BSc in Global Responsibility & Leadership


Program Description

Established in 2018, University College Fryslân offers a unique and contemporary bachelor degree: the BSc Global Responsibility & Leadership. This future-oriented bachelor is inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is dedicated to training a new generation of leaders to address global challenges by finding innovative local solutions. We foster your personal development in a small-scale learning community of ambitious scholars who strive to make the world a better place.

In the first year, you study sustainability in the broadest sense of the word: from political science and economics to global health and psychology, to environmental studies and data science. You also make your acquaintance with academic skills such as conducting and presenting research, and the basis of intercultural communication.

In the second year, you further tailor the program to your own needs, by specializing through one of three Majors: Responsible Governance, Responsible Humanity or Responsible Planet. You additionally follow courses in Ethics and Leadership, and you have the opportunity to put learned theory into practice, by completing a Living Lab research internship in collaboration with one of our non-academic partners.

In the third and final year, you continue following courses in your chosen Major and you have the option to participate in an exchange program with a university abroad or complete a pre-master in preparation for a Master's degree. You will complete the bachelor with your Capstone, which is a creative project serving as the academic culmination of your degree.

Please bear in mind that the Global Responsibility & Leadership program is selective, so you will need to pass a selection procedure before you are admitted.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • Inspired by the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Small-scale and personal education
  • Residential university college
  • International community
  • Living Lab projects with local and global partners


Year 1

Year 1 consists of eight courses introducing students to the interdisciplinary educational concept of the program and serve as the starting point for the major. The Foundation consists of core courses in Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Earth & Environment, Global Health, and Information Technology.

The GRL program consists of four main components that need to be fulfilled throughout the three years: the Foundation, the Skills Lab, the Major and the Minor. Throughout the three years, students have the opportunity to design their own program based on the major and minor options as well as complementing it with extracurricular activities.

Parallel to the Foundation and Major components, students must complete the Skills Lab. The courses in the Skills Lab provide a solid ground in academic communication techniques, research methodology, intercultural communication, and collaboration skills. The Skills Lab consists of core courses in academic communication, language and culture, statistics and interdisciplinary research design and qualitative methods.


  • Academic Communication (5 EC)
  • Explaining Human Behaviour (5 EC)
  • Introduction to Data Science (5 EC)
  • Introduction to Global Health (5 EC)
  • Introduction to Programming (5 EC)
  • Introduction to Sustainable Energy Transition (5 EC, optional)
  • Language and Culture I (5 EC)
  • Major courses (10 EC)
  • Politics, Power & International Responsibility (5 EC)
  • Principles of Economics (5 EC)
  • Statistics I (5 EC)
  • The Earth System (5 EC)

Year 2

You follow courses from one of the three majors of your choice:

  • Responsible Planet
  • Responsible Governance
  • Responsible Humanity

Furthermore, you also undertake a Living Lab project with one of our regional or (inter)national partners.

Living Lab project: The Living Lab project is a unique feature of the GRL program and provides you with the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge and skills in the real world. As such, the Living Lab Project creates a win-win situation: you learn how to apply your academic knowledge in actual, real-life contexts and develop related skills (communication, collaboration, problem-solving, research) whereas public and private stakeholders get to work with talented young people that are able to provide insight into questions important for the region.


  • Collaborate with the city of Leeuwarden to create social innovations to improve liveability in economically poor neighborhoods.
  • Address governance issues concerning greying in rural Hebei, a Northern province of China.
  • Work on sustainable tourism in the Wadden area.


  • Interdisciplinary Research Design (5 EC)
  • Language and Culture II (5 EC)
  • Major courses (5 EC)
  • Major courses (10 EC)
  • Major courses (15 EC)
  • Statistics II (5 EC)

Year 3

Year 3 of the GRL program consists of three parts:

  • Major Courses
  • Minor
  • Capstone final project

Major courses: In the final year, students can choose different interdisciplinary courses to complete their major.

