University of Groningen

Once the regional powerhouse of the northern Netherlands, the city of Groningen can be traced back to the 3rd century A.D. - serving for several millenia as an important trade centre in Europe.

Groningen has a thriving student population - the largest student population per capita in the Netherlands, with 1 of 5 people studying there. RUG is a top 100 university, with over 28,000 students (4000 international students), and 9 faculties.

Key information


English, Dutch


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



20-21 applications

First come, first considered for remaining spaces until full or:

Mar. 15 (Fall, full year)

Sep. 10 (Winter)

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

21-22 applications

Opens Nov. 1, 2020

Student experience

Check out these blogs from past UCalgary exchange participants

Program details

Areas of Study: 
RUG offers a wide selection of subjects including Archaeology,  Art History, Business, Communication, Computer Science, Cultural Studies, Economics, Film Studies, Geography, History, International Relations, Law, Linguistics, Literature, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Urban Studies, and unique programs such as Dutch Studies (specifically designed for exchange students) and Journalism.

The Dutch Studies program, focused on Dutch art, culture, and society from the Middle Ages to the present, includes various excursions to museums and other areas of interest including the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Groningen museum, or Panorama Mesdag in Scheveningen. All courses in the program, except 1 Dutch language course, are taught in English (B2 CEFR level required). 

Groningen also offers a shortened LLM program for Law students accepted on exchange here. 2018 estimated cost for non-EU students is about €8000, and for EU students 2018 estimated cost is about €1200 euros - fees would be due at start of second semester of the program, following Law graduation at UCalgary. Contact the exchange advisor (details in sidebar) for more information. 

Course requirements:
In Europe, full-time course load is typically 30 ECTS (European credits), and exchange students at Groningen are typically expected to take 24-30 credits per semester. 6 ECTS = 3 UCalgary units (1 half-course). 
The amount of credits each course is worth corresponds to the workload/contact hours, and can vary from 1-30 ECTS per course, so please be mindful of this in your selection. You should also be cautious when selecting courses as though the catalogue is in English, not all courses are (see the language of instruction on the course for more detail). 

Please note that in the Netherlands, approx. 75% of your courses should be taken within the same faculty, with the other 25% either within that same faculty or one other faculty. Please note which Faculty you plan to take the majority of your courses from in the Course Selection field of your online application. 

The academic year is divided into 2 semesters.

  • Semester 1 runs from late August to late January. It's possible for UCalgary Law students to complete the first semester in December, but all other students must stay through January.
  • Semester 2 runs from early February to late June. 

Please Note: Dutch visa/permit applications for those not eligible for Dutch Working Holiday Permits may require travel to the Vancouver consulate to submit the documentation and take biometrics as needed within 3 months of departure to the Netherlands, so students may not have access to their passports during that time. 

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning.

    Compared to Calgary, the cost of living in Groningen is typically described as being quite similar. Some items will be more affordable and others more expensive, but on average costs tend to be comparable (excluding additional travel). It is recommended that students budget around €900-€1300 per month to pay for accommodation and living expenses. Cost of living estimates can be found online

    Please Note: Dutch visa/permit applications for those not eligible for Dutch Working Holiday Permits may require travel to the Vancouver consulate to submit the documentation and take biometrics as needed. Please check with your host university advisor once accepted regarding study visa/permit options, requirements, timelines, and costs. More info from Study in Holland.

    Groningen cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here

    Student Tip: "Definitely budget €60-100 for a secondhand bike that works well, even if it costs a bit more, and ALWAYS double-lock your bike. It's also a law in the Netherlands to have functioning lights on your bike when it gets dark so definitely make sure to grab those (if they don't come with your bike) as well. You also can't buy helmets here and no one wears them, but if you want the security, it might be worth bringing one from home. It can also save you money vs. buying the transit pass." 

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

Exchange students to RUG cannot always be guaranteed housing. The university has reserved limited rooms for international students through the housing provider SSH; these are predominantly one or two-person rooms with shared kitchen/facilities and are located off-campus.

Rent typically sits around €350-€500 per month. When availability is low, students must arrange for their own housing and are encouraged to look into the different accommodation providers recommended by RUG. Additional information can be found online. SSH offers fixed-term rental agreements. For convenience, bedding and kitchen packages can be purchased on arrival, though connecting with departing exchange/international students or checking out Ikea's offerings is also recommended for cost savings.

