Who says The Netherlands is all about tulips, clogs, and soccer? Find out firsthand why this is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Europe when you spend a semester at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

The Center for Global Education now has two exchange agreements with Erasmus. You may select to attend the School of Economics or the Faculty of Social Sciences. Students who select the Faculty of Social Sciences can enroll in courses within Erasmus' Social Sciences and Philosophy departments and may request those in the History and Arts Department. Please consult your program officer about your course plan.

Erasmus Campus

Students have the chance to study abroad in Holland at a truly international university and discover what life is like in the cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam is young and dynamic with one of the largest ports in the world. It's a city of modern architecture, innovation, creativity, events, leisure and recreation. Because of its favorable location as the Gateway to Europe, many European cities, such as Paris, Berlin, London and Brussels are within a few hours from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Dutch windmill

Dutch windmill

The Erasmus School of Economics is an institution with a worldwide academic reputation - this is one of the few direct exchange programs catered specifically to Economics majors and minors. Take advantage of it and see what a different perspective from another corner of the world can do for your understanding and knowledge of the field! The newer exchange with the Faculty of Social Sciences opens up the opportunity for CHSS students to study abroad in the Netherlands as well. Note that the Academic Calendar is quite complex for the Faculty of Social Sciences and requires very careful planning. Different colleges at Erasmus each operate on different calendars, be it the block, term or semester system.


Classes at the School of Economics follow a block system with each block consisting of 8 weeks: 7 weeks of classes, followed by the exam in the 8th week. Blocks 1 & 2 run from September through December; blocks 3 & 4 run from January through April. Exchange students are not allowed to follow classes in Block 5. Students generally enroll in 3 courses per semester. Erasmus follows the ECTS grading system (ECTS = European Credit Transfer System) and students are advised to take no more than 12 ECTS credits/block (or 24 credits/semester) as the style tends to feel more intense than the typical semester system here at Mason. Generally speaking, 2 ECTS credits is equal to 1 Mason credit. (For details on the Faculty of Social Sciences Academic Calendar, please see link in box on the left.)


International students at Erasmus have the opportunity to join the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which is one of the biggest student associations in Europe. ESN is involved with over 390 higher education institutions across 36 countries. The focus of ESN is for international exchange students. They assist with the transition to a new culture and also provide many opportunities for exchange students to participate in cultural and social activities, such as trips within the country you're studying, film nights, language projects, international food festivals and much more. ESN also provides a mentor system at many of their European universities. Joining the ESN is a great way for exchange students to enhance their exchange and broaden their cultural experience. Mason student outside the famous Rotterdam cube houses

Mason exchange student outside the Rotterdam Cube Houses

Exchange students have many different options for housing while at Erasmus. Housing options include furnished and non-furnished apartments and are most likely shared. Rental prices vary, however there are many options to fit a variety of budgets. Please visit the housing website for more detailed information.

City view of Rotterdam

City view of Rotterdam

Visa Information

Once accepted into a program, it will be your responsibility to apply for a temporary residence permit, even for one semester in The Netherlands. This is a complicated process and Erasmus University will assist you with your application to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), but you should expect to have enough funds to cover your full term of study ready soon after acceptance. Please see your program officer for full details. Do not apply for a residence permit until after you have been officially accepted. Visit this page on the Erasmus website for further details on their immigration process.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Apply section first and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for a direct exchange program. Next, attend a Direct Exchange program information session. Do this prior to starting an application to ensure that you understand how to choose the right program and what is expected of you during the application process.

Check the course offerings at the school you are interested in applying to and check to ensure that they match your course requirements. See “Choosing Courses Abroad” section below.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate program that offers courses that match your major, complete the online application and pay the $175 registration and processing fee. Please note that all supplemental documents are also required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please contact the program officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

Choosing Courses Abroad

There is no list of pre-approved classes for you to take on a direct exchange program. It is your responsibility to select courses and get them approved for transfer credit. Please refer to the “Departments and Courses” link on the left-hand side of this page for a list of course options on this program.  You must then complete a Petition for Transfer of Credits Form to ensure that your courses will transfer back to Mason.

Petition for Transfer of Credits Form

Download Petition for Transfer of Credits [PDF]

Download petition form instructions for Erasmus Economics program

Download petition form instructions for Erasmus Social Sciences program

You can fill out the petition form prior to acceptance into a specific study abroad program and in fact, you should begin this process when you first consider applying.  Identify courses at the host institution that are similar to those at Mason that you need to take.  This will increase your chances of receiving transfer credit approval from the Departmental Advisors who must sign your petition form. Follow complete instructions from the link above and contact your program officer if you have questions. 

Make sure you find plenty of primary AND alternate course options before deciding on a specific program.  Schedules are subject to change and registration in your preferred classes is not guaranteed, so you should have sufficient alternate course options. Also, please keep in mind that you must enroll in the equivalency of at least 12 U.S. credits per semester.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.