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Utrecht University

A quiet street in Utrecht, courtesy of Anna Najduch

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Utrecht University


Program terms: Spring
Restrictions: Vanderbilt applicants only
Type of Program: Direct University Enrollment
Costs: Budget Sheets
Academic Calendar: Similar to VU
Key Dates:
Term Application Deadline Program Dates
Spring 2021 09/07/2020 To be determined

This program is no longer accepting applications for the Fall 2020 or Academic Year 2020-2021 terms. Students interested in studying abroad in this program during a future term should make an appointment with Dave Brown or come in to GEO drop-in hours Thursdays 1:00-3:00 or Fridays 1:00-3:00. 

At a Glance

Utrecht University was founded in 1636 with faculties of Medicine, Law and Theology. Today, Utrecht University is one of Europe's leading research universities, internationally recognized for its excellence in research across many fields. Utrecht offers a cross-disciplinary approach to research and teaching which is similar to Vanderbilt's. Utrecht was ranked as the top university in The Netherlands, 9th best in Europe, and 47th in the world by the 2008 Shanghai Academic Rankings. The Center for Higher Education Development rates Utrecht University's Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology research programs among the best in Europe. The university is fully accredited and home to 29,000 students and 222 academic programs. Utrecht offers over 200 courses in English every year which makes this an attractive option for VU students. 

Utrecht University

Who Is the Program For?

The program at Utrecht University is open to sophomores and above. It is expected to be most attractive to A&S and Peabody students. Most of the available courses are taught in English. It is offered only during the Spring semester or for the full academic year (Fall to Spring). University College Utrecht and Roosevelt Academy are available to VU students during the Fall semester.

Internships are not generally available, but study abroad students may join research programs.

Organization of the University

Utrecht University is divided into seven schools or “Faculties”. The five Faculties open to study abroad students are: Humanities; Social & Behavioral Sciences; Geosciences; Law, Economics & Governance; and Science. When you apply to UU, you will be applying directly to one of these Faculties.

Utrecht University also has two honors colleges available to VU students under separate applications. These are University College Utrecht and Roosevelt Academy. Roosevelt Academy is located in Middelburg, which is a 2-hour train ride from Utrecht. UCU has its own campus in Utrecht (including academic buildings and student housing). If you enroll in either of these colleges, you will not be able to take courses at the other honors college, nor in any of the five Utrecht University Faculties. Please see the linked pages above to apply to either of the honors colleges under a separate application.

Areas of Study

Each of Utrecht’s Faculties and honors colleges offers a selection of courses intended for international students, amounting to more than 200 courses available overall. The following are courses of study made available at Utrecht University proper. Some Areas of Study may not receive Vanderbilt course credit (e.g., Agriculture, Fashion Design, etc.). Credit is determined via the course evaluation process.

Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Economics, History & Art History, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Media and Cultural Studies, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Sciences

Course Catalog (be sure to set the course language to English)
Utrecht University for International Students
Vanderbilt Course Evaluation List

Vanderbilt will use the scale shown here to articulate all grades from Utrecht University, regardless of the subject area or language of instruction.

Utrecht University Vanderbilt Equivalents

Academic Calendar

Fall semester (Semester 1): early September to early February (only available to students staying the entire academic year).
Spring semester (Semester 2): early February to late June.

Because the fall semester ends in February, VU students can only study in the spring or for the full academic year. Students wanting to study in the spring, please note that applications are due the preceding August.

There is a university-wide orientation that precedes the fall term, and individual Faculties also have their own orientations. Check the dates for these before buying your flight.

Special introductory Dutch courses are offered near the beginning of each semester. There is also an intensive preparatory course for students studying the full academic year, offered each August. See the academic calendar for more information.


You will submit two applications. The first is a simple application with very few requirements that determines whether Vanderbilt will nominate you to study at Utrecht. If you are nominated, you will have a longer list of requirements that will be sent to Utrecht to determine final acceptance.

A preliminary course selection will be required at the time of your application to UU. You will want to begin the course evaluation process early. The application also includes multiple forms, passport photos, a transcript, a copy of your passport, and a short personal statement. Nonnative speakers of English and/or Dutch are required to submit a language proficiency form and results from a proficiency test.


US and EU citizens (as well as some others) do not require an MVV entry visa to study at Utrecht University, but a residence permit is required (fee associated) for non-EU citizens. You will receive information about necessary paperwork after acceptance.

You will be enrolled directly in one of the five Faculties, or in one of the honors colleges. You will be notified about course selection for your Faculty before the semester starts, and should make your final course selection before you get to Utrecht; once classes have begun, it is extremely difficult to make course changes. Start course evaluation requests as soon as you are accepted, if not before. Undergraduates may enroll in course levels 1 through 3.


Utrecht University does not offer student housing and you will be responsible for finding your own. Because housing is difficult to find, UU does have an agreement with a private company to provide housing, much of it very close to the main campus, which you may want to take advantage of. Reservations for this service open up about 3 months before the semester begins. Rooms are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so register as early as possible. See for more information.


The University is situated in Utrecht, a lively city located in the heart of the Netherlands and considered the "gateway to Europe." With 300,000 inhabitants, Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. With no less than 50,000 of the inhabitants being students, Utrecht is definitely a college city. Utrecht has a rich history going back almost 2,000 years, and a rich architectural legacy that includes both ancient and contemporary buildings. Utrecht's old city center remains intact, with its gracious parks, picturesque canals, cafes, and concert halls. The impressive Dom tower looms above the city centre at a height of nearly 370 feet. Below the Dom, international restaurants, cinemas, museums, clubs, and boutiques give Utrecht a uniquely stimulating atmosphere. Several canals crisscross the city and encircle the city center. Along the canals you will find a phenomenon of which Utrecht citizens are extremely proud: the wharves. These wharves, which provide direct access to cellars, were used for the loading and unloading of ships and the storage of goods in the Middle Ages. These days, they are mostly used as outdoor terraces for restaurants where you can enjoy a drink or meal overlooking a canal lit by decorative lights, framing the contours of the bridges.

Utrecht hosts many festivals, including the Spring Dance Festival, the Holland Early Music Festival, The Holland Animation Festival, the Netherlands Film Festival, the Trance Energy Festival, and even the goth-themed Summer Darkness Festival. When not hosting festivities, Utrecht is the stage for "Cultural Sundays": cultural events inspired by a location, theme, or particular art form.

For More Information

For more information or to ask questions about your GEO application, you may contact this program's advisor via our advising page, or use the Request Info button at the top of this page.

Don't forget your fellow students! Student perspectives can be very valuable to your information-gathering and decision-making. There may be alumni of this program listed toward the top of this brochure; they are happy to receive emails from you. You can also check out other students who might have gone to UCU or the Netherlands among GEO's Student Ambassadors, or talk to one of our Peer Advisors about study abroad in general.


For more information, visit program homepage.

Fact Sheet

Housing: N/A
Minimum GPA: 2.7
Language of Instruction: English
Language prerequisite: No
Additional prerequisites: N/A
Costs: Budget Sheets
Student contacts: Peer alumni

Photo: A quiet street in Utrecht, courtesy of Anna Najduch


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Contact the GEO Advisor for this program