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Education Honours College Why the Honours College?

An unforgettable experience

Job de Grefte

The Honours College of the University of Groningen was an unforgettable experience for me. When I was admitted to the Honours College in 2009, I still didn’t know quite what to expect. In the first place, I had just started studying for my Philosophy degree, so it was difficult for me to tell whether I would be able to keep up with the work involved in the programme. In the second place, the programme of the Honours College hadn’t quite taken shape yet, so there wasn’t much information available about things such as the content of the broadening modules and the Summer Schools. Despite this, the idea of ‘broadening as well as deepening your current degree programme’ really appealed to me, so I decided to give it a go.

In retrospect, it was a good decision. I really enjoyed course units such as ‘From Small to Large to Life’, organized by the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and ‘Exploring Religion as a Cultural Force’, organized by the Faculty of Theology. Apart from extending my knowledge, these course units gave me an understanding of the subjects, methods and techniques used by scholars outside my own discipline. It was also interesting to discover how participants from other faculties view reality from their own specific angle, and that enabled me to put my own approach into perspective.


In addition to the broadening components, I also took a number of deepening course units within my own faculty (Philosophy). These varied from extra course units on classical philosophy texts and in-depth units on subjects from the regular Philosophy programme, to a research placement that concluded with giving a paper at a philosophy conference. All in all, in a certain sense I think that the deepening course units help you with the regular degree programme. The extra knowledge you gain enables you to place the regular course units in a broader context, and working in a current research area gives you an idea of where you are heading with your Philosophy degree.

But the best experience was probably the Summer School in New York. A group of twenty of us from the Honours College looked at the ethical effects and causes of the credit crisis. Apart from the fact that the week and a half we spent there was unforgettable (we were taken on a tour of the New York Stock Exchange and went to a lecture at Columbia University, not to mention the New York nightlife…), when we got back we managed – as students – to find a publisher who was willing to publish our study in a popular-science anthology entitled ‘Generatie CRISIS: verder kijken dan #Occupy’ (‘CRISIS Generation: Looking Beyond #Occupy’). If you’d asked me before this whether I’d be publishing a book before I graduated, then I would certainly have had my doubts. In my view it’s worth a great deal that the Honours College facilitated this.

I'm not yet sure what completing the Honours College will bring in the future – only time will tell. In any case I can say that I really enjoyed the programme and I really believe it has broadened and deepened my knowledge. In addition, by working with students from every possible discipline, you broaden your horizons, not only as a professional but also as a person. And last but not least, an Honours degree isn’t a bad thing to have on your CV.

Job de Grefte

Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, October 2012

Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (completion expected in July 2012)

Bachelor’s Honours College (completed 2012)

Research Master’s degree in Philosophy (commenced November 2012)

Last modified:11 July 2022 1.53 p.m.
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