International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

Behind the scenes of arts and culture
IBACS student on campus

Is this the programme you're looking for?

You have a passion for arts and culture. You might not be an artist yourself, but you want to know what goes on behind the scenes of the art world. And you want to contribute to its success. The International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies in Rotterdam offers a unique approach to arts and culture. You will study the world of arts and culture from a sociological and economic view, but you will also be familiarised with theories on media, policy, marketing and aesthetics. 

As an IBACS student you’ll learn to answer questions such as: Why does one listen to Dua Lipa, while other loves Beethoven? And how come some have both in their playlist? What do the budget cuts on arts and culture mean for the way the sector is organised? Who decides about the worth of art and how it is presented to the public?

Key Facts & Figures

Type
Bachelor
Degree
BA
Mode of study
Full-time
Instruction language
English
Duration
3 years
Study points (EC)
180
Start date
September
Application Deadline (EEA)
1 May
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The study programme in a nutshell

Alternating a sociological and economic view, you will study how art is produced and how it is presented by parties such as theatres, museums and festivals. Moreover, you want to understand how art is consumed and appreciated by the audience and how new media is impacting this process. With this bachelor you will be able to analyse the mechanisms of the art world in a societal context. 

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What is it about festivals that we like so much?

Programme in numbers

Student satisfaction Students rate this study programme 4 stars.
140
Number of firstyears The number of students in the first year.
12-18u
Contact time firstyears Number of hours offered per week
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Career opportunities after graduation

As a graduate, you will be able to engage with the artists themselves as well as the economic and commercial players in the field. Furthermore, you have well developed analytical skills and you will be capable of examining issues from different angles. These are skills that employers generally appreciate. Graduates regularly work for museums, festivals, fashion houses, theatre companies, PR agencies, sponsoring agencies, governmental institutions, and media companies.

This could be your future

What do our students think?

Portrait photo of IBACS student

Sabine van Ewijk

Sabine van Ewijk - Student International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

Working together with people from different backgrounds has taught me valuable skills that I will certainly use in my future career.
Portrait photo of IBACS student
Working together with people from different backgrounds has taught me valuable skills that I will certainly use in my future career.

Why did you decide to study IBACS?

I have always been interested in making art and looking at art, but never thought about studying anything related to it until I found out about IBACS. I knew I wanted to study in Rotterdam, because of thevibrant cultural scene in the city. I first started out as a RASL Dual Degree student, combining my studies at Erasmus with an arts degree at Willem De Kooning Academy. However, during my second year, I realised that I am more interested in cultural management and policy, and that I wanted to devote my time to IBACS entirely.

What do you find most interesting about IBACS?

The most interesting about IBACS to me is the diversity in both the curriculum and the students. What I really enjoy is looking at the cultural and creative industries from different perspectives. Although I chose my focus to be Culture and Economics in my second year, I enjoyed the courses on sociology, media, policy, and philosophy just as much. Working together with people from different backgrounds has taught me valuable skills that I will certainly use in my future career. I think the study programme is a great basis if you would like to pursue a future in the cultural and creative industries.

What kind of struggles did you encounter and how did you dealt with them?

Personally, I don’t think I have had any study-related struggles. The learning environment at Erasmus is very pleasant, and there is always room to ask questions to your lecturers or tutors. Most students are also curious and eager to learn new things, which is very motivating and a guarantee for an amazing time as an IBACS student at Erasmus!

Portrait picture of Fozhan Khamsehpour

Fozhan Khamsehpour

Fozhan Khamsehpour - Student International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

I knew I loved the creative industries and wanted to be involved, either as a creative myself or behind-the-scenes. I felt that this degree would give me a holistic foundation to work from.
Portrait picture of Fozhan Khamsehpour
I knew I loved the creative industries and wanted to be involved, either as a creative myself or behind-the-scenes. I felt that this degree would give me a holistic foundation to work from.

The International Bachelor of Arts & Culture Studies is a great degree to pursue if you are unsure how to navigate through the creative industry. It offers courses from every angle of the art world - history, economic, sociology, philosophy, and more. This is the main reason why I chose this bachelor. As a creative person, I didn't know which path was the right one for me. I knew I loved the creative industries and wanted to be involved, either as a creative myself or behind-the-scenes. I felt that this degree would give me a holistic foundation to work from.

Over the last two years, I can confidently say that what I love about this program (and Erasmus as a whole) is the degree of independence you are granted as a student. This was a struggle and gives you more room to procrastinate. However, once I overcame that, by creating to-do lists and holding myself accountable, I feel as though the skills of proactivity & organization are something, I will take with me for the rest of my life.

Portrait picture Sunny Mkhungo

Sunny Mkhungo

Sunny Mkhungo - Student International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

The Bachelor makes use of everyday practical examples and unpacks them thoroughly for us to see the versatile nature, not only of the creative industries but of society as a whole.
Portrait picture Sunny Mkhungo
The Bachelor makes use of everyday practical examples and unpacks them thoroughly for us to see the versatile nature, not only of the creative industries but of society as a whole.

I chose the International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies not only because of my great interest in the creative industries but also because of the broad nature of the bachelor and, its career opportunities.

The cultural and creative industries are important in our everyday life. That’s way this bachelor allows you to study in almost any industry at almost any position. Whether it is in government positions, modern art galleries, creative agencies or the fashion industry, the opportunities are endless. IBACS made me feel secure knowing I’d find the right career path regardless.

I’ve always wanted to be involved in some sort of creative process and the International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities they are. From the 'Sociology of Arts and Culture' to 'Economy of the Art Market' and my personal favourite 'Arts, Culture and Media'.

