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  • Locations: Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
Program Description:
About the Program Accommodations
Eligibility Dates and Costs
Academics Visa Information

About University College Maastricht (UCM)

Founded in 1976, Maastricht University is the youngest university in the Netherlands. Its rapidly expanding student body currently numbers about 16,000.  Noted for its highly ranked academic programs (they have been consistently ranked top Liberal Arts and Sciences program in The Netherlands by Elsevier), Maastricht University is known as an educational innovator with a strong international commitment.  University College Maastricht is part of the Faculty of Humanities & Sciences, which is one of the 7 faculties that comprise Maastricht University.  UR also has partnerships with two of Maastricht University's other faculties: the Faculty of Economics & Business Administration and the Faculty of Law.

UCM is located at the "Zwingelput," which is in the historical center of the city of Maastricht. The Zwingelput has been completely renovated to serve as a UCM building. The building comprises a small courtyard and is located adjacent to the park. This is the perfect place to spend some free time in between classes and assignments. Students with laptops can connect to the internet both in the building as well as in the garden using a wireless connection. The building is conveniently located near the University library, several restaurants and lunchrooms, and a five minute walk leads you to the Vrijthof square, which is the historical and geographical center of the city.

Dutch building
The city of Maastricht is situated between Belgium and Germany in the southernmost region of the Netherlands. The German town of Aachen is only a half-hour's drive away, as is Liège in Belgium. Lining Maastricht's cobblestone streets are historic buildings (many with 18th century facades), churches, small shops, and lively market places. Centuries-old fortification walls still partially surround the town. In 1991, the city attracted international attention as the host of the European Summit which adopted the Treaty of Maastricht, enhancing the cooperation between European Community member state governments to include political as well as economic cooperation. This cooperation ultimately led to the formation of the European Union.

Click here for a quick sketch of the city.


  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (GPA in the major is especially important), but best if students have a 3.2 or higher GPA
  • Robins School of Business students may transfer back credit from only one (1) business course taken while enrolled on the UCM program to count towards their business degree.  Specific course approval must be given by Dr. Tom Cosse.  RSB students may transfer courses back from non-business subjects to count towards any non-business majors/minors and general education requirements (pending departmental approval) and towards the total units needed for graduation. Business students interested in Maastricht would likely be better-served applying through the Maastricht School of Business & Economics
  • Note:  Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university to study abroad. When reviewing applications for approval, disciplinary records will be taken into consideration and students must be cleared by the Dean's Office to study abroad. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if their probationary period extends beyond the start date of the semester abroad program.
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Course Structure

UCM bases its educational approach on problem-based learning (PBL) in which a theoretical or practical problem determines the course of a student's academic activities. UCM is also characterized by small-scale teaching, multi-disciplinary integration, skills training, and international perspectives on teaching and learning. All coursework is in English. UCM is highly participatory, with classes held 5 days per week, and is best for serious students. For more information on the PBL system, see this document: Problem Based Learning.doc.

Course Load

UCM divides each semester into three periods; two course periods of eight weeks and one optional project period of four weeks*.  Within each eight-week course period, students take two courses and one skills training.  During the optional project period, students work on only one project.  The chart below outlines a typical semester.  *Students attending UCM in the fall cannot participate in the optional Period 3 Project period because of the end dates.

For UR students, the fall semester is comprised of periods 1 and 2.  The spring semester is comprised of periods 4 and 5, with period 6 being optional. 

First Course Period
(8 weeks)
Second Course Period
(8 weeks)
Optional Third
Course Period
(4 weeks)
Course 1 (5 ECTS) Course 3 (5 ECTS) Project (5 ECTS)  
Course 2 (5 ECTS) Course 4 (5 ECTS)    
Skills 1 (2.5 ECTS) Skills 2 (2.5 ECTS)    
12.5 ECTS 12.5 ECTS 5 ECTS 25-30 ECTS

All credit will be transferred back to UR using the Unit System.

To determine the unit value of an individual ECTS course, the following formula will be used by the UR Registrar's office: # of ECTS credits divided by 7 and rounded up to the nearest tenth of a unit.

A minimum unit load at Richmond is 3.5 units. Therefore, in order to maintain full-time status you should register for 24 - 30 ECTS per semester.  30 ECTS is the maximum an exchange student can take per semester at UCM.  To learn more, click here: Conversion to Units

Below is a table with the conversion into units as it will appear on the UR transcript.

ECTS Credits

Richmond Units

2 .3
2.5 .4
3 .5
4 .6
5 .8
6 .9
6.5 1
7 1
8 1.2

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Course Selection

Course information, including course descriptions, can be found on the UCM website or in the UCM Course Catalog 2018-19. You may also search the Course Finder.  When searching for courses, be sure you only look at courses offered in one of the Periods you will be in Maastricht. Students planning to be abroad in the fall semester should only look at courses on offer in Periods 1 or 2.  Students planning to be abroad in the spring semester should only look at courses on offer in Periods 4 or 5.  Courses are offered in the following subject areas, but please note there are usually only a few courses available in each subject:

  • Arts and Literature
  • Biology and Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computer Science
  • Cultural Studies
  • Economics
  • Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Genetics
  • History
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Mathematics / Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

Note for students taking science: Not all courses in the sciences offer lab time, or as much lab time, as courses at UR. Students planning to take science courses at UR should see their faculty advisor for specific advising. Amy Bergmann in the Office of International Education can provide assistance in getting detailed course descriptions, including confirmation of lab time, in order to determine if the course would be considered for major/minor/Gen Ed credit here at UR.  NOTE:  At present, students approved for UCM are not able to take courses from the Maastricht Science Program (MSP), so you should consider carefully whether UCM offers the array of science coursework you may need. 

