University of Utrecht

Study in the Netherland's 4th largest city at a globally top-ranked school both academically and for student experience (#51/#74 - ARWU 2018, THE 2019).

The University of Utrecht was founded in 1636 and has currently over 30,000 students with an international student population of 7%. Utrecht is consistently is ranked as one of the best cities in the Netherlands to study in. The city is located at the geographical centre of the country, making travel to Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam, and elsewhere in the Netherlands (and Europe) very quick and accessible.

Key information


English, Dutch


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2024-2025 applications

First come first considered for remaining spaces until

Winter 2025: August 15, 2024

University-specific additional requirements

No reference letter required; minimum GPA 2.7. See Eligibility section below for details.

2025-2026 applications

Open November 1, 2024

Student experience

International student experience at Utrecht University

Program details

Areas of Study: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and Educational Theory (Science). 

Students must take the majority of their courses from UU's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science. To supplement their studies, there is the option of adding a course from the Faculty of Humanities. It may also be possible for exchange students to arrange to do an individual research project during their time at UU.

Course requirements:

In Europe, full-time course load is typically 30 ECTS (European credits) per semester, and exchange students at Utrecht are typically expected to take 30 credits per semester. 6 ECTS = 3 UCalgary units (1 half-course). A typical at the University of Utrecht is worth 7.5 ECTS but can vary depending on workload/contact hours.

For more information on the pre-semester language course and semester language course, please see the FAQs. 

The academic year is divided into 2 semesters. 

  • Semester 1 runs from late August to early February. It isn't possible for students to complete Semester 1 in December; all Semester 1 students must stay through February.
  • 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.

    It is recommended that students budget around €900-€1400 per month to pay for accommodation and living expenses. Additional financial information 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.

  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 UU cannot be guaranteed housing. The university has reserved limited rooms for international students through the housing provider SSH (Short House Stay); these are predominantly one or two-person rooms with shared kitchen/facilities and are located off-campus. Rent typically sits around 400-800 Euros 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 EUR. Additional information can be found online

Student Tips: "There are three buildings on campus. I lived in De Bisschoppen. It was really nice and clean. Each floor has a communal balcony, and the layout is basically like an apartment. It’s a pretty quiet building. Cambridgelaan, which is one of the buildings across the street, is a little older [and noisier]. But Johanna, the other building across the street, is the newest/nicest, and there's also a roof terrace. SSH provided us with dishes, pots, pans, cutlery, vacuum, broom, mop, iron/ironing board, washer, dryer, microwave, stove, fridge, freezer, toaster, coffee maker, kettle. You need to buy your own pillow and bedding, SSH gives you an option to buy it from them but I think its more expensive than if you go into the city yourself. However, it’s convenient to have it ready for you when you get there so it might be easier. Wireless Internet was available. Each room has its own router so connection was never a problem. There’s a supermarket on campus called Spar with super convenient open times. There’s also an amazing pizza place on campus and a coffee/sandwich shop. There’s a cafeteria on campus that has pretty good food, freshly prepared. The library on campus has a lot of computers you can use and is huge! There’s also a library in the city that I loved going to."

"I lived in Johanna, which is one of the resident buildings part of SSH that has an agreement with Utrecht Unviersity. It is located right on campus and it is the newer building available in Utrecht SSH. My personal room was quiet large, about 17m2 . The rest of the apartment was big enough, with a large shared living room and kitchen area, two toilet rooms, a shower room and a closet for 6 roommates. Compared to other residence buildings offered by SSH, Johanna was the newest, cleanest, most modern and decently quiet building. Living on campus had its perks, but it was about a fifteen minute bike ride to the centre from Johanna. In our personal rooms, we had a bed, a shelf, a desk, a wardrobe, a chair, a sink and a few other small things like a white board and markers. I purchased bedding from the SSH as it was pretty cheap and would be waiting for me upon arrival. This was easy and convenient! I purchased a few things for myself, like towels, a laundry basket, more hangers, and a few other small items to make it a little more homey. The kitchen was fully equipped with all cooking utensils (dishes, pots, pans, forks, knives etc.). We also had a vaccum, mop, broom, and other cleaning supplies from SSH. They also provided a shower curtain for the shower room. All other normal things like toilet paper and soap we logically had to provide for ourselves. Each room had its own WiFi, and the living room functioned on EduRoam WiFi from the University. The Johanna building had three elevators, bike parking, a coffee shop, a laundry room, and two terraces. As well, the coffee shop area had some tables and space to hang out or study. All in all, the building had the most amenities of the SSH buildings available, and because it was new, it was all really visually appealing. Laundry was 1 EUR per washing and 1 EUR per drying. However, these had to be paid in 50 cent coins only, so you had to get used to saving your coins! Our rooms were equipped with drying racks if you did not want to use the dryers provided.