This bachelor is by far one of the most interesting bachelors to study. It makes use of everyday practical examples and unpacks them thoroughly for us to see the versatile nature, not only of the creative industries but of society as a whole.

Portrait picture of Jula Gommeren

Jula Gommeren

Jula Gommeren - Student International Bachelor Arts & Culture Studies

From the second year on, you start specialising. Specialising means that I can start taking more courses in society and cultural heritage. Which I am rather excited about because I aspire to work in the museum field.
Portrait picture of Jula Gommeren
From the second year on, you start specialising. Specialising means that I can start taking more courses in society and cultural heritage. Which I am rather excited about because I aspire to work in the museum field.

I have always had an interest in arts and culture. As a kid, I loved to visit museums with my mother. But I also loved to draw and craft. As I grew up, this interest did not change. While going to high school, I started thinking about working in the cultural field. However, I did not necessarily aspire to be an artist myself.

Consequently, I started to look for studies in line with this train of thought, which is when I ran into International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies. As I read about the study, it seemed to be what I was looking for. So, I visited an open day and signed up to be a ‘student for a day’. these activities ensured me that IBACS was, indeed, what I was looking for.

I am now in my second year of International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam. And I am thrilled that I choose to study IBACS. The first year was extensive and focused on all parts of the cultural field. From the second year on, you start specialising. Specialising means that I can start taking more courses in society and cultural heritage. Which I am rather excited about, because I aspire to work in the museum field.

Eeske Kuipers

Eeske Kuipers - Student International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

As it is an international course, I learn new perspectives on the world every day. IBACS is an open community where I get to enjoy the experience of studying abroad, while still studying in my home country.”
As it is an international course, I learn new perspectives on the world every day. IBACS is an open community where I get to enjoy the experience of studying abroad, while still studying in my home country.”

When deciding on where to go after high school I looked at which experiences of high school I had enjoyed most. These were my art, art history, and Spanish classes, as well as the trips abroad. Slightly scared to admit it, I knew my future would lie in the art world. Creating, designing, and drawing had always been my passion, so initially I turned to the art academy. I was convinced that studying at a university was not for me. I was very wrong!

Dual Degree in Arts and Science (RASL)

As much as I loved to work with my hands, I was missing more of a challenge in the theoretical aspect. Through researching my options, I learned of the RASL dual degree, where I could combine both the practical and the theoretical aspect of studying art. IBACS turned out to be the perfect solution. As it teaches me about the whole world that exists around the production and the consumption of art. Studying art from the historical, economic and sociological perspective helps me understand the industry and teaches me how to find my own path in it.

An open community

What I enjoy most about IBACS is the great atmosphere between both students, tutors and lecturers. As it is an international course, I learn new perspectives on the world every day. In an open commu­nity where I get to enjoy the experience of studying abroad, while still studying in my home country. Additionally, Rotterdam offers a great amount of cultural activities and I have recognised many of the examples from class within one bike ride through the city.

Portrait picture of Bruno Aguilar

Bruno Aguilar

Bruno Aguilar - Alumnus International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

In Erasmus University you will gain a profound and critical understanding of the cultural arena.
Portrait picture of Bruno Aguilar
In Erasmus University you will gain a profound and critical understanding of the cultural arena.

Throughout the International Bachelor of Arts and Culture Studies, your panoramic understanding of the arts and culture will expand in various dimensions. In this voyage, you will venture into different areas from a critical standpoint.

A healthy balance

“In the first year, you get a taste of the whole spectrum. In the second and third year, you are able to focus on your own area of interest. I deliberately oriented my elective courses in two directions: cultural marketing and sociology of arts and culture. The course ‘Cultural Marketing’ equipped me with tangible skills for the labour market, while courses about the sociology of arts and culture fulfilled my personal interests. This was not just a healthy balance, but also a convenient path to keep me motivated and overlap diverse realms of my academic interests.”

Critical thinking

“In retrospect, all the courses from this bachelor's degree nurture one skill in particular, probably the most valuable asset that I still put into practice on a daily basis at my work: critical thinking. The curriculum of this programme involves a lot of theory. Nevertheless, in every course, you are required to dissect the theories in various ways. Therefore, you might say that in Erasmus more than learning what to think, you master the skill of how to think – that being critical thinking.”

Experiment

“The journey to become Head of Digital Marketing at the Cobra Museum began the first day as a student. During my studies, I worked in two galleries in Rotterdam and volunteered in Amnesty International. Erasmus University is located in one of the most dynamic melting pots of culture in the Netherlands. This offers plenty of grounds to experiment, learn what you want and tackle the cultural challenges you learned in the classroom while working.”

Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst

“In my current position at the Cobra Museum my responsibilities include the development of the digital marketing plans and social media strategies of the museum’s brand, exhibitions and other services. To set up a marketing plan one must put together a refined combination of skills from diverse areas of knowledge, including analytics, market research, historical research, copyrighting, copyright law, design and – my favourite – production. The production phase of a campaign, for instance the creation of a video campaign, is where creativity bridges theory and art direction.

I can recommend all students interested in marketing to pay well attention to the course ‘Marketing Arts and Culture’. It will teach you how to navigate the marketing ocean of terms and concepts by effectuating a marketing plan of your own. At the end of this course, you will know how to structure, prioritise and reach the marketing goals of a given cultural or creative organisation.”

Theory as a compass

“In Erasmus University you will gain a profound and critical understanding of the cultural arena. This will be your compass. To make sense of it, you have to envision how this theory (the compass) could be applied to a real context. That is why I would recommend looking for an internship or volunteer job in a place where you can directly apply the knowledge learned in your studies to real life, while also polishing soft and practical skills. That way you will nurture a full package of skills you will need to succeed in the creative industries.”

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