International Relations and Politics in the EU

The European Union (EU) was created in the wake of the Second World War, largely to prevent further mass conflict by focusing on economic and political integration.

Beginning in 1951 with six members, the EU has grown to a current membership of 27 nations, almost half a billion citizens, covering most of the European continent. It is the first time in history that so many nations have been willing to sacrifice certain aspects of national sovereignty in order to achieve peace and stability, but also economic and social justice. The ‘European experiment’ is now an established reality. However, Europe’s future is far from certain. With Brexit, immigration challenges and the rise of the political far-right, it is poised between protecting national interests and further integration.

The EU is a symbol of pan-European cooperation and diplomacy after centuries of ceaseless upheaval. Even amid ‘Euro-scepticism’ and the growing divisions created by economic austerity, the EU continues to inspire citizens all over the world.

Why this programme?

The development of a united Europe
During the programme, students will analyse the historical, political and economic foundations of the rise of the European Union, from its post-World War II origins to the historic enlargements of 2004, 2007 and 2013. Students will also examine the present tensions within the EU and their direct relationship to the various aspects of European integration. The course focuses on the protection of human rights within the EU, especially in the context of European integration, the UN framework for the protection of fundamental freedoms and the European Convention on Human Rights. By the end of the programme, students will have received comprehensive coverage of the key political, legal and economic policy areas of the EU. This programme is ideal for students interested in exploring EU international relations, history and politics, economic and legal issues, and the global challenges and opportunities that it faces today.

Programme dates

  • January 2022:
    2 - 22 January 2022

Inside the ‘European experiment’
True to the tradition of applied learning, the International Relations and Politics in the EU programme is not confined to the classroom. During study trips, students’ understanding of the EU and its political and legal processes will be deepened by visiting important institutions. Students will also have the opportunity to wander through charming old town centres and will be immersed in European culture and tradition.

The first study trip to Brussels includes, for example, visits of the European Parliament and European Commission, a historical city tour and other cultural highlights.

The second study trip to the Hague and Amsterdam includes, for example, visits of the International Court of Justice, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch open air museum Zaanse Schans and an activity of choice.

What can you expect from CES?

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, whether that is selecting the right courses, getting to an airport for your flight to Barcelona, finding a volunteer opportunity, meeting Dutch students, buying a bike or more. Read more.

Before you get here...
You will have one person responsible for your programme, who will guide you through the application process and the preparation of your stay abroad. The programme coordinator will sign you up for classes, arrange housing and order insurance (if applicable), as well as the introduction programme. You can contact your coordinator with any question you might have.

After you arrive...
Once you're here, your programme coordinator will guide you through the application of your temporary residence permit (if necessary). Afterwards, we will be here for whatever you need. There are no limited office hours, our doors are always wide open and you can reach each programme coordinator on their cell phone 24/7. Just walk in, we are always happy to see you :o).

General overview of CES services

  • Advice and assistance during application
  • Direct enrolment at Maastricht University
  • Academic guidance
  • Housing reservations
  • Tour of Maastricht University
  • Introduction programme
  • On-site support throughout the programme
  • Library and IT services
  • Transcripts
  • Disability Management
  • Dutch SIM cards
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

Courses & curriculum

A challenging study experience
For students of international law, Maastricht is the perfect setting, located between the ‘European capital’ in Brussels and Amsterdam and The Hague, centres of international law and politics. Maastricht is renowned as the birthplace of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union. Maastricht University is a recognised international European institution with a prestigious Law faculty and dozens of international study programmes.

The total workload for January Programmes is 36 class hours, during which time students earn 7.5 ECTS credits. How ECTS credits transfer back depends on your home university or college. Generally a 5 - 6.5 ECTS course is the equivalent of a full semester course (3 American credit hours).

Maastricht University uses the European-wide ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) to measure academic progress.

Rankings & recognition

An intensive study abroad experience
Maastricht is the ‘birthplace’ of the European Union and a symbol of pan-European identity, lying at the southernmost part of the Netherlands between Belgium and Germany. Maastricht University is an internationally renowned research university, with dozens of academic programmes in English and focused on internationalism and themes of European integration. You couldn’t pick a better or more beautiful city in which to get to know the EU.

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.

Your future

  My time with the CES was very useful for ultimately getting my position at the ICTY. It helped me to better understand the jurisdiction of the EU and the work of the International Courts.  
Aphra Lee - University of Melbourne

Make yourself marketable to your future employer by studying abroad. The knowledge and skills you aquire beyond the classroom translate seemlessly to the workforce. A proven track record for being culturally sensitive, independent and proactive makes you a much more valuable candidate for employement, as does having a wider worldview and a deeper understanding of international affairs and global issues. 

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 and registration

Application procedure
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

  • 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, etcetera).

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 (i.e. before 8 November 2020), no costs will be charged;

  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start of the programme (i.e. between 8 November 2020 and 6 December 2020), CES will charge 25% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable;

  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start of the programme (i.e. after 6 December 2020), CES will charge 50% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable.

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

Application deadline

15 October 2020


Kyra van Leendert

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 5289