Universiteit Utrecht (Utrecht University), the Netherlands

Founded in 1636 and located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht University is one of Europe's leading research universities. It is recognised internationally for a high-quality, innovative approach to research and teaching. Postgraduate research students from the School of History at St Andrews can study at Utrecht for three to six months.

Utrecht University website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students in the School of History specialising in Medieval History.

Interested students must check that there is an academic at Utrecht University who can act as the host supervisor.

There is currently a limit of two postgraduate research students per academic year for a period of three to six months. Available places may vary from year to year depending on the exchange balance.

How to apply

Interested PhD students should submit the following documents to the School of History study abroad coordinator:

  • cover letter
  • CV
  • description of the proposed research (500 words max.)
  • supporting letter.

In the event of more applications than spaces for the same exchange, the School of History postgraduate committee will decide which application to prioritise.

Once accepted by the School of History, you will have to:

  • complete an online application form for Utrecht University
  • complete (in consultation with your supervisor) a "Postgraduate Learning Agreement". This will need to be approved before you leave St Andrews to study abroad.

Find out more about the application process for the Utrecht University.

Current students can contact study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

For the University of Utrecht, the academic year is divided into two semesters. A full academic calendar can be found on Utrecht’s website.

The Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University organises a week-long orientation for all students, including information and networking events. Prior to this there is also an orientation programme for exchange students.

The formal language of instruction is Dutch; however, most academics in the University speak excellent English. Students must ensure that supervision arrangements can be made in a common language.

Utrecht offers a programme of Erasmus Intensive Language Courses (EILCs), which provides Erasmus students with the opportunity to study the language of the host country for up to six weeks.

There is an Academic Professionalism programme (similar to OSDS at St Andrews) and other training courses and workshops, organised by the Graduate School of Humanities.

Find out about course information for humanities students at Utrecht University.

Passports and visas

EU citizens can study in the Netherlands without a visa or a residence permit, provided they have a valid passport. If you are a non-EU citizen, please refer to the University of Utrecht's visa and residency permit information.

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

As one of Europe’s leading research universities, Utrecht is renowned for its innovative interdisciplinary research and emphasis on high-quality education. About 30,000 students from more than 100 countries study at Utrecht University, of which more than 1,200 are exchange students.

The humanities, law, economics, and governance programmes are taught in the old centre of Utrecht.

Utrecht offers numerous possibilities for sport, culture, shopping, and more after you have finished your day’s studies. The city centre hosts exciting festivals and sports events throughout the year.


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.

Utrecht provides information about estimated costs of living in the Netherlands. You will be responsible for meeting any additional costs accruing from accommodation, food, travel, etc.

Opening a bank account

The University recommends opening a Dutch bank account to facilitate easy payment around the city, as many machines will only accept Maestro cards. You may require a burgerservicenummer (a civil service number) to open an account. This will be set up during registration but may take a few weeks to arrive. Previous exchange students have recommended ING and ABN-AMRO and have advised that ING have an agreement in place to set up accounts for registered students who have not yet received their BSN.


Utrecht University does not own staff or student accommodation; however, there is a Reserved Accommodation Programme available for Erasmus students. The Reserved Accommodation Programme is competitive and not guaranteed.

The Reserved Accommodation Programme has an arrangement with the student housing association (SSH). Accommodation with SSH features furnished single or shared rooms with shared facilities and a limited number of self-containing studios, mostly situated in student residences for international students. Internet access is available in all SSH accommodation.

Private accommodation is also available. Unfurnished accommodation and sub-let rooms with private landlords can be found locally. This may be cheaper but more difficult to find. Utrecht cannot assist with this but lists a number of websites and agencies for temporary housing and student housing.

Travel and transport

The Netherlands has a very good public transportation network, which makes it easy to get around.

By train

From Amsterdam Airport Schiphol there are direct inter-city trains to Utrecht Centraal every thirty minutes, and the journey takes around half an hour.

Utrecht Centraal also serves as a major travel hub, hosting local commuter trains, intercity links to major Dutch cities and international services to Germany, Belgium and France.

By bus

Utrecht’s main bus station is located next to the train station and provides local and national services.

In and around Utrecht

A reliable local bus service runs at regular intervals until approximately 1am. The Janskerkhof bus stop is near to the History Department, located in the city centre, and there is a high-frequency service to the Uithof university district.  

The purchase of an OV-chipkaart (similar to the Oyster card used in London) is recommended for regular users of public transport.

For everyday travel, the most economical, and by far the most Dutch way, to get around is by bicycle. Several bicycle shops in the town stock a selection of second-hand bicycles, and Utrecht also has an excellent student-run bike workshop, situated on the Uithof campus.


People above the age of 14 must be able to present valid ID at any time should the police or other law enforcement authorities request it. A valid driving license, passport or identity card from your country of origin (if EU or EEA) can be used.

Student support

The International Office at Utrecht University provides advice and support to exchange students. There is also a dedicated study advisor for exchange students who can be consulted if students are having problems that are affecting their progress.

Utrecht’s Student Services provide information and advice on a wide range of academic and personal issues as well as support for those studying with a disability or chronic illness. There is also a counselling service.

See the full range of advising and counselling services available at Utrecht.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk