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 Liberal Arts and Sciences

Philosophy or physics? Medicine or mathematics? Law or a language?  One of the distinguishing features of a Liberal Arts and Sciences program is that you do not have to choose. The Liberal Arts and Sciences educational concept is based upon the idea that today’s most complex problems can no longer be solved with a mono-disciplinary approach. This is the ‘opening of the mind’ the founding fathers of the Artes Liberales had in mind. Our program allows students to find a bachelor’s program which suits all of their interests. Students at University College Roosevelt construct their own academic program, tailor-made to their individual interests. In doing so, the program prepares them for a world whose demands and challenges will grow more complex each year, while optimally preparing them for the master’s program or the job of their choice.

UCR’s three-year program, with two semesters a year, requires students to take four courses per semester. A total of at least 24 courses is needed to obtain either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree, awarded by Utrecht University. Mid-way through each semester, students meet with their Tutor to review the semester and to decide which courses to take in the next. They can make any number of course combinations, provided that they fall within the choice rules. All of the more than 200 courses UCR offers are part of one of our four departments: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Academic Core. A fifth department, Engineering (ENG), will be added in 2020, enriching the Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum.

Generally, students focus on two to three related fields of study, resulting in combinations such as Politics, Law, and Economics (major: Social Sciences); History, Literature, and Antiquity (major: Arts & Humanities); or Earth & Environmental Science and Biology (major: Science). We have also seen such combinations as Mathematics and Music; Anthropology, Law and Life Science; and Literature and Cognitive Science.

While other schools also offer Liberal Arts and Sciences programs, one of the distinguishing features of UCR is our emphasis on undergraduate research. We pioneered undergraduate research programs in the Netherlands and organize a yearly undergraduate research conference. Since we believe that studying is essentially about asking the right questions and having the methodological tools to answer them, all our students take mandatory courses in research methodology. Moreover, students will be involved in research projects from their first courses onwards. Many of our students have conducted original research, together with their instructors, to present the results at conferences or in academic journals.

Although still relatively new in the Netherlands, the Liberal Arts and Sciences (LA&S) approach to academic education has a long and rich history. Its core characteristic of combining different fields of studies is the cornerstone on which all universities in continental Europe were founded. In the past century, LA&S has proven itself as an effective way of structuring undergraduate education in the United States. In 1998, Utrecht University was the first university in the Netherlands to offer an English-taught LA&S bachelor’s program at University College Utrecht. This marked the start of a sharp rise in LA&S programs in the Netherlands and continental Europe. UCR was the third University College offering a LA&S program in the Netherlands and is one of the most successful University Colleges to date.