Small-scale and international

Maastricht University (UM) is known for its Problem-Based Learning system and international orientation. Our small-scale ‘international classroom’ brings together people from all over the world who have different backgrounds and perspectives. And it’s these very differences that make the UM learning experience unique.

Our study programmes, too, are internationally oriented. They are focused on helping you get the best out of yourself and preparing you as well as possible for your future career, be it here or anywhere else in the world. Indeed, Maastricht is often said to feel like a little piece of ‘abroad’ right here in the Netherlands. Together with the many study-abroad opportunities enjoyed by our students, this makes studying at UM a truly international experience.

UM’s Vision on Education

Research mission

The main mission of education at Maastricht University (UM) was, is and will be the integrated academic and professional development of the student. Teaching and learning therefore focus on both the academic and personal development of the student.

We do that by:

  • striving to be an open and welcoming, truly inclusive university
  • training our students to become life-long learners who can define, analyse and solve complex problems, think critically and adapt when faced with complex changes in a regional, national and international context
  • creating an international classroom with international topics, teacher from all over the world, and students from highly diverse student population. This cultural diversity provides ample opportunity to develop intercultural skills and gives true dimension to the international classroom, which is a corner stone of UM’s internationalisation strategy
  • focussing on employability of our graduates, not only through the acquired knowledge and skills as offered in the curriculum but also by developing specialized career services. It is considered of great importance that students receive sufficient support and are facilitated and well informed on the link between their study programme and the (inter) national labour market

 Please read the Vision on Education of Maastricht University.

Problem Based Learnng

Problem-Based Learning  

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) offers you a different way of learning from traditional university education. You work in small tutorial groups, engage in hands-on training and attend (far) fewer lectures. Under the supervision of a tutor, you team up with ten to fifteen students to tackle real-life challenges. PBL is an active way of learning that gives you better retention of knowledge, enhances your motivation and encourages you to develop skills that are essential for the labour market in the 21st century. In short: PBL is all about you, your tutors are very approachable and you learn together in a dynamic way, helping form you into an assertive professional. 

What are these ‘skills for life’? Research shows that PBL teaches you to:

  • really understand the subject matter, rather just learning by rote
  • collaborate with partners and small teams
  • think critically with a view to solving problems
  • study and work independently
  • feel comfortable with public speaking

 Read more about Problem-Based Learning.  

Fast facts
In PBL you decide, together with your fellow group members, what knowledge you will need Your group is supervised and guided by a tutor or lecturer
You learn skills that will stand you in good stead later
You engage actively with the subject matter, enabling you to absorb it better
PBL has been at the heart of UM ever since the university was founded
Complex problem solving is the number 1 skill for your future, according to the World Economic Forum



“Students shouldn’t start to think that the world falls into the categories that scientists have come up with; that everything is a natural sciences or chemistry problem. Because there you are with your aspirin, which isn’t a miracle panacea. The world doesn’t fit into clear boxes.”

Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of Philosophy of Technology at Maastricht University

 Read the full interview with Prof Swierstra

International Classroom

Maastricht University (UM) is proud of its international study body. A full 50% of our students come from abroad, making UM the most international university in the Netherlands.

The majority of our programmes embrace international themes and are taught either entirely or partly in English. Our academic staff are also highly diverse, with roughly 38% coming from abroad. Further, each year UM welcomes hundreds of foreign exchange students, while almost 40% of our own students participate in study-abroad programmes. Thanks to our many partner universities, Maastricht University puts the world at your feet.

To make best use of this diversity, UM has embraced the concept of the ‘international classroom’. This is a long-term project encompassing many activities and initiatives, but it is also a mindset among students and staff. The learning process benefits when students work in small tutorial groups with people from different cultural backgrounds: by approaching problems from a variety of perspectives, students are acquainted with different ways of seeing things that enhance the quality of the discussion. In this way, the ‘international classroom’ serves to prepare students for the rapidly changing and globalising market.

 Read more about the International Classroom.

