By Rosalie Fidder
In the Netherlands, a degree in Dutch Law is required to obtain the civiel effect to be qualified for a ‘toga’ profession – a notary, judge or lawyer. For the Dutch-speaking people at UCU who’d like get the coveted toga, there is a possibility to do so without an entire new Bachelors: the Double Degree program at UCU and UU.
“I think it’s a great thing,” second-semester student Benjamin van Arendonk says. “It gives people the opportunity to get both the Liberal Arts degree and a Dutch Law degree, allowing them to have even more opportunities to do a Masters or get a job in the Netherlands.”
Benjamin is interested in doing the DD because it gives him the possibility to start working after four years. By doing this, he will be able to make some money before he starts on his Master, for which he will not receive financial assistance by the Dutch government. And, even though he is pretty sure he wants to do International and European Law, the program “increases [his] choices of a Master in the Netherlands”.
The Double Degree program takes four years in total, with Law courses at University Utrecht in the last three semesters. These are courses that are not on offer at UC and focus on Dutch administrative, criminal and private law. After finishing the program, the students will have obtained both a Bachelors and Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelors of Laws (LL.B). This opens up the possibility to pursue many more legal Masters in the Netherlands and abroad (many of which require an LL.B).
Lujain Alalousi, third-year student, is already participating in the program: “At first I was interested in Public International Law and European Union Law, but also Politics and History, so studying just Law wasn’t really an option. Then I realized with the Double Degree program I will also have opportunities in the Dutch legal system.”
Another student who is doing the program is Roel Maalderink. He is currently living outside the Bubble as a seventh-semester student and taking the aforementioned Dutch courses at UU. For him, it felt more like two separate programs, as he had only three UU courses while he was at UC, and took these in his sixth semester. His first UU course finished before the end of the semester. Then he took two other UU courses that lasted after the end of the sixth semester at UC, which to him felt “more like a summer course”.
Also, the education at UU is completely different: “UCU is much more focused on essays, participation and presentations,” Roel explains. “UCU Law tends to be a bit more philosophical: the theory behind the law. UU is much more practical.” He prefers the UCU education, though he knew in advance that UU has a different method of teaching. Still, the experience has thus far lived up to his expectations: “I wanted to do the Double Degree to get a second degree next to my UCU degree, since the combination of the two has big advantages. In that sense I think I’m getting out of it what I hoped to get out of it.”