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Utrecht University

Netherlands Netherlands

1 Review


THE World Ranking: 66



Utrecht University (UU) is a historic institution located in the centre of the Netherlands that continues to have a great reputation in the modern day. Founded in 1636, it’s one of the oldest universities in the country, and there are many amazing alumni who once enjoyed a great learning experience at UU. Former students and faculty members combine to create a group that contains 12 Nobel Prize laureates, 13 Spinoza Prize winners and many respected politicians, cultural figures and academics.


UU is ranked 50th worldwide by Shanghai Ranking and sits in the top 70 universities across the globe on most ranking scales. Multiple current faculty members have prestigious awards like the Spinoza Prize for their work and research, and UU also ranks very highly in this department. Both the Nature Index and the Leiden Ranking name UU the best research university in the Netherlands.


The large university teaches a lot of different courses and subjects. As of 2022, there are 58 bachelor’s degree programmes and 161 master’s degree programmes on offer. 35,000 students attend UU each year, and there are nearly 8,000 staff members available to inspire, educate and support these students. The ratio of students to academic staff members is around one to ten, so every person enrolled at UU can feel heard, rather than ignored, in the classroom.


International students are very welcome at UU. In fact, nearly 11 per cent of students enrolled are international, a figure that rises to over 20 per cent for postgraduate programmes. With a dedicated international office and several scholarships targeted at non-EU students, people from all over the world can study at UU, settling in easily and always getting the help they need to make the most of their studies.


Of course, university life is not just about studying, and students at UU can also enjoy great purpose-built recreational facilities on the main campus at Utrecht Science Park. Plus, the wider city is full of culture and activities for students to enjoy, as well as lots of history to explore. From UU clubs and associations to modern European facilities and shops, there’s no amenity that a student can’t access.


Teaching Quality


UU has an earned reputation for high-quality teaching. When compared with other well-established western European universities, UU always ranks very well. In the Shanghai Ranking, UU is named the 50th best university internationally. In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, UU comes 69th.


It’s also placed in the top 50 by THE for courses in life sciences, social sciences, education and psychology. Across these programmes of study and all the rest, the teaching quality is excellent. Students can achieve highly in their studies and after graduation, when they enter the working world feeling well-prepared for success.


The university performs well in research ranking tables. The Leiden Ranking places it 79th globally, with the Nature Index putting UU at 107th globally. In the Netherlands, UU has regularly been named the top research university, and it’s commonly considered one of the best in Europe, too.


10 Nobel Prize winners have graduated from UU, as well as many famous scientists, authors, and politicians. Current staff members have won many awards, including the respected Spinoza Prize. All tutors and lecturers employed by UU are experts in their fields and often active researchers outside of their teaching hours. Their work is regularly published in top academic journals.


Using their expertise, UU staff deliver up-to-date, well-informed and quality teaching to their students. All programmes give students accurate industry-standard information, knowledge and skills to help them succeed in their future careers. These high standards also combine very well with modern facilities and equipment.


Entry Requirements


UU has a few important university entry requirements for applicants. As a high-quality institution with some respected programmes and competitive faculties, it needs to make sure that the students it lets onto its courses can keep up.


Some entry requirements are course-specific, but there are also minimum university requirements applied to all courses. For undergraduates, these requirements are the equivalent of a Dutch high school diploma and the ability to prove language understanding (either Dutch or English, depending on the course). There is a full list of equivalent qualifications on the UU website that international applicants can look through to find the relevant information.


For postgraduates, previous university qualifications will be needed (usually a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject). All applicants are encouraged to research the specific courses they are interested in before applying for student admission to UU, getting to know any and all course-specific requirements as well as the general requirements.


English Score Required


Teaching at UU is delivered in Dutch or English, depending on the course, but most international students apply for courses in English, as this language is more common across the world. Applicants to English-taught courses will need to prove their proficiency.


If they can’t do this through their education history (e.g., having been taught in a primarily English-speaking country/at an English-speaking institution, or any previous studying in English), they will need to complete an English test and receive a minimum score to prove that they’re eligible for admission consideration at UU.


There are lots of different accepted English proficiency test methods at the university, including the Cambridge English Test, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


To use the IELTS as an example, bachelor’s degree programmes will usually ask for an IELTS overall band score of at least 6, while master’s degree programmes will ask for an IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5. Certain courses have different score requirements, so students are again encouraged to research the courses relevant to them.




The UU admission process starts with an applicant carefully researching the courses available and choosing the one that interests them. Then, they need to check all entry requirements and application deadlines for that programme. For selective entry programmes, the university admission journey is slightly different.