As well, I thought that I really could not live with roommates, but this was perhaps my favourite part of the arrangement. We became a family, always looking after each other, having at least one planned dinner together a week, and my residence was a place I was happy to come home to after a long day or a trip away for this very reason. Being in a building like Johanna also made it easy to make friends. On our very first night everyone came downstairs to the common area to meet each other, and after that we always had gatherings in peoples’ rooms or on the terraces. Most of my friends from exchange are people who lived in Johanna, and it became a tight-knit community really quickly. If you are nervous about meeting people I recommend student residence because most of the people there are in the same boat and just looking for friends to hang out with!"

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

Do I have to speak Dutch? 

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

What resources are available for new students?

In conjunction with the local ESN (Erasmus Student Network) chapter, UU arranges a large welcoming Orientation Day on campus. See more information online

Student Tips: "Attend ESN events! It’s a great way to make friends.They cater specifically to exchange students and help you settle into Utrecht. There was something going on almost every day for the first couple weeks. It’s how I met all my friends! If you’re anxious about going to a completely foreign country on your own for the first time, just know that everyone is feeling the same way. People have come from all over the globe, so really try to get to know people from different cultures/countries!"

What supports or services are available at Utrecht?

UU offers academic support for students with disabilities as well as counselling services. Information can be found online. For information on accessibility of campuses across Europe, ESN has created "Inclusive Mobility EU" 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.

What's special about Utrecht?

Student Tips: "Rent a paddle boat on the Ouedgracht, have picnics at Wilhemenia Park, go to Bagel & Beans, ride your bike and wander the city!"

"Utrecht is an AMAZING place to live as an exchange student in the Netherlands. It is a student city, not as big as Amsterdam, but with a more authentic Dutch charm than the capital. Getting there in February, the weather is cold. Every individual upon hearing you are from Canada will be surprised to hear you say so, but it is a really different kind of cold, and you’re biking in it-not driving. You definitely need a good winter set of jacket, toque, mitts and scarf. As it gets warmer, it rains a lot, so a good rain jacket and shoes would be a good idea, even though I made it by in my winter parka! Personally, there was only about a week or so in June that was really hot (even for the Dutch it was abnormal) but the evenings are still pretty cold! Transit in the Netherlands is really exceptional. As soon as you get there you should get an OV-Chipkaart, as it allows you to take the national trains and buses. Load it up with a solid amount right away, as you must have a minimum of 20 EUR to train travel and 4 EUR to use the city-bus. I did not think I would spend as much money on it as I did, but even busing to and from the train station and taking the train to an airport city here and there costs at least 20 EUR. There are group discount possibilities, but you usually need someone with a Dutch bank account for that so it gets hard to figure out, especially if you do not have one. Nonetheless, if you do have a Dutch bank account or a friend does, I recommend joining the Facebook Group for Utrecht NS Rail Group Discount right away.  A group of 10 people gets a roundtrip anywhere in the Netherlands for only 7 EUR. There are a bunch of other ways to try to get discounted train travel, you just have to find what works for you. Unfortunately, only Dutch students get completely free travel, and international students are exempt from this. But, the train system in the Netherlands really is so amazing that I found it worth it anyway!  In terms of places to go, Utrecht has a lot of things! For example, a typical Dutch thing is to get a little picnic set up in the city park on a nice day! As well, there is a beautiful pancake house just outside the campus/De Uithof area where you can have good traditional Dutch pancakes out of the city area surrounded by Dutch nature! Utrecht has the beautiful Dom Tower as well which actually has a really interesting history, so the “Under the Dom Experience” is a valuable one if you are interested in that sort of stuff. Food wise, there are tons of cool restaurants, it just depends how much your budget can stretch, but they’re easy to find and on every corner so it also depends on your interests. One thing I highly recommend is Carnaval in the Southern Netherlands. I did not know that it was such a huge celebration for the Dutch as well, and thankfully a friend convinced me to go. I had zero expectations, but it was really such an amazing day seeing all the Dutch dressed up, hearing Dutch music on the streets and seeing such a large and joyous celebration. It is not celebrated in Utrecht as much, so I recommend getting to somewhere like Maastricht where it is a huge deal. It is quiet early in the second semester experience so it would be easy to miss amidst getting settled in, but it is a must on my list! As nice as it is to easily travel Europe, go see smaller Dutch towns or places off the beaten path because the Netherlands has much more to offer than just Amsterdam!"

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program 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

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Tara Jorgensen

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 global learning 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 Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.