Fast facts
50% of our students and 40% of academic staff come from abroad
with over 100 nationalities, UM is home to the most international student body in the Netherlands
38% of our students go on an exchange: the highest percentage of all Dutch universities
1,000 incoming exchange students
diversely composed PBL tutor groups
most study programms are offered either fully or partly in English

Work towards your future career

Maastricht University is dedicated to preparing its students for the world of work with the knowledge, skills and qualities that employers are looking for. So, make the most of your time at Maastricht University and start thinking about your future career as soon as possible. Grasp the opportunities on offer and look for an internship or other opportunities to gain work experience that suit you. It will enable you to gain hands-on experience and build up a network, giving you a flying start to your professional career.

Read more about working towards your future career.

Research education

Research Education

At Maastricht University, CORE stands for Collaborative Open Research Education. Collaboration between disciplines (interdisciplinarity) is central to this, both in research and education. We are convinced that this is the only way to find solutions to the most urgent problems facing our society today. In concrete terms this means, among other things, that students can participate in scientific research right from the start of their studies. CORE will be implemented between 2017 and 2021, the timeframe set for UM’s current strategic programme, titled: 'Community at the CORE'.

Education innovation: EDLAB

At Maastricht University, we are continually working to improve our PBL educational methodology and to come up with new and innovative educational concepts. We even have an office that is exclusively dedicated to educational innovation: EDLAB. EDLAB is responsible for supporting UM instructors in teaching, coming up with new teaching methods, helping UM instructors and examination committees improve assessment procedures, and managing Maastricht University’s excellence programmes.

 Read more about EDLAB   

UM STEM programmes

UM offers science, technology and engineering and mathematics (STEM)* education in various fields, and we do it just a little differently from others. We have the only natural science programme in the liberal arts and sciences tradition in the Netherlands, where undergraduate students can create their own curriculum by combining courses in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics; Maastricht Science Programme.

In the bachelor programme Data Science and Knowledge Engineering you can gain valuable work experience through the honours programme KE@Work . Here you spend 50% of your time on education and 50% working in businesses (like Vodafone and Medtronic) on academically challenging business cases.

In addition, some of our teaching is done on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, among the offices of many of Limburg’s industrial leaders. How will our students make a difference in the future? That's what drives our curriculum.
*In Dutch this is known as ‘bèta’


Talent and honours programmes

For bachelor's and master's students who want more and can do more, Maastricht University offers several different talent and honours programmes. Some of these are unique programmes offered only to students of a specific faculty. Other programmes are offered to all UM bachelor’s or master’s students. The university also has three Honours Colleges that offer selective bachelor's programmes for talented and motivated students who want the freedom to build an individualised academic profile.

Are you interested in an talent or honours programme? Then you know that participation puts you a step ahead. But you also know that you need excellent academic performance and will spend many hours in addition to your regular studies on fascinating lectures, workshops and research.

 Read more about the talent and honours programmes.

Fast facts
you distinguish yourself as a top student
you broaden and deepen your knowledge
you learn valuable skills and competencies
you gain work and/or research experience

Education at UM

Want to catch a glimpse of what education at UM looks like? Watch the video.

Quick links:
 Problem-Based Learning
 International orientation
 Honours programmes
 Request a study brochure

Education @ Maastricht University

Prospective student events

prospective students events

At Maastricht University we organize various events to inform secondary school students about our programmes, Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and the university. For prospective Master's students, we organize the Master's Open Days.

 Read more about the several activities and visit the study information calendar
 Visit our Virtual Open Day


Maastricht University (UM) has built a solid reputation, and is today considered one of the best young universities in the world. UM consistently earns top positions in various national and international rankings.

If you’re still figuring out where you want to study and want to compare the programmes offered at multiple universities, then it’s good to know how the programmes and universities score in national and international rankings. Or if you’re looking into becoming a researcher or applying for a position as a lecturer, for example, the national and international rankings can provide useful information. It’s also helpful to know how the quality of a programme or university is assessed by national and international accreditation organisations.

 Read more about rankings and accreditations.

UM is the fifth best young university in the world

Times Higher Education '250 Under 50'

Distinctive quality feature for internationalisation

Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)
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