for their three years of study at AUC. 

    Types of rooms

    The rooms in the student residences are a mixture of single units (one student studios) and shared units (two or four students). Some shared units are two- or three-room apartments, while others are large open-plan spaces. All units have a kitchen corner and their own bathroom (toilet and shower). All rooms are self-furnished and students will need to supply their own furniture, kitchen equipment/appliances and any other home goods needed. Additionally, there is a small laundrette on the ground floor of the middle block of the residences, accessible only to residents. 

    Students rent their rooms from housing association DUWO, meaning that it is an apartment rental and students do not need to leave the residences during the summer. Students can also choose to stay in the same room for all three years, or change their room at the end of their first year.

    Costs per room

    Single units, before receiving a rent benefit (huurtoeslag), are more expensive than shared units. These are on average around 518 EUR per month. However, most students living in a single unit will be eligible to receive a rent benefit, making the total cost of a single unit around 319 EUR per month.

    The rent for a two-person shared room is an average of approximately 392 EUR per month. For a four-person shared unit (two bedrooms, two people per room with a large shared living room), the costs are typically around 248 EUR per month. These costs can slightly vary depending on the exact dimensions of the room in square meters.

    The rent includes an advance towards service costs, e.g. utilities such as electricity and water (collective and individual), cleaning of public spaces, rubbish collection and contents insurance.

    Take a look inside the student residences in the video below

    Student residences
  • What are the admissions requirements?

    Minimum requirements

    In order to be eligible for admission to AUC, you will need to have:

    1. A secondary school diploma equivalent to the Dutch VWO diploma (see the list of international diplomas)
    2. A very good level of written and spoken English (see our English language requirements)
    3. Good mathematics skills (see our mathematics requirements)

    Additional characteristics

    In addition, the AUC Admissions Committee looks for students with the following characteristics:

    • demonstrate your ability to meet the academic demands of the AUC programme
    • motivation and ambition to study an intensive and broad programme
    • commitment to contribute to AUC's international student and campus life
  • How do I apply for AUC? What are the deadlines?

    Deadlines for applying

    You want to start at AUC in: Application deadline:
    • September 2024
    • 1 December 2023 (early bird deadline)
    • 1 February 2024 (normal deadline)

    Application process

    • Step 1: Review the application guidelines

    To be considered for admission to AUC, you must first complete and submit our online application form together with all the required documentation. Please read the Application Guidelines carefully before completing your application. You will need digital/scanned versions of certain documents in order to upload and submit them.

    • Step 2: Submit your application online using Embark

    You must apply using our online application form hosted by Embark. You can use the application guidelines to help you fill it in. 

    • Step 3: Application review

    If your application package is complete and your previous education meets the general minimum entry requirements, we will then review your application package. Small deficiencies in meeting our English and/or maths requirements will not prevent your application from being reviewed, and you may be able to work toward rectifying these deficiencies before your intended start date at AUC. Read more about the application review stage.

    • Step 4: Welcome Days: For students who have received an offer to study at AUC (Optional)

    If you receive a (conditional) offer to study at AUC, you will be invited to attend a Welcome Day and/or Meet & Greet with an AUC tutor. While Welcome Days take place on-campus in our Academic Building and student residences, those who cannot travel to campus will have the option of an online Meet & Greet with one of AUC’s admissions tutors.

    • Step 5: Accepting an offer and enrolling 

    After the application review and optional Welcome Day, the AUC Admissions Committee sends an offer for a place at AUC. The offer of a place may be conditional on your meeting, for example, specific English and/or maths requirements. In other words, you may have to send us proof that you will meet the English and/or maths requirements in order to begin your studies at AUC. You must also successfully obtain your secondary school diploma if you have not already done so. As soon as you accept your offer, we start the procedures to complete your enrolment at AUC as part of both the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

  • Am I eligible to be accepted to a Master's programme after AUC? Where do alumni typically work?

    After completing the AUC programme, you’ll be qualified to apply for Master’s programmes at the UvA, VU Amsterdam, other Dutch research universities and at prestigious institutions throughout Europe, the US and around the globe. The field of study for which you apply will typically correspond to the tracks or concentrations in which you completed most of your coursework. Additionally, your tutor will assist you in making sure you choose courses that not only meet the AUC graduation requirements, but also ensure that you will have the prerequisites and coursework necessary to qualify for relevant Master's degree programmes. 

    Upon graduating, and possibly after completing future graduate studies, our alumni enter the workforce at internationally known companies, research institutes and organisations, or start their own businesses/initiatives. AUC graduates tend to be highly sought after as they combine a high level of academic knowledge with the ability to solve problems, contribute to debates and exhibit an awareness of the social, cultural and personal perspectives that equip them for success, leadership and global challenges.

    AUC alumni and graduate study programmes

    In the summer of 2020, we surveyed where our alumni ended up studying after graduating from AUC. Using LinkedIn data as a source,  there were 1219 alumni with a profile containing sufficient information to be counted in the survey out of a total of 1690 alumni, meaning approximately 72% of all alumni are accounted for in the most recent analysis.

    • Of these 1219 alumni surveyed, 73% had either started or already completed a graduate degree programme following their AUC degree.
    • Generally speaking, the most common fields of study in graduate school included international relations, medicine, law, economics, political science, computer science, neuroscience and environmental sciences.
    • The locations of their graduate degree programmes were diverse, including at least 35 different countries with the most popular destinations being the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, the United States of America and Germany.
    • In terms of institutions, AUC alumni attended more than 165 different universities and programmes for their graduate studies.
    • The most popular universities for alumni to complete their graduate studies in the Netherlands included the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Utrecht University and Leiden University, while the most popular destinations abroad consisted of King’s College London, University College London, the London School of Economics, University of Oxford, Sciences Po and Uppsala University.

    AUC alumni and careers

    While these statistics offer an indication of the types of careers and range of fields where AUC alumni work, it is by no means exhaustive. Throughout their time at AUC, students are encouraged to discuss their individual career ambitions with their tutor and academic advisors in order to pursue careers and jobs in fields that deal with issues they’re passionate about.

    • After completing their graduate degrees, the most common fields where AUC alumni go on to find employment included research, advising, education, hospitality, the cultural sector, health sector, management and marketing.
    • The most common job titles included consultant, researcher, data scientist, project manager and policy officer.

    However, the exact jobs and career paths that AUC students follow tend to be as diverse as the students and personal study plans that they create.

    Below you can download a summary of a large-scale survey sent to graduates of all University Colleges in the Netherlands in 2017. The results give valuable insight into not only where AUC students end up studying and working upon graduating, but also the value of a liberal arts and sciences degree both in the Netherlands and abroad.