Honours Programme for first-year students

You’ve chosen your degree programme and have made a great start. As wonderful as it is to be doing what you really like, you may feel like you're missing out on all the other incredible things happening at university! You may want to look outside the framework of your programme. Heart for Science, the interdisciplinary Honours Programme for first-year students, gives you the opportunity to do just that. You will have the freedom to learn more about yourself and the world of research in small groups of students from all faculties. This is both exciting and incredibly educational. Do you want to take on the challenge of extra freedom?


    What does this programme offer you?

    • A good introduction to the world of research
    • The opportunity to look beyond your studies and discover everything else that happens at the university
    • A series of guest lectures by leading researchers
    • The ability to meet students from all faculties
    • Personal guidance from your group moderator (a kind of coach)
    • The freedom to reflect on your own development and discover your own passion
    • The perfect opportunity to develop your interviewing and writing skills
    • The chance to interview the lecturer that inspires you most

    Starting date

    To be announced
    Beginning of February
    Main Language
    Deadline registration
    04 December 2023, 8:07 pm


    Type of education
    Study hours

    Contact information

    For more information about the Honours Programme for first-year students, please contact the programme coordinator:

    Casper Kirkels
    +31 24 361 59 55
    casper.kirkels [at] ru.nl (casper[dot]kirkels[at]ru[dot]nl)


    Weekly meetings

    In the second semester you will have one meeting per week, on a fixed evening of your choice. These meetings will cover a range of scientific disciplines, from psychology and astronomy to political history and artificial intelligence. You will also learn about science in general and develop valuable skills.

    The groups are small, with a maximum of fifteen students, to give you plenty of room for personal input. Each group will have its own moderator: a lecturer from the honour’s programme who you can contact if you have questions. The moderator is your personal supervisor and will guide the group through the programme.

    Passion for science

    You will attend a series of six guest lectures during which leading researchers from different faculties will discuss their passion for research. What are they working on and why? What is their research method and approach? What are the ‘rules’ of their discipline?

    As you’ll see, there are as many different research methods as there are disciplines. In other words: there is more than one way to acquire scientific knowledge. Together with your group you will discuss the research, the results and the methods. What are the differences with your own field? What contributions can you make from your specific background?

    During the lectures you will visit labs, explore archives and shadow the scientist. This will help you become even more familiar with the discipline subjects.

    How does science work?

    In addition to inspirational meetings, you will also attend lectures about science. The first ones will be about the ideal world: What is science? What is the definition of good science? You will then learn about scientific practice. How do scientists work? How do they get funding for their research? How does the peer review process work in scientific journals?

    Science and researchers have a direct relationship with society. What do scientists do with their own political and moral beliefs? Should a philosophy lecturer be allowed to use the example of proposing the assassination of Thierry Baudet to make a point in a lecture?

    Finally, you will explore the question of whether science should always be socially relevant. Is all research equally valuable? Can you judge science based on its direct value for society alone?

    Developing skills

    The Honours Programme Heart for Science is the perfect opportunity to acquire valuable skills early on in your studies. You will work on honing your interview skills. How do you stay in control of the conversation? How do you get answers to all your questions? How do you take notes?

    You will also improve your writing skills. How do you write a legible text for a broad audience? How do you structure a text? How do you engage the reader? The writing skills you acquire here will help you during the rest of your studies!

    Essay: your heart for science

    This honours programme is ultimately about you. What are you passionate about? Why did you make the choices you made? What do you think about the research in your discipline and in other disciplines? Is one discipline more valuable than the other? For example, is it justified for medical science to focus on an extremely rare disease? Do we really need to understand the role of the recorder in the Middle Ages?

    As part of your end product for the honours programme you will research a question like this and interview an inspiring researcher or lecturer from your own programme. You will then write an essay that incorporates this interview as well as your own vision. The moderator will supervise and support this process, during which you will learn how to give and receive feedback.

    Honours certificate

    At the end of the programme you will receive an honours certificate during a ceremony attended by your honours lecturers, the dean of the Radboud Honours Academy and your fellow honours students. This is a great way to end a semester of research, curiosity, development and networking.

    For a place in the Honours Programme you must apply via the application form below. The deadline for application to the programme from February to June 2024 is 4 December 2023. Your application consists of:

    • A motivation letter stating why you want to participate in the programme
    • Your CV
    • Your scores obtained so far in the first year

    You can apply for a place in a Dutch-speaking or English-speaking group. In the latter case, you should write your motivation letter and CV in English.

    The selection committee (programme coordinator and lecturer members of the programme board) will assess your motivation (and study results). Admission interviews will follow in January. After that conversation, you will hear if you have been admitted to the programme.

    Go to the application form