University profile

Utrecht University

2017/18 edition

About Utrecht University

Since Utrecht University was founded in 1636, it has become the alma mater of many important academics and scientists who have contributed greatly to society. These include Nobel Prize winner Christiaan Eijkman, one of the first to discover vitamins, neuro-pharmacologist David de Wied and the most recent Nobel Prize winner, theoretical scientist Gerard ’t Hooft. Thanks to the contribution of our esteemed colleagues and academics, Utrecht University has proudly become a high quality research university. The Shanghai Ranking ranks Utrecht University as 1st in the Netherlands and 65nd in the world.

As an international student, you’ll be in good company at Utrecht University. Every year, approximately 1,500 international students come to the university to take English-taught degree programmes and other courses. Students work and study closely together, learning to operate in an international environment from the outset. This is essential for scientists and scholars in our increasingly globalised world.

The majority of our Master’s programmes are English taught and our students are encouraged to pursue their curiosity and be free to ask questions that will help them develop their full potential.

Graduate schools:

Graduate School of Geosciences

Geosciences: The Graduate School of Geosciences offers a wide range of Master’s programmes within the fields of earth sciences, human geography and planning, innovation studies and environmental science. All our programmes have a strong focus on sustainability and innovation.

Graduate School of Humanities

Humanities: The Graduate School of Humanities offers a variety of postgraduate programmes that encompass the disciplines of history, art, philosophy, music, literature, language, religion and media. Our education and research is primarily aimed towards acquiring a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context.

Graduate School of Law Economics and Governance

Law, Economics and Governance: The Graduate School of Law, Economics and Governance offers students a range of research master’s programmes within the field of Law, Economics, Public Administration and Organisational Science. The programmes provide a solid foundation that prepares students for a PhD position, as well as a career as a Lecturer or Researcher within a Societal or Governmental Institution.

Graduate School of Life Sciences

Life Sciences: The Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) offers Master's programmes which focus on micro-organisms, plants, animals, humans, the molecules of life, and health & disease. The GSLS is the shared responsibility of the three organising faculties: the Faculty of Medicine (University Medical Center Utrecht), the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and the Faculty of Science. This combination is unique in the Netherlands and has gained a strong international reputation in biomedical and life sciences research.

Graduate School of Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences: The Graduate School of Natural Sciences provides Master’s programmes within the fields of mathematics, information and computer science, physics, and astronomy, as well as a range of other programmes which span the interface between natural science and other disciplines. All of our Master’s programmes are firmly embedded within Utrecht’s research institutes, which encompass world-renowned research expertise and modern educational facilities.

Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Social and Behavioural Sciences: The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences offers a wide range of one and two-year Master’s programmes within the fields of general social sciences, cultural anthropology, methods and statistics, educational studies, educational theory, psychology, and sociology.

Future career prospects

The career destinations of our students differ across the university and vary depending on the faculty and programme. Many of our students decide between pursuing work within the field of research by undertaking a PhD, whilst others follow a route directly into industry across a wide range of areas such as engineering, medicine, pharmacy, consultancy, education, finance for example.

English language requirements

You do not have to submit proof of English proficiency if you obtained your secondary school diploma and/or Bachelor's degree in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA or South Africa, or you obtained an IB Diploma or EB Diploma (taught in English).

Those who are non-native English speakers and for whom the above does not apply will need to provide evidence of their proficiency in English. The following requirements apply (some programmes require higher scores).

IELTS, Academic Module. Minimum score: 6.5 overall band, at least 6 for writing.

TOEFL, iBT. Minimum score: 93, institutional scores are not accepted (the TOEFL institution code for Utrecht University is 9062).

Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, at least a B grade.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, at least a C grade.

Facilities and support arrangements

There are two main Libraries: One located in the middle of the city centre, which is also an historical building, former palace of Lodewijk Napoleon. The second and largest library is located in the Uithof, only 15 min away from the city centre. It was voted as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world by the BBC.

Utrecht University provides ample study spots and quiet areas for studying both during exam periods and throughout the semester. The latest publications, reference books and study materials are available both in hard copy, as well as in a digital online version. Computers and printers can be accessed by all students together with free Wi-Fi access at all our locations. Private quiet study rooms can also be reserved via the Library website.

Fees, funding and costs

The fees will depend on each programme. In the Netherlands, there are two types of fees: Statuary Fees and Institutional Fees, which will be applied when different requirements are met. In general, the fee for EU-students is € 2,006, and € 15,167 for Non-EU students.

There are various ways to finance your studies, such as applying for a Grant, Scholarships or Study Finance (from the Dutch Government). As an EU/EEA-student in the Netherlands, it’s also possible to take on a part-time job to help cover your costs.

During your stay in Utrecht you can expect to spend between €800 and €1,000 a month on living expenses. Tuition fees are not included in this amount.


The University is located in Utrecht, only 27 minutes away from Amsterdam, where you will be able to enjoy a nice and quiet student life. Schiphol International Airport is 30 minutes away, London is one hour by plane. France and Germany are also easily accessible by train or road.


The University itself does not provide its own student accommodation. However, for our international students, Utrecht reserves a number of studios and rooms with SSH, a student housing foundation in Utrecht. In addition, students can also find their own accommodation within the city, such as a private studio or room in a shared apartment with other students.


“Utrecht, just 40km south of Amsterdam, is a compact city filled with delightful cafes and restaurants, thousands of students who attend the venerable Utrecht University, and many artists and musicians. Along the Oudegracht, the central canal, cellar-level bars and pubs line the towpath, which is a charming place to watch the boats and birds go by.” – BBC Living in: The World’s Happiest Places (October 2013)

Utrecht University and the city of Utrecht offer a lively environment where students can study and live. The city has a bustling student community made up of many different student organisations and societies. Utrecht University offers numerous extracurricular activities through its subsidiaries. This includes Parnassos cultural centre, where you can explore your talents in the performing arts, take a creative workshop or engage in other artistic pursuits. The Utrecht Science Park/De Uithof campus also offers the excellent Olympos sports facility for team sports and individual athletic endeavours.

The Dutch tend to have an international outlook on life. The majority of the population speaks English, regularly travels abroad, and is accustomed to having neighbours who may originally come from another country. At Utrecht University, some 118 nationalities work and study closely together. It’s easy to get by in the Netherlands without speaking Dutch since most people have at least a basic knowledge of English and are usually more than happy to use it.

How to apply

The four steps in the application process are:

  1. Apply online for the programme of your choice via Studielink.
  2. You will receive an email with login details for OSIRIS Online Application, where you can upload the required documents. Here you will also be able to check the status of your application.
  3. Pay the application fee, if applicable.
  4. Once your application is complete, it will be processed and you will receive an admissions decision from the Graduate School.

Contact details

Social media accounts