No matter what the deadlines are, international applicants are encouraged to begin the student admission process as soon as possible, as visa approval can take some time. Undergraduate applicants should share some supporting documents with their application for student admission, including proof of their English understanding, academic transcripts and proof of identity.


Graduate students are also required to provide a CV and a motivation letter. All documents must be shared in English, Dutch, French, German or Spanish, or provided alongside a certified translation into one of these languages. Some programmes require additional documents, these will be listed on the relevant page on the UU website.


Candidates will apply for their course through Studielink, the student admission website for Dutch universities. Once an application is completed, applicants will receive an email with login details for the OSIRIS Online Application portal. Candidates will submit their documents through OSIRIS. They will also have to pay an application fee or apply for an exemption to this fee. UU aims to get back to applicants in three weeks to let them know whether they have been accepted for admission or not.


Scholarships & Funding


At UU, there are statutory tuition fees and institutional tuition fees. International students outside the EU/EEA will normally have to pay both sets of fees in full unless they are refugees or meet the government requirements for a grant. Domestic students and students inside the EU/EEA will only pay statutory tuition fees, as will students from Suriname and Switzerland.


For bachelor’s and master’s programmes, the statutory fee will be EUR 2,209 annually. Institutional fees change between programmes and start at EUR 11,000 for undergraduates and EUR 17,500 for postgraduates.


There are several options for funding support available while studying at UU. Non-EU/EEA students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels are eligible for the university’s Utrecht Excellence Scholarships. These university scholarships are not available across all programmes but can be an excellent source of financial support for those who are eligible. They are awarded to academically excellent candidates and should be applied for during the student admission process.


There are also scholarships available to UU students through other organisations like the Dutch government. The Holland Scholarship is provided by the Dutch government and offers a helpful funding boost of at least EUR 5,000 to international students. To browse all the potential scholarship options, applicants can use websites like Studyportals.


Depending on their nationality, students may be eligible for tuition fee loans or grants through the Dutch government, or for loans or grants from their home country that can be used when studying abroad. Overall, this university tries to be as financially accessible as possible and is especially open to hard-working and academically talented students from any background.


University Structure


UU lecturers teach 35,000 students every year, and the institution employs nearly 8,000 staff (including over 700 professors). As of 2022, there are 58 bachelor’s degree programmes and 161 master’s degree programmes on offer at UU, covering a wide range of topics and subject areas. Teaching and research occur across the two main campuses in Utrecht, as well as on the two additional sites in Utrecht and Middelburg.


To keep things well-organised and running smoothly across all UU locations, the university is organised into seven faculties. Each faculty contains a number of departments, schools and research facilities, though some faculties organise things differently from others. Overall, this is how things are structured:


  • The Faculty of Geosciences
    • The Department of Earth Sciences
    • The Department of Physical Geography
    • The Department of Sustainable Development (Copernicus Institute)
    • The Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning
  • The Faculty of Humanities
    • The Department of History and Art History
    • The Department of Languages and Communication
    • The Department of Media and Culture Studies
    • The Department for Philosophy and Religious Studies
  • The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
    • The School of Law
    • The School of Economics
    • The School of Governance
  • The Faculty of Medicine
  • The Faculty of Science
    • The Department of Biology
    • The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • The Department of Information and Computing Sciences
    • The Department of Physics
    • The Department of Chemistry
    • The Department of Mathematics
  • The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    • The Department of Education
    • The Department of Youth and Family
    • The Department of Development and Education of Youth in Diverse Societies
    • The Department of Clinical Child and Family Studies
  • The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    • The Department of Biomolecular Health Sciences
    • The Department of Clinical Sciences
    • The Department of Population Health Sciences


There are also three additional teaching institutes outside of the faculty system offering specialist education and honours programmes. These are named University College Roosevelt, University College Utrecht and the Centre for Academic Teaching. Plus, the university has lots of research groups and institutes. In about 140 different research areas, academics work hard to discover new information and improve the world, and they often partner with other organisations for research purposes.




UU has two main campuses in the city of Utrecht, as well as a smaller site where University College Utrecht and the Utrecht University School of Economics are located. There’s also a satellite site in Middelburg in the southwest of the Netherlands, which contains University College Roosevelt.


Facilities across the university are excellent. UU prides itself on modern, high-quality teaching and has lots of purpose-built facilities that help students learn and stay involved. From the lecture theatre to the lab, learning spaces at UU are built to give students the best possible conditions for their education. There are also lots of study spaces for students at UU, including two large and resource-filled libraries, both busy student activity centres for group and independent study.


