Teaching Methods

Erasmus University educates its students to become trained academics, emphasizing academic education on the interface of development and application of knowledge, and working from an interdisciplinary approach.

The education system at Erasmus University Rotterdam consists of various teaching methods, a short explanation of the most common ones is given below.


A lecture is a broad presentation of a subject by the lecturer in oral form, while students listen, take notes and can ask questions at the end of the session. Normally a lecture lasts for one hour and 30 minutes with a 15-minute break.


A seminar is an interactive, in-depth discussion of the subject matter between a tutor and a small group of students. Students are required to take an active role, on basis of the paper/essay they submit.

Essay / paper

A paper or essay is usually the course work for a seminar. Students should be able to show that they understand the subject matter, that they have read the essential literature, that they are able to analyse the topic and that they can express themselves clearly and concisely.

Course work

During the semester, students are expected to participate actively in any course they take. This means preparing for lectures and seminars, doing the necessary homework and carrying out the appropriate assignments. All of this is referred to as course work.

(Interim) examination

Courses are assessed in various ways, mostly by a written exam, a paper or an oral exam, to test the student's knowledge and understanding of the subject matter discussed in lectures or seminars. During a written exam, students have to answer open, multiple-choice and essay-type questions.