Minor: The Year 3 minor gives students the opportunity to individualize their program even further. Most students will choose to go for an exchange semester at a university abroad, but you could also do a minor at another university in The Netherlands or abroad, or you can use the minor space to fulfill pre-master requirements in preparation for a masters program at the University of Groningen or another university. Last but not least it's also possible to do an internship.

Capstone final project: Students complete their third year with a Capstone project, which is the academic culmination of your degree. The Capstone meets the standards and requirements of (semi-independent) academic research but does not have to take the form of a traditional thesis. You're encouraged to decide for yourself how to complete your degree and to present the project in a creative way. For example, by developing an app, filming a public service announcement, designing a product, writing a policy paper or creating a theatre production. Students could also choose to do another Living Lab project for their Capstone Final Project.


  • Capstone (10 EC)
  • Major courses (10 EC)
  • Major courses (10 EC)
  • Minor (30 EC)

Study load

40 hours of class and self-study per week on average.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional

Study abroad is optional and only possible in Year 3

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
additional subject As the GRL program is fully taught and assessed in English, students are required to demonstrate their English skills by sitting an approved English test. Some exemptions are made for demonstrating English proficiency. Also, students are required to have achieved a passing grade in VWO Wiskunde A, B, C or an international equivalent
assessment interview After passing the first step of the selection procedure, you will be invited for an interview. This can take place either in person in Leeuwarden or via Skype. The interview is a chance for us to get to know you better and for you to ask any pending questions you may have.
previous education Students are required to have successfully obtained a secondary school diploma that allows entry to an academic university. Therefore, students need to obtain a Dutch diploma or international equivalent before gaining entry to the program.
written request Letter of Motivation or a Video Presentation

Registration procedure

Students have to apply via Studielink and the Online Application System (OAS) of the University of Groningen. After uploading all the required documents the Admissions Board will inform you if you're deemed admissible based on our admission criteria.

The applicant must pass a two-step selection procedure in order to be admitted to the program. The selection procedure consists of two steps:

  • Selection Documents
  • Selection Interview

With your online application (Studielink & OAS) you’re also asked to upload the following documents as well:

  • Letter of Motivation or a Video Presentation
  • Reference Letter
  • Curriculum Vitae

If you’re deemed admissible to the GRL program, the Admissions Board will then have a further look at your selection documents and decide if you are invited for the second part of the selection procedure: the selection interview.

The selection interview can take place either in person in Leeuwarden or via Skype. The interview is a chance for us to get to know you better and for you to ask any pending questions you might have.

Within approximately a week after the interview, you’ll be informed about the outcome of this second and final step of the selection procedure for the GRL program.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 4249 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 12600 full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first-year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

Job prospects

After getting your master's degree, you can choose to apply for a Ph.D. position or start working as a policy advisor, a consultant, an entrepreneur or as a development specialist in both the private or public sector. Given the fact that your bachelor is internationally orientated and recognized, you will have outstanding career perspectives in an international working environment.

Job examples

  • Policy Advisor
  • Researcher
  • Entrepreneur
  • Consultant
  • Development Specialist


After Year 1, the program offers many opportunities for students to put their knowledge in practice and participate in research projects that have a local impact. One of the main features of the GRL program is the Living Lab projects, where students get to work with senior researchers, fellow students and private or public stakeholders on real-life issues affecting organizations, local governments or companies.

But the opportunities for developing research skills do not end there! Campus Fryslân offers the opportunity to become a student-researcher by participating in the ongoing research projects related to the Frisian Flagships and SDG’s:

  • Governance: local & global
  • Sustainable Economy
  • Culture, Language and Technology
  • Health and Food
  • The cross-cutting theme on Big Data and Innovation

When necessary, students get the opportunity to support senior researchers on their research projects. This allows students to develop networking and research skills and get involved in Campus Fryslân research outputs and contribution to social impact.

Lastly, during the last year, students can opt for a research internship at a local or international organization. Students must look and apply for internship opportunities themselves, but GRL staff is helpful in sharing ideas and contacts.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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