University College Maastricht
|University College Maastricht|
|Type||Public, Liberal arts and sciences college, Problem-based learning|
University College Maastricht (abbreviated as, and informally UCM) is an English language, internationally oriented, liberal arts and sciences college housed in the 15th century Nieuwenhof monastery in Maastricht, Netherlands. Founded in 2002, it is the second of its kind in the Netherlands. The college is part of Maastricht University (Dutch: Universiteit Maastricht) and offers a selective honours programme with a high workload. The Dutch University Guide ranked UCM the best bachelors programme in the Netherlands in 2015; in 2012, 2014 and 2015 they ranked UCM the best university college in the Netherlands (Keuzegids Hoger Onderwijs). In 2012, 2013 and 2014 Elsevier Magazine ranked UCM the best university college in the Netherlands in terms of student satisfaction.  
Maastricht University, of which UCM is part, was founded in 1976, making it one of the youngest universities in the Netherlands, and as of 2014 has over 16,000 students and roughly 3,600 employees. University College Maastricht itself opened in September 2002, before moving to a new location in 2006, and currently has over 600 students.
Education at University College Maastricht, providing Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, is fully taught in English. The College is a liberal arts college which is defined by Encyclopædia Britannica Concise as a "college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum." Classes are small, with an emphasis on independent learning via a group process structured through the Problem-based learning (PBL) method. The courses of the UCM programme are contained within three concentrations namely the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Of these students are required to choose one, although a combination of two is possible, in addition to a mandatory core curriculum and self-assembled general education, the latter picked from courses in a different concentration than the individual student's chosen concentration.
The Humanities concentration includes the academic disciplines of arts and media studies, cultural studies, European studies, history, literature, philosophy and science and technology studies. The Sciences concentration, previously known as Life Sciences, includes biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics and sustainable development. Finally, the Social Sciences concentration includes business administration, economics, international law, international relations, political science, psychology, public administration and sociology.
Courses are additionally structured in a 1000 to 3000-level grid, indicating an increasing level of complexity and necessary previous knowledge. In addition to courses, students are required to choose skills trainings including, but not limited to, argumentation, ethnography, languages and research methods. Thirdly, students are required to take one project, e.g. academic debating, per semester.
An individual student's curriculum consists of the previously mentioned courses, skills trainings and projects. With UCM using the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) a BA or BSc at UCM will comprise a total of 180 ECTS. Students subsequently enrol in a maximum of 30 ECTS per semester, or 60 ECTS for a full year, with students receiving 5 ECTS for courses and projects and 2.5 ECTS for skills trainings. Students create their own curriculum, with help of academic advisors, by choosing courses located within their respective concentration in addition to a requirement to complete a core curriculum, consisting of four courses, and a general education requirement, consisting of two courses per concentration the student did not choose. The aim of this curriculum is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own academic preferences and talents and acquire all the expertise and skills to enter a high-quality Master programmes (see Admissions and Student Population).
Since its inception the college has established a number of international partnerships, allowing its students to participate in exchange programmes with subsequent study points counting towards their UCM degrees. Institutions partaking in this include amongst others the University of Helsinki, University College London, Aarhus University, Singapore Management University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, University of California, George Washington University, University of Richmond, Queen's University, Korea University, Australian National University and University of Western Australia.
Location and building
After major renovations, UCM moved into the former Nieuwenhof convent in 2006. Located in the Jekerkwartier neighbourhood in central Maastricht, the building dates back to 1485 immediately adjacent to Maastricht's city fortifications. The 2000s (decade) renovation of the former convent included the creation of a common room, IT facilities and a reading room providing specific literature related to courses taught at the college.
UCM's Jekerkwartier location makes it part of the larger city centre campus of Maastricht University including its inner city library, School of Business, Law faculty and Graduate School of Governance.
Admissions and student population
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New students at UCM enrol twice per academic year, in September and February. They are selected based on a letter of motivation and an interview. As of 2012, approximately 65% of eligible applicants to the college were granted an interview.The UCM student population includes about 50 different nationalities with 62% originating outside the Netherlands. Students of UCM have gone on to study at other universities in Europe and the US including: Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Medical School, Yale University, Columbia University, Imperial College Business School, King's College London, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Georgetown University, University College London, Oxford University, Cambridge University, University College Dublin, the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), the University of Paris-Sorbonne, the Hertie School of Governance and the London School of Economics.
Universalis is a multicultural and multidisciplinary study association directly affiliated with UCM. It is run by UCM students for UCM students. Universalis contributes to both academic and social life at UCM. The association is involved in the organization of debates, poetry readings, parties, charity fundraisers, excursions and many other events.
- "Liberal Arts: Encyclopædia Britannica Concise". Encyclopædia Britannica.