Mila Ivanova is a medical student and writes for EM. She shuttles regularly between Woudestein and Hoboken. In this series, she reveals the differences and similarities between ‘East’ and ‘West’. Part 2: Excelling. (Also read Part 1!)

If you want to excel as a student at Erasmus University, you can sign up for its honours programmes. For instance, there are the EUR-wide Erasmus Honours Programme, and the faculty-specific Honours Classes. Some eight per cent of students are currently enrolled in such programmes. But on which campus do you have a greater chance of being accepted into an honours class?


5,2 percent

There are three disciplines within the Erasmus MC: Medicine, Nanobiology and Clinical Technology. Far and away the largest is Medicine, with some 380 students in each cohort. The Honours Class has 20 places; that means the chance of being accepted into one of these classes is 5.2 per cent, assuming that all medical students tried to enrol. The chances are a little higher in Nanobiology, though there’s not much difference. In contrast, Clinical Technology doesn’t have a similar programme, perhaps because it’s a relatively new study.


12 percent

There are far more faculties on the other side of the city, and pretty much all of them have their own honours classes. The percentage of students accepted varies between 4.7 and 12.2 per cent. Students have the greatest chance in the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication; here, some 12 per cent of the students are in the Honours Class. At 10.4 per cent, a law student in the Erasmus School of Law also has a reasonable chance of gaining a place in the top class

Social Sciences

4,7 percent

By comparison the chances of signing up for excellence teaching in the Faculty of Social Sciences are extremely small, even smaller than for medical students: just 4.7 per cent. That’s also the lowest percentage among all the faculties providing excellence teaching of this type. Not that the chance of getting into a top class in the Institute of Health Policy & Management is much higher (also just 4.8 per cent).

Erasmus School of Economics

5,2 percent

The Erasmus School of Economics in fact offers the same percentage of honours places as the faculty at Dijkzigt metro station, namely 5.2 per cent. Meanwhile, there’s a plan to set up a similar programme in the Rotterdam School of Management. It currently has no honours places, but excellence teaching is intended to be given to forty students this academic year.


Most honours programmes often count towards your studies (generally for 15 credits) and consist largely of the same main ingredients (lectures, self-study and assignment projects). Nevertheless, they often have unique components. For instance in the Faculty of Social Sciences, students participate in ongoing research, and law students taking part in the honours programme automatically become members of the Astrea student organisation, which arranges other teaching modules and social activities, among other things. Medical students can even take a study trip to a destination they choose themselves, as long as it’s within a specific budget.


Generally speaking, the percentages above bear little direct relationship to the actual chances of gaining a place in a class of high achievers: that’s because not all students aspire to going this route. And then of course there’s also an EUR-wide honours programme, aimed at interdisciplinarity. A good opportunity for those wanting something different (or who have fallen between the cracks in their own faculty).