Due to the academic calendar and PBL system, UCM does not have a drop/add period so students should make their initial course choices very carefully.

Dutch Language Requirement:  It is a UR requirement that students take a Dutch language course while studying abroad at Maastricht.  For information, see the Language Centre website.  The credit-bearing Basic Dutch course will satisfy this requirement and the 75 Euro cost for this course is reimbursable by the Office of International Education if students submit receipts to the office within 60 days of the charge.

Grading Scale


UR Equivalent




Very Good (B)










*Grades of Insufficient (F/FX) earned at UCM will not earn transfer credit back to Richmond. Students must earn the equivalent of a "C" or better to earn transfer credit.

Important Information about Grading:
At Maastricht, each course is comprised of several course components, and each component must be passed successfully in order to receive a passing grade for the entire course. For example, if a course has 10% of the grade for class assignments, 20% for a paper (essay), and 70% of the grade for the exam, each of the three components must be passed successfully in order to receive a passing grade (equivalent to a 'C' or better) for the course and to achieve transfer credit. Therefore, even if a student receives a perfect score in two of three course components, if the third component is not successfully passed, the student will not receive academic credit.
Re-sitting exams
If a student fails a course or a skill, it will be decided by the course coordinator if a student is permitted a re-sit.  If permitted, written assignments will have to be submitted before the deadline through the SafeAssign system (can be uploaded from anywhere) OR you will have a re-sit exam in Maastricht.  The fall 2017 re-sit week is from January 29-February 2, 2018 and spring re-sit week is from July 2-6, 2018.  If you are not be able to attend the sit down re-sit exam, you will have to contact your course coordinator and discuss the options and conditions under which it may be allowed to take a proctored exam at Richmond. 

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Visiting students are housed in the Guesthouse located at Brouwersweg, a student residence hall that is a 10-minute bike ride from UCM. The Guesthouse is made up primarily of the C-Building and P-Building and has 350 rooms (single & double available), and 45 Master rooms/studios. Rooms have either individual or shared kitchens. All rooms have internet access. Accommodations are booked on a first-come first-served basis, so you must act promptly to reserve your room as soon as you are accepted by UM and know the dates of your study.  Richmond students are not permitted to book off-campus/independent housing.

A linen package (this includes a duvet, duvet cover, and pillow case) can be bought at the front desk for 40 Euros. The Guesthouse also allows students to borrow items such as a bicycle pump, vacuum cleaner, telephone books, and a tool box at the front desk. Faxes and copies can be made for free at the front desk also. There are also a tennis court and basketball court that students can use for free, including equipment. The Guesthouse has laundry facilities in the C-building and P-building. In each you will find washers, dryers, an ironing board, and an iron. The hallways, communal kitchens, toilets, the floors of the communal kitchens, and living rooms are cleaned by a cleaning service provided by the Guesthouse UM. Upon your arrival, as part of your fees, you will pay for the final cleaning of your individual room. During the time of your stay, all students are responsible for keeping their kitchens, living areas, and rooms clean.

Richmond students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own accommodation and meals at Maastricht. Accommodations are self-catering, meaning students cook for themselves. An on-campus cafeteria is open on week days and offers snacks, salads, and hot and cold meals at student-friendly prices.  For more details about applying to the Guesthouse in Maastricht, use the website, which includes room costs and details.

Dates and Costs

Click here to see the University College Maastricht Dates & Costs

Visa Information

Currently there is no visa required for U.S. citizens to study in the Netherlands.* However, students must apply in advance for a residence permit that is received after arrival in the Netherlands. The cost for the residence permit is currently 192 Euros. Specific details about the permit are on the Student Services Centre page of the Maastricht website. More information will be given out about the Residence Permit after a student is accepted to the UM program or see Immigration Instructions -- Netherlands.

*Important Flight Information:  Because U.S. citizens going to The Netherlands do not require a visa in advance (instead you apply for a residence permit picked up after arrival), we encourage you to either fly direct from the U.S. to The Netherlands or via a non-Schengen country (such as Canada or England) due to possible immigration complications.  Non-U.S. citizens who do apply for the visa in advance would possess the necessary visa to transit through Schengen countries, so this is not a concern. 

Image:  Dutch Flower Auction     
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To Learn More
For more information contact Amy Bergmann in the Office of International Education.  Students may also download the Maastricht UCM Orientation Manual for additional information.

Updated April 2018

This document represents the most accurate information available at the time of publication. Statements contained herein are not contractual obligations, and verbal or other representations that are inconsistent with or not contained within the document are not binding. The University of Richmond reserves the right to change without specific notice programs and the conditions under which they are offered.

I can't think of a better country to study abroad in than the Netherlands. The years you spend in college, and your twenty's in general, is time to discover yourself – cultivate your passions and expand your worldview. Foreigners have visited or settled in the Netherlands, all bringing with them their own cultures, opinions and ideas. Because of this, the Dutch are known for being tolerant and open-minded. You don't have to worry about being "different" in the Netherlands. Rather, you'll quickly see how being surrounded by people who embrace differences is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself and others.
     — Spring, 2015 Participant
Read what others have said about this program.