What is the Honours Programme?

The Honours Programme offers talented and motivated students the opportunity to take challenging extra-curricular courses in a stimulating academic community.

What is the Honours Programme?
The Honours Programme is an additional set of interdisciplinary and challenging courses that is designed to broaden and deepen your knowledge. The Honours Programme consists of 30 credits that you can earn in addition to the 180 credits for the standard Bachelor’s programme without paying any additional tuition fees.

The programme consists of two components:
1.    Interdisciplinary component: you will earn 12 or 18 credits by taking courses at VU Amsterdam, UvA and/or AUC
The interdisciplinary courses are taught mainly in the evening by the finest lecturers from Vrije Universiteit, the University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University College, as well as by guest lecturers from the Netherlands and abroad. The classes are small. You will be expected to give presentations, write papers and actively participate in discussions. You will find a detailed overview of the courses at www.vu.nl/honourscourses
2.    Faculty component: you will earn 12 or 18 credits for this component
The faculty component of the programme gives you more in-depth perspective on your own field of studies. You will take extra courses, write a lengthier Bachelor’s thesis or conduct a research project. You will find more information about this component at this webpage.

Who can join the Honours Programme?
The Honours Programme is designed for students who have passed all of their first-year Bachelor’s subjects by the end of that year, who have achieved a GPA of at least 7.5 and who have the motivation to take extra subjects in the second and third year of their programme.

Who will receive an Honours Diploma?
Students who complete their Bachelors programme as well as the Honours Programme within three years and who achieve a GPA of at least 7.5 for their regular Bachelor’s courses will receive an Honours mentioning on the diploma supplement (the grades for honours courses are not taken into account in this calculation).

Start in your first Bachelor’s year?
If you passed all the exams of the 1st and 2nd period of your first Bachelor’s year with an average grade of at least 7.5, you may take an Honours course during the 2nd semester of your first year (limited places available). If you are likely to meet these criteria and you are interested in joining the programme, please send in the application form before 1 December. 

Why should you join?
The reasons for participation can differ from academic curiosity, intellectual challenge, broadening and deepening your knowledge, coming into contact with like-minded students (also from other faculties), the creative and interdisciplinary learning environment or the fact that you will stand out from your peers with an Honours degree. As most courses are taught in English, participation in this programme will also improve your English proficiency.

Other programme opportunities
The Honours Programme offers you more than just coursework. Every year we select students for the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School. You can become a member of Extensus, the student association for Honours students, and you can join their study trips, Master’s classes and social activities. Upon completion of the programme, all students are invited to a festive Graduation Event. These are some of the attractive bonuses which come along with being an Honours student. 

FAQ-Dutch and English
You can download the FAQ document here

How and when to apply

You can find the application procedure and application forms here

Reasons for attending

  • You learn more!
  • You deepen and broaden your knowledge and skills in your field of study.
  • You cross the boundaries of your own study programme, particularly in the interdepartmental Honours courses, exploring topics from various angles with students and lecturers from other disciplines.
  • You attend courses with students who have also obtained relatively high grades and shown above-average motivation. This means that the pace and level of the Honours courses are higher, allowing for more in-depth study of the learning content than is possible in regular bachelor courses.
  • Freedom of choice within the Honours Programme allows you to improve the match of your study programme to your individual interests and ambitions.
  • The Honours Programme is taught in small groups, so that you get more individual attention from the lecturers and more intensive guidance.
  • The courses in the Honours Programme are taught by top academics. There are also guest lectures by renowned academics from other (international) universities.
  • Some departmental Honours Programmes allow a greater focus on the development of research skills than the regular bachelor programmes.
  • Your participation in the Honours Programme will distinguish you from students who have studied only a regular bachelor, enhancing your chances of admission to certain (research) masters.
  • By obtaining an Honours degree you acquire good English language skills (as most courses are taught in English) and an internationally recognised diploma, increasing your international career perspectives.
  • An Honours degree shows you are an outstanding student who is motivated, not afraid to take on extra challenges and achieves more than average. With this degree, you will stand out from your peers when entering the labour market.