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Big History

Big History

Would you like to know how everything around you has become the way it is now? The big history course 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.

6 credit course: stars, life and society

In 16 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. Masterclasses will be supported by an online course that will allow you to study at your own pace.

12 credit course: what will the future bring?

If you take the 12 credit version of the course, there will be additional seminars that will allow you to deepen your understanding of big history. Your big history journey will end with a projection of what the future might bring and with a reflection on how your own field of expertise fits into the big picture.


  • mw. ir. E. Quadeackers
  • dr. F. Spier

Teaching format

  • Lectures
  • Seminars (in the 12 credit version of the course which only is accessible for students)


You can find the timetables of the 12 credit and 6 credit on Datanose.

Course materials

  • Fred Spier (2015). Big History and the Future of Humanity (2nd edition). Wiley.
  • Online syllabus that includes a variety of videos and reading


See here.   

Number of participants

  • A maximum of 50 students will be able to participate in the 12 credit version of the course.
  • Another 100 students in the 6 credit version.


  • Mid term and final exam (6EC)
  • Seminar participation (12EC)
  • Research assignment (12EC)


UvA students

  • 6 credit course via 5512BIHI6Y in SIS
  • 12 credit course via 5512BGH12Y, which starts 14 June 2018 until one week prior to the start of the course. 

Register in SIS (UvA students only)

Students from other institutions

Contractstudents or other interested parties

  • Can only enrol for the 6 credit course through the registration form until two weeks prior to the start of the course.

High school students

  • Are also welcome for the 6 credit course, see here for more information. 

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 

Big History
Type Contractonderwijs
Vorm Kortlopend
Studielast 12, 6 EC,
Voertaal Engels
Toelatingseisen Open
Start September