Programme overview

International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies
IBACS student on campus

The study programme in a nutshell

The International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies offers courses that cover a unique multifaced approach to arts and culture. You will approach art and culture from different angles, such as sociology and economy, and theories about media, policy, organisations and audiences. Below you will find the course overview of the bachelor per year.

Programme in numbers

Contact time firstyears Number of hours offered per week
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Introduction video for International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies by prof.dr. Koen van Eijck

International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies by prof.dr. Koen van Eijck

Year 1

The first year of IBACS is the same for all students. You gain a thorough grounding to study the world of art, culture, and media. What are the central theoretical concepts with which culture scholars work?  What historical, sociological, and economic aspects are important for art and culture? And how are they related?

You will be given an introduction into the dissemination of art and culture, art and culture policy and the organisation of art and cultural institutions. In addition, you will be introduced to scientific research methods, and you will follow a course in Academic Writing.

Term 1

In this course you will be provided with a historical and versatile foundation for further studies. Students will acquire a historical overview of the main developments and trends in Western art and culture, and gain insight into how the various disciplines (visual arts, literature, architecture and music) are interrelated.  


In this course you will develop your critical thinking skills by analysing the nature and role of information sources. You will learn about the basic principles, conventions and structures of academic reading, writing and presenting.

Term 2

This course is an introduction to sociology, the systematic and critical study of how people live together. Moreover, sociology is a perspective, a way of seeing the general in the particular.

In this course you will develop an understanding of the relevant concepts and main considerations when doing quantitative social scientific research. You will learn to identify the methodological choices made in actual research (whether of an academic or professional nature), evaluate those choices and suggest ways to improve studies methodologically.

Term 3

This course familiarizes you with economic theory, both micro- and macro, and introduces you to applications of economic theory to the cultural sector and the creative economy. After the course, you should have a basic knowledge and understanding of economic theory and you should be able to apply the concepts to the (cultural) economy.

This course will introduce you to economic, sociological and historical theory as well as empirical research on government intervention for culture.

Term 4

This course focuses on the dynamics between arts, culture, and the media, addresses the various agents involved in these practices, and gives insight into how current trends, including globalisation and digitization, may have altered relations in the field.

The course is oriented towards developing the understanding of the production and consumption of culture in contemporary societies. It will look at practical aspects of the organization and financing of cultural industries and discuss how these affect the type of art that is created and the cultural products that reach the audiences.

Year 2

In your second year, you will specialise in a specific field by choosing a focus area: Culture and Economics, Culture and Society, or Culture and Media.

Furthermore, an internship is mandatory in the second year. This is a great opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge in practice and build on your professional network.

Term 1

In this course you will develop and expand your knowledge of the sociological perspective on the arts and culture in the broad sense. You will be able to distinguish three contemporary theoretical approaches in cultural sociology (culture as cognitive structure, culture in action and production of culture) and identify these approaches in recent sociological research.

You will be acquainted with theories and concepts from the field of aesthetics. Following a thematic and historical overview of aesthetic theory you will familiarize yourself with various philosophical perspectives on the question ‘What is art?’.

During this term you can choose an elective course from various elective courses.

Term 2

This course will introduce you to the principles of art marketing. On the one hand, you will learn which characteristics of potential audience members determine their interest in the arts and how this interest may be increased. On the other hand, you are introduced to marketing strategies employed by cultural organizations and the rationale behind them.

This course introduces you to descriptive statistics aimed at ordering, summarizing and presenting quantitative data. Course activities involve practical assignments that lead to the development of research evaluation skills, statistical data analysis skills, as well as proficiency in the use of SPSS. You will actively participate in discussion groups to practice statistical research skills.

During this term you will choose a course from your focus area. The focus area courses are listed below. If you would like more information about one of the courses, you can fill in the course code in the course guide.

Focus area Culture and Economics:

  • Economics of Cultural Heritage (CC3107)
  • Economic Geography of Creativity and Urban Development (CC3203)
  • History of the Art Market (CC2044)
  • Values of Culture (CC2008)

Focus area Culture and Society:

  • Theories of the Avant-Gardes (CC2039)
  • Globalization, Culture and Place (CC2053)
  • Consumption and Identity CC2050)

Focus area Culture and Media: 

  • Audience Studies: Current Perspectives (CC3124)
  • Cultural and Media studies (CC2051)

Term 3

The aim of the course is to develop your understanding of economics as it applies to the world of the arts and culture. Cultural economics studies economic decision-making by artists, organizations, policymakers and consumers in the cultural sector. The course surveys economic theories about the arts, teaching you how to evaluate the economic aspects of cultural policy and the market for cultural goods and services.

This course focuses on qualitative research methods employed in the social sciences, particularly when studying phenomena in culture, media, and history. Whilst various qualitative research methods are contextualized and students are familiarized with their specific characteristics and uses in scientific research, the course is primarily a hands-on course.

During this term you will choose a Research Workshop. The Research Workshops are listed below. If you would like more information, you can fill in the course code in the course guide.

Focus area Culture and Economics: 

  • Management of Arts and Culture (CC3073)

Focus area Culture and Society:

  • Recognition in the Visual Arts (CC3113)
  • Cultural Lifestyles and Participation (CC3072)

Focus area Culture and Media: 

  • Media, Tourism and Culture (CC3167)

Term 4

In the second year of IBACS, you're required to do an internship in the field of arts and culture.

Year 3

In year 3, you can choose to do a minor or to study abroad. Minors allow you to get acquainted with a different field of study that will help you broaden your professional scope. But you can also choose a minor on a very specific cultural topic such as art crime or the popular music industries.

Instead of a minor, you can study abroad for two semesters at one of our partner universities. For many students, their period abroad is one of the most memorable parts of their studies.

You will complete your bachelor by writing a Bachelor Thesis on a subject of your choice, under supervision of one of our experienced staff members. Students before you wrote their thesis on subjects such as NFTs in the art world, interactive museums, festival audiences, representation in hip hop culture, or the rise of international art markets.

Term 1

Students who choose to not go on exchange take a minor. A minor is a coherent package of courses, which can be taken at Erasmus University Rotterdam or other universities within the Netherlands.


A semester of living and studying abroad at one of our 70+ partner universities worldwide. Exchange is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone and take the step towards being a global citizen!

Term 2

If you decided to study abroad, you will still be on exchange during term 2.

If you decided not to go on Exchange, you will choose two focus area courses and one elective course.

Term 3

In this course, you will discuss important modernist cultural theories at the intersection of sociology and philosophy. These theories all deal with – and critically reflect on – the ideals of the Enlightenment, particularly the concept of the free, agentic individual and societal progress through science and technology.

The aim of this course is to develop your understanding of the economics of the cultural industries. The course encourages students to apply economic analysis to an industry of their choice. Like any course in applied economics, this course stimulates students to use theory for developing logically consistent explanations of developments in the cultural industries and for making well-founded predictions. 

The cultural and creative sector is developing new initiatives rapidly and this requires continuous innovation and the creation of new alliances with other sectors. In this course you will explore the most relevant trends and evaluate which risks and opportunities they are likely to bring. Students are also invited to reflect on their future role in the cultural and creative sector.

Students will be prepared for their BA thesis. You will be guided though the process of formulating an appropriate and relevant research question and structuring and conducting research.

Term 4

This is a continuation of the Bachelor Graduation Project in term 3. Students complete their Bachelor's programme by writing a Bachelor's Thesis, an individual project. The thesis is a reflection of the knowledge and research skills obtained in the field of Arts and Culture. In addition, the BA thesis is designed to further train students' ability to develop, conduct and report on a theoretically informed, practically relevant, empirical study.

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