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The Honour’s College: Looking for an extra challenge? 

Date:29 May 2024
Patricia Beerda about her Honours College experience
Patricia Beerda about her Honours College experience

Are you considering applying for the Honours College? Do you like to meet and collaborate with students from different faculties? Are you interested in learning about different fields of study? Do you want to learn more in depth about topics regarding your own Bachelor’s Degree? Are you up for an extra challenge? And… Do you want to do a summer or winter school in a nice location abroad? Then the Honours College is for you! 

Why Honours College?

I was drawn to the Honours College Programme in the first year of my Bachelor’s Degree, after I received an e-mail with information regarding the application process and what the study entails. The Honours College Programme is a two and a half year extracurricular programme, composed of 45 EC, that can be taken parallel to your full time degree without paying any additional tuition fees. What mostly encouraged me to apply for this Programme was the aspect of interdisciplinarity. I found it very interesting to learn more about subjects in other disciplines that are very different from what I study, yet are also important to understand, for instance, global issues from different perspectives. The connection with students from other faculties make class discussions more interesting and deepens your knowledge both inside and outside of your own field of study. It is definitely motivating and challenging, yet, allows you to develop a holistic understanding of scientific and societal challenges.


Overview of the Bachelor’s Honours Programme


The Honours Programme comprises two major components: the deepening and broadening part. For the deepening part, classes are taken with students from your own faculty. These lectures are about subject matters that are relevant to your own discipline, however, are not taught in your regular degree programme, which makes it more interesting. For example, I took a class regarding Health Law and Human Rights, which is a subject matter that is not covered in my Bachelor’s degree. Currently, I am taking a class that is entitled “Methods and Methodology in Comparative Law”, which is very useful for writing a thesis. While these topics are not directly tackled in the Bachelor’s degree, it allows the students to learn more about broader topics that may be of interest to them.

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Summer School in Tanga, Tanzania: ‘Mining Industry, Sustainable Development Goals, and Local Communities: The Case of Gypsum. Photo Credits Emma Brambilla, Participant

The broadening part, on the other hand, encourages students to pick classes that are usually taught by other faculties, with students from a variety of disciplines. Classes that can be taken range from broad topics, for instance, regarding epic journeys of heroes in world literature, why people commit crimes, dementia and intellectual disabilities, artificial intelligence in healthcare, and social aspects of sustainability, amongst others. The broadening courses are moreover connected to a summer or winter school, where students get a chance to visit and attend around a week long seminars and workshops in different places in the world. The choices we had for instance were to go to Tanga in Tanzania, Amman in Jordan, London in the United Kingdom, or Coopenhagen in Denmark, to name a few.

At the end of the Honours College Programme, a culmination event is held called the Honours Festival. This is the final activity of the broadening part of the programme that students have to complete before graduating. Following this event, the Honours College medal is presented by the Honours faculty coordinators. Once you have completed the programme, this is mentioned on your Bachelor’s Diploma Supplement and you will receive a letter of recommendation from the Dean of the Honours College.

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 Winter School in Cambridge, United Kingdom: ‘History of Reproduction. Photo Credits Miruna Chironda, Participant

Aside from this, there is also a Honours Community, Honours Review, and a Student Association of the Honours College, the Honours College Social Association (HCSA). The study association organises trips and also hosts events. The Honours Review is a peer-reviewed magazine where students can publish their research. In addition, the Honours College tower also has some very nice study booths where you can study!

Applying for the Bachelor’s Honours College Programme


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The Honours College Study Booth. Photo Credits Patricia Beerda

Admission to the Honours College programme is based on selection. In order to qualify for the programme, it is necessary to meet certain criteria. However, everyone is encouraged to apply! The application procedure includes an online application, where the submission of motivation, obtained grades, and number of ECs are assessed. After this procedure, you will receive an e-mail on whether you are eligible for the next round of the procedure, which usually encompasses the submission of a video or an interview with the selection committee. Once admitted to the Honours College, a welcoming ceremony is held in early April.

Why join the Honours College?

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 Opening Ceremony Honours College, April 2022. Photo Credits Patricia Beerda

If you are interested in team building, meeting other students and making friends from different faculties, going on a summer school with a choice of a multitude of out of the country destinations, learning more about recent issues from different perspectives, all while enhancing your CV at the same time? Then I would definitely encourage you to apply for the Honours College! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Honours College at honours or visit the Honours College website.

About the author


Hi everyone! My name is Patricia, a Filipino and Dutch student currently pursuing her Bachelor of Laws in International and European Law. I truly love to explore new places, try different restaurants and cafes, reading, music, taking pictures, and meeting and spending time with my loved ones.