How does UVA differ from UOM?

by Molly Hayward, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Having done a year studying Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, and two years studying Geography at University of Manchester these are just five overall differences I noticed in university teaching style. 

  1. Term layout:

UVA has a very different layout of modules to Manchester university. I can only speak about the differences in terms of my geography degree, but friends doing humanities courses had very similar experiences to me. 

UVA has two semesters. These are broken up into three ‘blocks’. This means that modules run for a much shorter period of time. 

2. Module organisation

Leading on from the block system is greater flexibility with module placement. Because there are three blocks in each semester you can pretty much organise your modules within these blocks to your own desire. They recommend having credits evenly spaced so you aren’t overloaded. This can be beneficial because, as I did, you can leave block 3 free for travelling. 

3. Examinations

At UOM I generally had one long-form essay and one exam for each module, completed at the end of semester one. At UVA there are more, and varied, examinations. They come in lots of different formats, for example podcasts are very popular, and lots more group work. 

4. Contributing

At UVA the students love to chat. In seminars and even lectures there is a lot of discussion, some seminars even grade you on participation. This can be really enjoyable if you’re engaged with the content. It also can lead to some good discussions. 

5. group work

Again, I can only compare to geography, but I found there was so much more group work at UVA than UOM. There were joint essays, conversational paragraph exchanges, podcasts, presentations and all sorts, constantly. They really value group contributors work. 

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