In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty led to the creation of the European Union (EU) with its motto “Unity in Diversity”, but what is European identity? How do the shared lessons of the past teach us about the continent’s contemporary challenges and future direction? These questions are at the heart of European culture and society and demand consensus and collaboration, born out of centuries of division and conflict.
Founded by the Romans, controlled by the Spanish, besieged by the French, and occupied by the Germans, the picturesque city of Maastricht personifies how Europe’s history has served as a prologue to the present. At the crossroads of three borders and cultures, it is the perfect setting for students to examine socio-economic, cultural, environmental and political perspectives and consider how they shape debates about human behaviour, shared values and belonging in today’s Europe.
At CES we have a small team of young-hearted, dedicated people ready to help you, so you can focus on the things that really matter during your stay abroad.
Investigate the roots of European identity and culture
Students are directly enrolled at Maastricht University (UM). They can take classes at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) - awarded the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for outstanding education and research on European integration, the Center for European Studies (CES) and the highly selective Liberal Arts and Sciences programme at University College Maastricht (UCM)
Friday 19 January - Saturday 8/15 June*
Important dates spring 2024
Friday 16 August - Saturday 21 December
*Depending on class selection
The programme starts with a two-week introduction, which includes CES services, the Berlin Study Trip, a tour of Maastricht and the surrounding area, UM orientation, a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) workshop, a cultural awareness lecture and integration into Dutch student life.
Berlin Study Trip
Dutch Day Trip
Paris Cultural Weekend
Maastricht University uses the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) to measure academic progress. Maastricht University courses typically have between 5-12 ECTS. How ECTS transfer depends on a student’s home university or college. Generally a 5-6.5 ECTS course is the equivalent of a full semester course (3 American credit hours).
You can earn a minimum of 24 and maximum of 32 ECTS per semester at CES. This is considered a full semester workload and usually transfers back as 15 American credit hours. CES advisors help students select classes to meet the requirements of their home university.
High academic standard
CES programmes are designed for enthusiastic and intellectually curious students dedicated to expanding their academic horizons while abroad. To ensure that students do well, CES offers extensive academic advising, workshops and regular monitoring. Maastricht University uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centered teaching approach. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their professors. Faculty act as guides to students who are in charge of their own learning and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated.
During a regular course (5-6.5 ECTS), students spend an average of 4-6 hours in class per week. For every hour in class students are expected to spend an additional 2-3 hours on study. The total workload for two regular courses or one intensive course is around 40 hours per week.
Acceptance to the open enrolment programmes is competitive and early application is recommended. While most students participating in our open enrolment programmes are undergraduates at the junior or senior level, applications by motivated students at the sophomore and/or freshman level with a good GPA will be considered too.
You should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to apply for a CES open enrolment programme. If you have a lower GPA you can request to be considered if you can show a recommendation from a professor or academic advisor at your home university or college with specific details about your academic development so far.
Applicants must be proficient in English. Non-native speakers are required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency.
Students with an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma are exempted, as are EU-nationals. International students who are enrolled as fulltime students at university or college in a native-speaking country where English is the language of instruction are also exempted.
All other prospective students must present a current TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Testing System), score before they can be admitted.
Your TOEFL test score has to be at least:
Your IELTS test score must be at least 6.5.
Complete and submit the online application and send all additional information mentioned below via email to your coordinator. Your CES coordinators will contact you within a week after receiving your application and additional information to assist you in the registration process and the preparations for your stay in Maastricht.
Additional required information
Regarding the criteria for the motivation letter, CES staff are interested in what inspires a student to apply. Why are they drawn to this programme, to Maastricht University or to Europe? Students may want to highlight academics and certain courses, the culture, history or personal goals. The motivation letter should be 1-2 pages in length.
An academic letter of recommendation is a 1 page letter (approximately) that highlights a student's academic background, character, academic or career goals and other related interests or achievements. The letter expands upon a student's record or transcript, providing insight into what kind of student they are and their suitability for the programme. It should be written by a professor, academic or study abroad advisor.
Please note that once your course list is finalised you will receive a course approval form which you will need to fill in with the help of your home institution.
The Center for European Studies incurs costs for each student we register. CES applies the following cancellation regulations:
Exceptions to the abovementioned cancellation regulations will be reviewed by CES on a case-by-case basis.
International Relations Officer
Monday - Friday