International Business

Study load and teaching methods

Programme timetable

The academic year is divided into two semesters of approximately twenty weeks each. At the start of the year you receive a timetable detailing its tuition weeks, examination weeks and holiday periods. A weekly schedule is also provided, including individual lectures and tutorials as well as the specific locations and tutors assigned to each session. This information is also available on the HU intranet, where it is updated regularly.

Study load

The IB programme is divided into an initial foundation year (known as the “propaedeutic phase” in the Dutch education system), comprising themes worth 60 ECTS study credits, followed by a main phase of 180 ECTS credits. One ECTS credit equates to 28 hours of study.

NB. The figures below apply to the standard four-year programme. Those for the three-year fast-track variant will be made available at a later date.


Study load
240 ECTS credits (60 credits per year).
1 ECTS credit = 28 hours of study, so:
6720 hours of study in total,
1680 hours per year.
Programme format
Full-time, 40 hours per week, 42 weeks per academic year.
Contact hours
12-16 hours per week (over 3-4 days).
Private study
24 hours per week in year 1;
28 hours per week from year 2.


60 percent
Theory 40 percent
Fixed programme  
The curriculum provides an integrated programme in which students steer their own learning process.

Group work/individual study
Group work
30 percent
Individual study 70 percent

Blended Learning

For a young professional to succeed in international business, it is essential to combine a sound understanding of the latest trends and models with a clear insight into how they can be put into practice. Theory is important in the IB curriculum, but our ultimate goal is to train you for real-life situations. Different teaching methods ensure that students learn from a variety of angles: classical lectures are combined with case studies, projects and assignments of different levels of complexity. These often merge several types of learning to emphasise the link between academic theory and practical business experience. In addition, the programme’s two work placements (at least one to be undertaken abroad) deliver real-life experience working at a company.

A large proportion of your contact hours with lecturers take the form of dynamic tutorials during which you work on small practical assignments. In addition, students cooperate and collaborate on large, integrated projects where, reflecting real-life business experience, they solve challenging problems by taking a multidisciplinary approach. Projects of this type follow a competency-based framework: they are designed to provide hands-on practice in applying the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed by professionals to tackle problems in their field.

Work placements

As most graduate employers look for practical experience, IB includes two work placements. One of these has to be taken outside the Netherlands. If you wish, the other can also be taken abroad.

These two periods give you a taste of the real business world beyond the classroom. The first is undertaken during the second year and lasts ten weeks. The second, during the fourth year, lasts twenty weeks and prepares you to enter the employment market as an experienced young professional. In fact, it is not uncommon for this second placement to generate a permanent job offer from the host company.

To further widen your international outlook, you participate in an exchange programme at one of our partner universities in a country relevant to your ambitions.


The methods used for assessment depend on the specific subject. During the full length of the programme, you can expect to come across most or all of the following:

  • Multiple-choice test
  • Exam with open questions
  • Case studies
  • Role plays
  • Oral presentations
  • Group projects
  • Individual reports
  • Video presentation
  • Graduation project

Individual modules conclude with examinations, tests, assignments, essays or portfolios to assess your performance. A single assessment may also be divided between multiple papers or tests. You have two opportunities to take each formal examination; the first is at the end of the module being assessed, with a resit organised at a later date for those who fail the first time. An examination timetable is provided in advance, specifying the date, time and location of each paper and resit.

Fast-track programme

The IB fast track is a special, more intensive programme for ambitious students who wish to complete their BBA degree in three years rather than the usual four. On this particularly demanding version of the programme, you work alongside like-minded students, as highly motivated as you are, who enjoy studying in a challenging international and multicultural environment. Fast-track participants also receive intensive coaching from a team of business professionals and lecturers. Like regular IB students, you are expected to take up two work placements and spend a period studying abroad.

The admission requirements for this option are more stringent than for the standard four-year programme. You undergo a selection procedure to check your suitability and motivation. If you are interested, please e-mail the programme manager at or check the Enrolment office website for more information.

Advanced Business Communications track 

If you wish to combine your business ambitions with an interest in languages, then the IB Advanced Business Communications (ABC) track is ideal. This specialisation offers you the opportunity to add business fluency in German, Spanish, French or Dutch to your international toolkit. It differs from the regular programme in that it starts training you to use your chosen language from day one. For the French and German options, some previous language training (at school level) is essential. The Spanish and Dutch versions start at beginner’s level.

Honours programmes

We like to reward students who are keen to invest more time and energy in their studies. We therefore offer a so-called “Honours programme” for those keen to perform beyond the regular requirements of a Bachelor's degree. There are two versions of this: you can either follow an expanded and more intensive version of the standard programme or accumulate Honours Stars during your regular studies. If you collect five stars in total, you graduate with honours. Although many of the students who follow this extra programme do it for their own sense of achievement rather than for external validation, it is likely to get noticed by future employers as well. If you are interested in the Honours programme, the coordinators will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Student Service Desk

Opening hours: 09:30-16:30
Phone: +31 88 481 81 81
Twitter: @HU_Utrecht