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FAQ: Programme 

What is the difference between ATLAS programme and traditional Bachelor’s programmes?

The University College Twente offers a broad, three-year, English-taught undergraduate programme with an interdisciplinary focus on technology and social sciences. Instead of knowing ‘everything’ about one or two subjects, you will become a generalist who can integrate information from a range of academic disciplines, while still having the expertise needed to understand complex technical issues. You will be trained to become a problem-solver; learning-by-doing is an essential aspect of this programme. The entire programme is theme-based, with an emphasis on project work. You will live on campus, in the heart of our vibrant student community. And unlike traditional programmes, personal development is an integral part of the programme through the Personal Pursuits. 

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What is the difference between the University College Twente and other University Colleges in the Netherlands?

The University College Twente is the only University College in the Netherlands with a clear focus on technology and New Engineering. This means that you won’t just be trained to understand and design technological applications, but you will also learn to devise solutions that can be implemented in a range of social, cultural and political contexts. The University College Twente is part of the University of Twente (UT), the only true campus university of the Netherlands. This international community with its intellectual, cultural, social and recreational diversity has a distinct identity and unique atmosphere. Did you know that in 2011, international students voted the UT campus amongst the 20 most attractive campuses in the world?

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Will a broad programme like ATLAS teach me everything I need to know about the various subjects?

ATLAS students are trained to become generalists who are able to work on the same level as specialists. An ambitious goal, and one that we aim to achieve by selecting students with the right motivation and talent. We then offer them a programme that familiarizes them with the ‘threshold concepts’ from a variety of academic disciplines, and trains them to generalize and contextualize those concepts. As a result, ATLAS students acquire a solid foundation in both technical and social disciplines. Still, careers cantered around excelling at one very specific skill will not be an obvious choice for ATLAS graduates.  

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What is meant by a ‘thematic programme’?

Each semester focuses on one or more real-world themes. You will work in groups to solve issues related to these themes. Common themes at ATLAS programme include Human Movement, Nano-Robotics, Tracers for Personal Safety, Smart 3D Printing, Alternatives for Renewable Energy and the feasibility of a Mars Space Station. New themes will be added as the programme develops.

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Is the University College Twente and its ATLAS programme only for really smart students?

The short answer is: yes. ATLAS is a highly selective programme. We require above average grades, above average intellectual curiosity, above average readiness to take responsibility for yourself and others and the ability to cope with uncertainties. If this describes you and you have the ambition to take on above average challenges in your life and in your studies, ATLAS could well be the right programme for you. Our selection process also ensures a diverse student body of similar intellectual ability, making group work more effective and accelerating the learning process. Selection also reaffirms our commitment: if we admit you to ATLAS programme, then we are confident that you can be successful here and we are committed to helping you succeed.

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What’s the balance between lectures, group assignments and project work?

Some days include a plenary lecture of about one hour. You will work on guided projects in small groups for around two hours a day (learning calculus, academic writing or practicing skills). One or two hours are spent studying individually. The other half of the day involves project work including meetings with your tutor and team members and working on sub-assignments in small groups or on your own.

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How intensive is the ATLAS programme?

ATLAS is a small-scale, intensive study programme. There is one teacher for every 16 students. A typical working week involves about 25 hours of contact with your teacher and tutor, lecturer and mentor, some 10 hours of peer-to-peer contact in project groups, and you will also spend about 10 hours on individual study activities. The total study load is around 45 hours per week.  

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Is the ATLAS programme internationally accredited? 

Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences (ATLAS) is accredited by the NVAO (Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders), meaning our programme meets all the Dutch/Flemish quality requirements for programmes of higher education. The NVAO accreditation is comparable to those of other prestigious international accreditation organizations, meaning your degree will be recognized nationally and internationally, giving you access to countless Master’s programmes in the Netherlands and abroad.

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FAQ: personal pursuit/ teachers/ housing

What kind of guidance is available at the University College Twente?

Each project team is guided by tutors from both technical and social science disciplines. Tutors are staff members who provide feedback on methodology, team decisions and team progress. Tutors also have access to professional experts who can provide additional support. Every student also has a personal mentor who is your first point of contact for academic counselling. Mentors are members of the teaching staff who will be assigned to you from day one. During the introduction week your mentor will introduce him or herself and arrange your first few appointments. During the first year, your mentor will take the initiative for meeting with you. Gradually, however, you will start to take responsibility for scheduling meetings with your mentor.

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Will I be able to participate in extracurricular activities?

Students work hard and play hard. Everyone lives on campus, and everyone adds their own cultural background, belief system, ambitions and values to the mix, assuring you a vibrant and varied educational experience. Engaging in extracurricular activities together with this diverse group of people is exactly what makes our programme special. Furthermore, the Personal Pursuit allows you to engage in a topic of your own personal interest as part of your curriculum. And because the University of Twente is home to over 60 student clubs and associations, you will always have plenty of options and activities to turn your undergraduate years into an experience that you will remember and cherish forever.

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What is a Personal Pursuit?

Throughout the entire programme, our students are given the opportunity to develop further as individuals by pursuing an area of personal interest. This Personal Pursuit accounts for 10% of programme credits. You will receive support from a Personal Pursuit coordinator and guidance from an expert from inside or outside the university.

Personal Pursuits are often an extension of a student’s passion for music, drama, performance, visual arts, sports, a scientific topic, or a desire to teach, do public service, development work or go on an internship. Personal Pursuit topics must be academically relevant and may not overlap with the regular content of the curriculum.

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How many students live together in the same house?

All student housing features private (single) bedrooms. You will share bathroom, kitchen and living room with anywhere from 4 to 12 other students.

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Can I choose to live off-campus?

Like most University Colleges in the Netherlands, the University College Twente is a residential college. This means that you will live with other ATLAS students on campus, at least for the first two years. Living and working with students from different backgrounds provides an added dimension to your undergraduate years and is sure to enhance your learning experience.

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FAQ: after atlas

Does a Technology and Liberal Arts & Sciences (ATLAS) degree grant access to UT Master’s programmes like Applied Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering?

ATLAS graduates will receive direct admission to all Master’s programmes at the University of Twente (with the exception of a Dutch programme Technical Medicine), though some restrictions may apply depending on the choices you make during your ATLAS programme. Your mentor will counsel you throughout to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for your intended Master’s programme.

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What are my career prospects with a degree from University College Twente?

In contrast to studying Mechanical Engineering or Psychology, for example, ATLAS programme does not prepare you for a specific profession or Master’s programme. You will be trained to self-govern your learning and to easily grasp the essentials of any situation or field of study. You will be trained to be a quick-minded and versatile problem-solver with a broad intellectual background, very strong communication skills, keen leadership skills and the ability to empathize with people from various social and scientific backgrounds. Professionals in companies and public organizations indicate that these qualifications are in very high demand in the global job market where change and uncertainty are facts of life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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