Politics, Law & International Relations in Europe

Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are the core values of the European Union (EU). Yet in light of challenges such as migration and societal integration, Brexit and the rise of Euro-scepticism, the future of the EU is far from certain. In a world of converging cultures and different political and legal systems, Politics, Law & International Relations in Europe students explore how policy-makers negotiate between member states with a range of different nationalities, languages and agendas.

Why this programme?

The Netherlands holds an unparalleled position in the international legal field and is at the forefront of civil liberties and human rights. Maastricht is a stone’s throw away from the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as well as the European Parliament in Brussels, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. At these institutions, students can examine national agendas, opposition to political union and the roles of international actors such as NATO and the UN.

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

Classes with a distinct European focus

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 internationally renowned European Law School (ELS), the Center for European Studies (CES) and the highly selective Liberal Arts and Sciences programme at University College Maastricht (UCM).

Programme dates:

  • Fall 2021:
    Friday, 13 August - Saturday, 18 December

     Important dates Fall 2021

  • Spring 2022 Semester:
    Friday, 14 January - Saturday, 4 June


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

  • The adventure begins with a five-day trip to Berlin, which provides a vivid European context for this programme. Students will visit, for example, former concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, the Bundestag, and explore Berlin on a guided walking tour. The trip also includes programme-specific visits.

Dutch Day Trip

  • Students will explore various historical and cultural highlights of the Netherlands, such as creating their very own masterpiece at the Delft Blue Museum.

Paris Cultural Weekend

  • Students will discover the grand boulevards and iconic architecture of the City of Light, and experience its rich history, artistic beauty and cuisine.


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 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 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

  • Spring: 1 October
  • Fall:      1 April

CES cancellation policy

Given the current global circumstances, CES has revised its Cancellation Policy for Spring 2021. For more information please reach out to us directly.

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

  • If a student withdraws 12 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 12 and 6 weeks before the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 25% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable;
  • If a student withdraws between 6 weeks and the start/arrival day of the programme, 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.


Laura Byrd

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 5265