For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

IIS Electives

The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies offers a wide variety of interdisciplinary electives every semester. IIS electives are open to a variety of target audiences: students and staff from any UvA faculty, students from other education institutions (guest students) and any other interested parties who can take part as 'contract students'.

The courses on offer vary for different target audiences:

  • UvA students can find IIS electives in the course catalogue
  • UvA staff, students from other education institutions and all other interested parties can check the IIS website to find out what is on offer. The full range of electives offered by the UvA is listed under Open UvA Electives.

For questions you can email to:

  • UvA students

    UvA students can find the IIS Electives in the UvA Studyguide.

    The educational offer of the IIS is constantly evolving and we would like to find out which themes students find interesting in an elective course and how we can organize this the best way possible. Please let us know by filling in the form, it only takes 5 minutes.

  • Other interested parties (contract & bijvakstudents)


    You can register as a contract student if you are interested in following one of our IIS electives.
    By contract students we mean all those who are not registered at an educational institution.
    Through this link you can register for the course that you would like to follow.

    After completing the form and uploading a copy of your passport (you can use the CopyID app for this) you will receive an email with a confirmation.
    You will be registered as a contract student at the UvA and you will receive a proof of enrollment from the Central Student Administration with a student number. You do not need to take any further action on this email.

    You will also receive an invoice based on your registration. The costs of the lecture can be found under the heading 'costs'.
    If the invoice has been paid and your registration at the UvA is complete, you will have access to the Canvas learning environment. Here you will find all the course material that you will be following. Also homework assignments, literature, messages from the teacher etc. will be available here.

    If you take part in the assessment, you will receive a certified list of marks at the end of the lecture series. If you do not participate in the assessment, you can request a certificate for participation. Note that these are only provided by us on request.

    More information about the course can be found in 'course listing' term 1 or 2.
    If you have any questions, you can send an email to: 

    Secondary subject student/ Bijvakstudents

    When you are a student from another university or higher education institution than the UvA and want to register for an IIS minor or elective you need to register as a secondary subject student (‘bijvakstudent’) at the UvA (University of Amsterdam.

    Step 1: Studielink

    The registration procedure for secondary subject students proceeds through Studielink, During the application process in Studielink you will need to choose the bachelor programme of which the IIS elective is a part. You will choose: Beta-gamma Bachelor (Bijvak). When you want to apply for more than one IIS elective, you will only have to register yourself as a UvA secondary subject student once.

    Step 2: Tuition Fees

    UvA tuition fees are waived through a so called ‘Bewijs Betaald Collegegeld (BCC)’ (proof of payment of tuition fees). You will have to request this document at the university or higher education institution where you have paid your tuition fees. After receiving this document please send the original to or deliver the document at the Student Service Desk

    Step 3: Admissability

    To register as a ‘bijvakstudent’ you need to adhere to the central admission requirements of the UvA. (You need to have succesfully finished high school education that meets the Dutch ‘VWO’-level or you need to have succesfully finished higher education that meets the the Dutch ‘HBO-propedeuse’-level.) The Central Student Administration of the UvA will check this automatically and will contact you when necessary.

    The above stated application process is mandatory. Your application will not be succesfull without going through the three steps.

    If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Student Service Desk.

  • High School students

    As a high school student, it is also possible to follow one of our IIS electives. Below you can find the courses of the 2nd semester 20-21.

    Note: It is likely that (parts of) courses will be offered online until the corona measures of the government change.

    Human-Animal Studies (Engels)

    Simba in the Lion King, the squirrel in the park. The dog on your side, the mouse in the lab. Remi in Ratatouille, the pork on your plate. The bird in the sky, the elephant in the zoo, the Angry Birds on your screen, the fly on the wall and the cat video in your mail. Animals are everywhere, all the time. In our human lives and societies, as well as in our cultures and imagination. For some people they are mere critters or simply food, while for others they are amongst the most significant companions in their lives - just as we are for them.

    The course Human-Animal Studies is about the relations between humans and animals. It is a new academic discipline, combining theories and research from diverse fields as history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, media studies and some biology. In the second semester, from April to June 2020, Human-Animal Studies will be an elective offered by the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies. It consist of a series of twelve lectures. No prior knowledge is required.

    • Schools pays 180 euros per participant, the supervisor can join for free
    • 6 EC 
    • The link to the timetable will be published as soon as the timetable is available, around November.
    • For registration you can contact:
    • Up to 6 participants per school ( a maximum of 6 schools) 
    • Read more about the course (note: this is the link to the course of last year, for next year will follow)

    Big History

    Would you like to know how everything around you has become the way it is now? 'Big History’ provides you with an answer, by offering an integrated overview of all known history, from the big bang up until the development of societies today. In 14 masterclasses a variety of experts, ranging from astrophysicists to social scientists, will take you on a journey that explains how the most elementary particles, stars, planets, life and human societies around the world have developed.

    • Free for students, supervisor for free
    • 6 EC
    • The link to the timetable will be published as soon as the timetable is available, around November.
    • For registration you can contact:
    • Up to 6 participants per school ( a maximum of 6 schools) 
    • Read more about the course (note: this is the link to the course of last year, for next year will follow)
  • Costs

    UvA staff members and other interested parties are invited to participate as 'contract students' alongside UvA students and students from other education institutions (guest students). Payment for contract students is made per credit.

    Type of student



    UvA students

    no costs, registration required


    Students from other institutions

    no costs, registration as a secondary subject student*


    Type of contract student (not enrolled as a student)

    Examination included

    Examination excluded

    For employees on UvA payroll

    Free up to 30 EC per academic year

    Free up to 30 EC per academic year

    For employees on HvA payroll 70 euro per EC 30 Euro per EC

    AUV-cardholders and non-UvA PhD's

    70 euro per EC

    30 euro per EC


    100 euro per EC

    50 euro per EC

    * No costs for students from other universities, provided that the full time tuition fee is paid. Registration as secondary subject student is required.

    Note that it differs for each course which type of students can participate. Read the course specific information carefully to see which rates are applicable.

    Cancellation policy

    You can cancel up to 4 weeks before the start of the first lecture, we charge an administration fee of 20 euros. After this, we can only process refunds in exceptional cases.
    If you could not be placed for a course for which you have registered, you will receive the complete entree fee.

  • Board of Examiners

    Board of Examiners:

    IIS Electives falls under the examination committee and the OER of the Bachelor Bèta program.

    The OER contains the general rules on examinations, resits, access and debriefing rights that the IIS Electives strives for. The OER can be found via Students and contractstudents who are enrolled for a course at the IIS Electives are entitled to appeal to the Examination Appeals Board (COBEX).

  • Evaluation committee IIS Electives

    Evaluation committee IIS Electives:

    An evaluation committee has been set up to ensure the quality of elective courses. The committee, which consists of students and lecturers, meets at least four times a year to formulate solicited and unsolicited advice on all educational matters of IIS elective courses.

    To do this, she uses the education evaluations and actively seeks contact with students who follow IIS electives.The evaluation committee is very curious about remarks, comments, recommendations and other suggestions about the content, output and offer of IIS elective education. Students can contact via

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

    The key to a sustainable future lies in education. The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in its educational offer and endorses the importance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The urgency of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) remains high. We therefore find it important that our students can use their scientific knowledge and skills for this purpose by bundling scientific perspectives and creatively searching for solutions and impact. All SDGs can be addressed in IIS elective courses, depending on the chosen topics. For each course it is stated which goals are contributed to within the course.