Student Tips: "You'll likely need a router if you want wireless in your room, so make sure to keep that in mind. I highly recommend living in the Winschoterdiep complex through SSH (Stichting Studenten Huisvesting - Foundation for Student Housing). Once you're accepted by Groningen, they refer you to SSH to fill in your application with preferred location and duration of stay. Once you are offered a residence spot, you'll have to fill in an agreement and pay your deposit. Housing was ready upon arrival." Note: the Kraneweg/Melkweg complex is also recommended. 

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at the U of C, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.9 (B) for undergrads and 2.7 for law students (B-).

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

Do I have to speak Dutch? 

RUG offers many courses in English and so no prior knowledge of Dutch is required for this exchange.

Is there a pre-semester Dutch language program?

The Language Centre of the University of Groningen offers various levels of Dutch courses for around €300. Exchange students can earn 5 ECTS towards their studies by adding a Dutch language program to their semester or year abroad. Students in the Faculty of Arts may be able to apply for a partial refund of these fees. 

What's special about Groningen?

RUG offers a unique "Studium Generale" program of events that offers an opportunity to attend interesting and challenging lectures and debates about science, culture, and society, designed for a wide audience. These are intended as an "antidote to over-specialization" and are an excellent supplement to regular curricula (no credit awarded). Additionally, it is easy to get to other parts of Europe from Groningen via bus or plane (from €14 roundtrip to Oldenburg), and to the other parts of the Netherlands by train. 

Student Tip: "The ACLO centre was an excellent fitness facility. You pay around €50 for a year of unlimited general fitness classes of various forms, or pay €70 to include the weights/fitness facility too. You can also sign up for other courses with a €10 deposit and then pay for other materials you might need. There are so many sports and dance classes available it's definitely a highlight!
There is also a canteen in the centre and Zernike that serves hot food and usually for a good price, though lunch and supper are only served around their respective times. Vegetarian options are always available. Groningen has tons of restaurants in the centre, and you can sometimes find good deals. Ariola has great pasta, De Soep Winkel has tasty fresh-made soups, the Waterloo trailer has GREAT fries and the Market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays is great for food."

"There wasn't a campus gym, but a few private gyms throughout the city. I chose “Trainmore” because it was nicer and closer than some of the other options. “ACLO” is a very common choice among students since it is relatively cheap, but it can be a longer commute by bike depending on where you live. It is also much colder than I expected in the winter in the Northern part of the Netherlands. You don’t necessarily need a parka, but a decent winter coat will make life much better. "

What resources are available for new students?

RUG publishes an online magazine called "GroningenLife!" with plenty of information on Dutch life for incoming students.

The local chapter of the Erasmus Student Network, ESN Groningen, organizes many activities throughout the year, including an introduction week at the start of every semester (in additional to international dinners, country nights, excursions to places in the NDLs and Europe, social events, charitable events, and educational programs. ESN also provides academic, social, and practical support throughout the school year, including a highly recommended mentor program for exchange students. 

Student Tip: "You absolutely need to sign up for ESN Orientation Week. Great way to meet people and they organize fun events throughout the year. At the same time, the ALCO introduction week lets you try out numerous sports for free to see what you like. The Groningen Student Rugby Club (GSRC) was an amazing way to meet dutch friends, you don’t even need to be good at rugby and they treat you like family! Joining a student club or sports team is the best way to make friends with local students, otherwise it can be difficult. Though it's easy to make international friends through ESN. Though an ESN membership was €35, it was a great way to meet people and join activities and excursions around the city and Europe. The best information probably came from my ESN Group Leaders, because they already knew the best places in Groningen to get groceries, bikes, books, etc."

What supports or services are available at Groningen? 

RUG offers academic support for students with accessibility needs. If you have a mental or physical disability (including dyslexia), please contact the home exchange advisor to make arrangements with the partner institution, and feel free to discuss any concerns you have with the study advisor at RUG. Requests around visual aids, extended time for exams, etc. should be expressed as soon as possible to the home exchange advisor and host university to allow time to setup accommodations. For more inunless you join a club or meet in a group with common interests, it’s difficult to makfo, please visit the page on Studying at RUG with a disability

For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "MappEd!" which allows you to check the accessibility of universities and cities across Europe. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.

Additionally, RUG also offers study support and counselling through the study advisor for each faculty, whom you can contact for issues regarding courses, counselling support needed, etc. If you require added support, there is also the Student Service Centre, where professional counsellors are available, free of charge. 

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Saskia Schaelicke

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.