History, Culture & Arts in Europe

For centuries, Europe has been pivotal as a centre of innovation and creativity with a rich cultural heritage. The rise and fall of civilisations and empires and the shifting of borders has resulted in a complex mix of cultures, languages, religions and ethnicities. In 1992 the Maastricht Treaty led to the creation of the European Union with its motto “Unity in Diversity”, but what is European identity? How do the lessons of the past teach us about society today? These questions are at the heart of European culture and society, and hinge on difficult questions about European history and conflict.

Why this programme?

Founded by the Romans, controlled by the Spaniards, besieged by the French, and occupied by the Germans, picturesque 2000 year-old Maastricht, the Netherlands, personifies how European history has served as a prologue to the present. Final resting place of D’Artagnan and home to the world famous violinist André Rieu, the city is also host to the internationally acclaimed European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) and the region has an important presence on the international literary stage. At the crossroads of three borders and cultures, Maastricht is the perfect setting for students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Western civilisation and European culture.

The History, Culture & Arts in Europe programme invites you to investigate Europe’s past, present and future by exploring artistic movements and social history, as well as philosophical and cultural ideas, from a European perspective.

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. 
More information about CES services

Investigate the roots of European identity and culture

History, Culture & Arts in Europe students are directly enrolled at Maastricht University and able to take classes at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - awarded the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for outstanding education and research on European integration - as well as the Center for European Studies (CES). Courses can also be taken at the highly selective liberal arts and sciences programme from University College Maastricht.

Programme dates:

Integrated study trips
The two-week introduction offers a variety of academic and social activities and the European study trip. The introduction includes CES services (such as airport pick up and phone rental), a tour of Maastricht and the surrounding area, Maastricht University orientation, a Problem-Based Learning workshop, Intercultural Communication seminar and integration into Dutch student life.

The programme has integrated cultural and study trips. The programme begins with the five-day European Study Trip to Berlin which provides a vivid European context for the central programme theme. 

We also include two cultural weekend trips: 
‘If it Ain’t Dutch it Ain’t Much’; where students explore their choice of political or cultural highlights in The Hague, take a stroll through Dutch culture at the open air museum Zaanse Schans and bond with the group over the creation of their very own Delft blue tile.
‘A Taste of Paris’; where students will explore the city of light, indulge in the cuisine, experience the rich architectural and artistic beauty, and taste of one of the plethora of cultures which exist across Europe.


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.

Admission requirements

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:

  • 575 points (paper-based version)
  • 230 points (computer-based version)
  • 90 (internet-based version)

Your IELTS test score must be at least 6.5.

Admission & registration

Application procedure

Complete and submit the online application form and send all additional information mentioned below via email / regular mail 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

  • Official transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from teacher or study abroad advisor
  • Motivation letter
  • 1 Colour passport picture (digital, in jpeg format)
  • Scan or a clear copy of your passport (information page with photo and any other pages with stamps etc)

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.

Application deadlines

  • Fall 2019                1 April 2019
  • Spring 2020           1 October 2019

CES cancellation policy

The Center for European Studies incurs costs for each student we register. CES applies the following cancellation regulations:

  • If a student withdraws 8 weeks or more before the start of the programme, no costs will be charged with the exception of any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 5% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 10% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable

Exceptions to the above-mentioned cancellation regulations will be reviewed by CES on a case-by-case basis.


Laura Byrd

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 5265