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Broader Mind Course - for all bachelor students

Develop yourself, change the world

In Broader Mind Course, you will explore what role you want to play in society, both now and in the future. In a creative and innovative learning environment, together with bachelor students from all other VU-faculties, you will work on themes that are directly related to your personal development, such as success & failure, health & happiness, living in a digital world, rebellion and philosophy of life. You will link these to important societal themes, such as sustainability, poverty or the pursuit of the perfect body. In this way, you will learn to connect academic knowledge with your own choices and opinions in challenging and creative ways.

For example, you will search for answers to personal questions such as ‘How do I deal with ‘failures’ and what are they exactly?’ and to societal questions such as ‘How do we reduce our dependence on plastics?’, ‘How do we help eradicate poverty?’ and ‘How far should we go with genetic engineering?’.

You will not do this alone, but with students from completely different programs. In Broader Mind Course, chemists work together with economists, lawyers with historians, theologians with physicians, and so on. Later in your career, you will constantly be looking beyond the borders of your own discipline—now, you have an opportunity to already gain experience doing this! Having Broader Mind Course on your CV, therefore, gives you a competitive edge in the labor market.

One of the things that makes Broader Mind Course special is that students are co-designers of the course. You can join one of the thematic development teams and help develop the education at VU Amsterdam.

You will choose one of two tracks (you can follow the other track in a different year). Each track covers four themes. You will approach each theme with a personal question and a social challenge in mind, and will look at it from different academic perspectives. To give you an idea:

  • Theme Success & Failure. Personal question: How can I be successful by learning from my failures? Social challenge: Can we break the social taboo on failure?
  • Theme Sustainability. Personal question: What is my role in causing, identifying and solving the plastic problem? Social challenge: How can we help solve the plastic waste problem?

Overview of the themes:

At the end of Broader Mind Course, you will present your final assignment to your fellow group members. You will choose one or more themes from the course and indicate what really struck a chord with you and what you want to do with this in the future. You will present this in a creative way—with a video, a vlog, a story, a poem, a letter to your future self—however you can express yourself best. The course material will provide you with all kinds of ideas for this.

A great opportunity

A great opportunity

“You don't get the opportunity very often to talk about social issues with people from other disciplines. It was a great opportunity to listen to other people, deliberate about challenging problems and try to find solutions to them” - Diana Lucía Gross, Social Psychology student

Practical information

  • Broader Mind Course at a glance
    • Open to VU Amsterdam Bachelor’s students (1st – 3rd year).
    • Language: English.
    • Interdisciplinary: mix of students from all faculties.
    • Blended learning: mix of online and on-campus activities.
    • Runs in periods 4 and 5, except during exam weeks.
    • 6 (offline*) ‘meetups’ on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 5.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.
    • 5 (online) ‘get-togethers’ on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, 5.30 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. In addition, you will do online assignments in your own time.
    • Total study load: 40 hours (approximately 3 hours per week over four months, not during exam weeks).
    • Track A: Success & Failure, Poverty, Human Body, Rebellion.
    • Track B: Viewpoints & Worldview, Health & Happiness, Digital World, Sustainability.         
    • After successfully completing the course, you will receive a certificate of participation and the course will be included on your diploma.

      Register for the newsletter and we will keep you updated.  

  • Tracks, schedule, registration

    Track A
    Success & Failure (School of Business and Economics)
    Poverty (Social Sciences)
    Human Body (Law)
    Rebellion (Humanities)

    Track B
    Viewpoints & Worldview (Religion and Theology)
    Health & Happiness (Medicine)
    Digital World (Behavioural and Movement Sciences)
    Sustainability (Sciences)

    Everything you need to know about Broader Mind Course can be found in the Study guide: Track A en Track B. You can also register via the study guide.

Help us further develop the Broader Mind Course

  • Become a co-developer of Broader Mind Course

    A unique feature of Broader Mind Course is that it is developed by both students and teaching staff together. You can participate too! This can be done in two different ways:

    1. As a member of the feedback team. In a few development sessions, you give feedback on the course content and come up with ideas to improve the course. (Time commitment: three sessions a year in September and October, one and a half hours per session).
    2. As a member of the development team you with a small team to further develop one of the themes of Broader Mind Course. You will come together for several team meetings to brainstorm new ideas, create assignments and develop new course materials. (Time commitment: August–February, 8–10 hours per month).

    Send an email to broadermindcourse@vu.nl and we will invite you to join our information session about joining the feedback and/or construction team. You do not need to have followed Broader Mind Course to participate.

  • Become a student guide for the Broader Mind Course

    We are looking for enthusiastic senior students to guide a group of students during Broader Mind Course as a ‘student guide’. You will help the students with both on-campus and online activities, give feedback and assess the final assignment. We make sure you are well-prepared by providing you with training and coaching both prior to and during Broader Mind Course. So, you will also learn quite a bit!

    Does this sound like fun to you? Then contact us at abroadermind@vu.nl and we will send you more information. For students guides there is a volunteer remuneration available.

Do you have any questions about Broader Mind Course?

Please feel free to contact us by sending an email to abroadermindcourse@vu.nl