The main Utrecht Science Park campus has many amenities for extracurricular student life, too. These include restaurants and convenience stores, as well as an amazing student recreation centre called the Olympos Sports Centre. The centre hosts classes, gives students access to a range of exercise spaces, and is the site where many of the sports clubs at the university meet; there are more than 40 clubs! For culture and events between classes, there’s the Parnassos, too.


Students who step off campus in Utrecht and head west into the city will find even more facilities waiting for them, including some great student accommodation options and a lot of different evening entertainment choices.




UU is a very popular university. Over 35,000 people attend each year, and finding student accommodation isn’t always easy, especially as there’s no official university accommodation offered by UU. UU does have a short-stay accommodation scheme for international students, but mostly, it recommends that students start their search for the right student house or apartment early to make sure they can find the right space for their needs.


There are lots of location accommodation providers, and UU even reserves a certain number of furnished rooms and apartments with these providers to make things a little bit easier for new students. The largest private student accommodation and housing agency in Utrecht is SSH. Since their waiting list can be over 30 months long sometimes, students are encouraged to register as soon as possible.


There are also other housing agencies to look into for private rentals like Huurwoningen. Also, students will often advertise on Facebook if they’re searching for a roommate, so new UU applicants might find a place this way.


Student Support


If learners experience a problem while studying at UU, they can find help through the university’s long list of student support services. These services cover academic issues, personal issues, financial issues and administrative issues. Whatever the problem, there is a type of student support that can help.


For academic issues, each student can turn to a tutor, a student mentor and a study advisor for help. Each person is a student guide, there to advise students on how to do as well as possible at university and make the most of their time in the amazing city of Utrecht. There are also student services desks and faculty-specific student desks to turn to for more general questions and queries, as well as an academic skills programme for students struggling to keep up with their studies.


Disabled students can get the targeted academic/accessibility help they need. International students receive advice and help from admission to graduation. Any student with mental health issues can be easily and quickly connected to a student psychologist or other wellbeing service. Expert counsellors are always available to talk things through, from emotional counselling to career counselling to financial aid advice.


Graduate Outcomes


Utrecht University is committed to preparing its students for the world of work. UU students and recent graduates can access the expert career services offered by the university, as well as be prepared for high professional standards in the classroom so that their job prospects are maximised when graduation arrives. Examples of available employment services at UU include:


  • Self-assessment tests and online tools, resources, guides and tips
  • Various workshops covering all aspects of work (delivered in English and Dutch)
  • One-to-one coaching appointments with a career guide who can help students explore all their career options and create a plan for their professional future
  • An online, regularly updated job board listing internships, graduate jobs, and work opportunities while studying
  • Career fairs, networking days and other career-related events
  • Extracurricular options and skills classes to boost employability


With such a range of courses and so many students, it’s hard to give a figure that represents UU and its value in terms of employability. The university is respected and well-known for its teaching across several subjects, however, and employers recognise this. Graduates can feel confident that their degree will help them stand out to employers and that this is one of the main reasons why there are so many UU alumni success stories.


The university also has an excellent reputation for research (and producing talented researchers), so students who’d like to start a career in academia are as well-provided-for as students who want to step onto the professional ladder. With programmes available all the way up to the doctoral level, and world-class facilities, the learning can continue for as long as a student likes. 

Subjects you can study at Utrecht University

  • Applied and Pure Sciences Applied and Pure Sciences
  • Architecture and Construction Architecture and Construction
  • Business and Management Business and Management
  • Computer Science and IT Computer Science and IT
  • Creative Arts and Design Creative Arts and Design
  • Education and Training Education and Training
  • Health and Medicine Health and Medicine
  • Humanities Humanities
  • Law Law
  • Social Studies and Media Social Studies and Media

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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Key facts and figures at Utrecht University


Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Source: THE


QS World University Rankings 2023
Source: QS


Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022
Source: ARWU


Student life in numbers










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image Anonymous, Macau

Think Twice before you choose Netherlands

The set-up of the courses is pretty intense. As a student major in Economics, I personally feel that the faculty of economics of Utrecht University is extraordinary potential in the future. The practical sessions and lecture can sometimes benefits students at large extent. However, for some courses, the read full review

The set-up of the courses is pretty intense. As a student major in Economics, I personally feel that the faculty of economics of Utrecht University is extraordinary potential in the future. The practical sessions and lecture can sometimes benefits students at large extent. However, for some courses, the education quality are disappointing. The structure of the courses-selection system need to be adjusted. For the students who thinking of chase your degree in Utrecht, the advice in terms of academic aspect is that making most use of the facilities and staff of the institution. Don't expect much students activities and social involvement organized by student's union as you might expect in US or UK. show less

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