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Utrecht Centre for International Studies


UCIS helps to facilitate relationships with our alumni in order to extend the Utrecht University community beyond the classroom and to assist students with their career and professional development.

Alumni from various professions in society, business, politics or academia are regularly invited to meet our students to discuss their work experience and to answer questions. UCIS also invites their alumni to social and networking events and workshops. By doing this our alumni stay connected, get involved and keep informed about the UCIS community.

If you have any questions or would like to be involved, please contact us by sending an email to: ucis@uu.nl

We look forward to being in touch and seeing you soon!


‘There are often substantial gaps between the realities in a conflict context and the international insights’
Hans Rouw (The Netherlands) MA Conflict Studies
"I was always interested in the question if and how the international community could help conflict resolution at a local level, of radically different countries around the world. I was aiming for a career as conflict analyst with a focus on ‘translating’ conflicts for people with the power to positively influence those conflict’s dynamics. I chose to study Conflict Studies in Utrecht because I wanted to improve my understanding of conflicts and my ability to relate conflict dynamics to others. This Master’s programme seemed right, as it combined many disciplines and had a selection process that I thought would improve the relative quality of the students.
In my current job as Programme leader of Human Security and Disarmament at PAX, an international peace organisation, I have several tasks. I give guest lectures, manage several security programs in, for example, South Sudan and Libya, advise policy makers on the protection of civilians and do research on military interaction, security and disarmament, and civilian control of non-state military actors.
There are often substantial gaps between the realities in a conflict context and the international insights. My challenge is to continuously relate my efforts to people in conflict rather than deluding myself into believing that outdoing each other during international conferences is all that relevant for people in conflict. The Master’s programme has taught me to work in an organised matter, combine several academic disciplines to build an argument and to critically analyse the discourse. This provides me with a deep rather than broad knowledge, which is often of great value and much appreciated by my colleagues."
'I wanted to find out what contemporary Europe is actually all about'
Emma Smit (The Netherlands) MSc European Governance
It is not hard to follow the mainstream opinion about Europe and the EU; complex bureaucratic institutions, a decreasing sovereignty of Member State countries and an Economic and Monetary Union that is facing the current euro crisis. But I wanted to find out what contemporary Europe is actually all about. What is the impact of the EU on the Netherlands; in which way are Human Rights protected; what is and what isn’t true about all the prejudices? This Master Programme seemed like the best fit for me to find the answers on these topics.

Europe is a phenomenon that can be best addressed from not only a public administration point of view but also from a law and economic approach. Masaryk University (Brno) offered lectures from this interdisciplinary perspective. Furthermore I find it of added value to focus on classic courses about the EU for instance but also to learn more about the position of Europe as an international actor.

‘To study and live in Central Europe helps you to understand the diversity of Europe even better’

If you are interested in contemporary Europe and want to know more about all its aspects I would definitely recommend European Governance to you. If you have an open mind about foreign cultures and want to explore what it is like to live and study in Central Europe then you will have the time of your life in Brno. The city has a cosy atmosphere which you can compare to the liveliness of a city like Utrecht. Living here gave me the opportunity to study and live in Central Europe and that helps you to understand the diversity of Europe even better.
‘The students form a close-knit group’
Willem Both (The Netherlands) LLM European Law
"Doing the LLM European Law Master’s was a really enriching experience, which provided me with an extensive knowledge of the functioning of the EU legal system and its institutions. This wide understanding of the EU has proven invaluable for pursuing a career in European institutions, and it opens many doors. During the Master’s, I really sharpened my research skills and critical thinking, but also my team-working skills as the university utilises a plurality of assessment methods like group papers, moot courts, and mock negotiations that simulate the experiences of working with EU law in the labour market.
For me, the master in European Law has opened a very interesting academic field, in which politics, history, and conceptual thinking as well as technical legal issues all come together. Moreover, it has been a chance to learn from other legal cultures because, in this programme, there are students from all over the world. Additional activities such as the Masterclass or the European Law Moot Court, in which I participated, allow for additional challenges.

The main focus of the programme is to develop your academic skills, but also the additional activities can connect you with future employers. There are often guest lectures from experts in the field. The study trip abroad is often used as occasion to find an internship or job in Brussels or Luxembourg. Since European Law covers various legal areas, there is a diversity of jobs for students to look for. For example, they can become a researcher, a trainee in Brussels, or work for their national government.

During the programme, I particularly valued the open debate that is stimulated by teachers and students. During the courses, you will be encouraged both to understand the law and to explore future developments. The relationship with the teachers is rather informal. In my experience, teachers are very willing to receive input about the structure of the courses, which makes you feel involved in the programme. Finally, the students form a close-knit group."

‘I learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time’
Jonathan Herbach (USA) LLM Public International Law
"Having completed the LLM in Public International Law at Utrecht University, I can whole-heartedly recommend the programme. The class sizes are ideal for facilitating discussion and active participation. The compulsory modules provide a solid foundation to the programme. The professors were all very open and accommodating, and I established good personal relationships with a number of them – something that will hopefully prove invaluable for career networking! And because so many of the lecturers still practise professionally, they are able to teach you the theory and at the same time tell you about how it works in real life. Looking back, my time as a student in Utrecht was intense but extremely fulfilling, and I learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time."
'It deepens your understanding of how the world looks like right now'
Maarten de Vries (The Netherlands) MA International Relations in Historical Perspective
"From April 2013 I have been working at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, at the EU department. I am responsible for the coordination among the ministries of the Dutch position on all issues related to environment and climate that are being discussed in the Brussels negotiation rooms.
During my Master’s I learnt to investigate the EU’s functioning from a historical point of view, instead of the more analytical one that is often applied in political sciences. In discussions with dr. Mathieu Segers – who is one of the most important Dutch academics studying the EU today – we tried to understand the directions the European integration has taken in the past from the historical events that shaped the European states and their mutual relationships. For instance the étatisme of France, the dogma of ‘a European Germany’, and the often underestimated importance of the personal relationship between the political leaders of these two main players in the European arena.
These fruitful lectures yielded me some skills I still apply constantly in my daily work. With history in mind, I understand much better the positions of European governments in, say, negotiations on a new European climate policy. But also the attitude of the member states towards the EU as such, a politically very urgent issue especially in the UK, cannot be grasped at all without a profound knowledge of the history of their accession to the European project in the first place.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we change jobs every couple of years, and I am sure that if I would start working on very different themes, like Development Aid or Human Rights, I would be able to apply even other skills that I gained during this Master’s Programme. It’s warmly recommended to anyone who wants to deepen his or hers understanding of how the world looks like right now."