Why this programme

International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies
IBACS student on campus

What does this study entail?

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.

You will study the dynamic arts and culture sector. In this world, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key concepts. These characteristics do not only apply to artists, but they are also increasingly essential for you: the future arts and culture specialist that engages with art and culture behind the scenes.

The contemporary cultural landscape requires creative professionals with analytical skills and in-depth knowledge of cultural policy, arts education, art markets, audiences, heritage, cultural organisations, creative industries, and entrepreneurship in a global perspective. Besides building a theoretical foundation, you will also put your broad knowledge about the arts and culture into practice during the compulsory internship.

Is this the right programme for you?

In the International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies you will learn to answer questions such as: why does one listen to Dua Lipa, while another loves Beethoven? And how come some have both in their playlist? What is the social value of art? And how is it presented to the public? And what do changing government subsidies, or the rise of private museums imply for the ways in which art is made accessible to the public?

If you are driven by an academic curiosity about the arts, creative industries, or economics and if you want to develop original and well-founded ideas about how to produce, sustain and disseminate culture, then the International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies is the programme for you.

International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies by Sunny

5 Reasons to study IBACS at the EUR 

  • You are looking for a programme that focuses on the economy, politics and sociology behind arts and culture;
  • in arts and culture it is important to see the bigger picture, this is why the programme applies an international approach;
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam has close contacts with cultural organisations in Rotterdam and beyond, which makes finding a cool internship to gain experience as a professional in the arts and culture world a whole lot easier;
  • do you have an artistic talent, as well as a hunger for academic knowledge? You can combine IBACS with a programme at the Willem de Kooning Academy or Codarts;
  • did we already tell you how much fun Rotterdam is? Rotterdam is innovative and diverse: the pop-up initiatives are flourishing like never before. The ideal environment for young culture lovers with big plans!

What our students say

Stela Markova

Stela Markova - Student International bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

This programme has immensely broadened my horizons and the international environment of the university has made me feel more than comfortable and accepted.
This programme has immensely broadened my horizons and the international environment of the university has made me feel more than comfortable and accepted.

A career in arts & culture 

Choosing a degree can be a tough decision, but what is even tougher is having your parents’ approval on that decision. Especially, when it comes to degrees related to arts and the cultural industry, there is the misconception that the only possible career after your studies is becoming an artist. This, however, is far from the truth. The reason why I choose this programme is the variety of topics and fields it covers in relation to arts and culture. When I saw the programme overview before applying, I was fascinated by the amount of opportunities it creates and by the amount of directions you can go into during and after your studies. 

Interactive environment 

What I enjoy the most in my courses is the interactive environment. Since, the programme is very closely related to sociology and philosophy, discussion is very important because they introduce many different perspectives to the course material. The best part is that there is no right or wrong, everyone is allowed to express themselves freely. 

A broadened horizon

At first, when I saw that I am going to have a Economics course, I got a bit scared, I had never had any experience with this subject and it sounded so complicated. However, the material was very manageable and there was always room for questions or additional explanation for anyone having a hard time with the assignments or material of the course. Overall, this programme has immensely broadened my horizons and the international environment of the university has made me feel more than comfortable and accepted. It has helped me have a more clear idea about what career path I want to take in the future all thanks to the variety of subjects I had the chance to tackle. 

Alexandra Candidatu

Alexandra Candidatu - Student International bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

One of the things that I like the most about this programme is that it is very broad, giving me the opportunity to discover which area I enjoy the most within the cultural and creative industries.
One of the things that I like the most about this programme is that it is very broad, giving me the opportunity to discover which area I enjoy the most within the cultural and creative industries.

Exploring society and the arts 

I have always been passionate about art, especially when it came to the behind-the-scenes of the art world. I wanted to find a university programme that combined my passion for art, as well as my curiosity for how society works and for how it is intertwined with all forms of art – music, film, literature, fine arts, and so on. I was certain that I wanted to study abroad, The Netherlands being one of my first choices country-wise. Therefore, in my very thorough search for a bachelor programme that would fulfil my desires, I came across the IBACS programme from Erasmus University Rotterdam. When I read the description of the programme, I completely fell in love with it and I decided that this is what I wanted to study. 

Broad approach towards the arts

Fast-forward to my second year of university, I can happily say that IBACS has met all my expectations so far. One of the things that I like the most about this programme is that it is very broad, thus giving me the opportunity to discover which area I like the most within the cultural and creative industries. This is how I discovered that I’m very interested in media, advertisement and audience studies. 

International, kind & open-hearted environment

Moreover, the environment at Erasmus University has made my experience even better. It is a very international, kind and open-hearted environment when it comes to the students, as well as the teachers, counsellors and the staff. I am very much looking forward to my next years of university! 

Agata Frąckowiak

Agata Frąckowiak - Student International bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

It is a great opportunity to open your mind for new perspectives and gain not only a broad background to work in the artistic world, but also learn how to communicate and work with people of different cultures.
It is a great opportunity to open your mind for new perspectives and gain not only a broad background to work in the artistic world, but also learn how to communicate and work with people of different cultures.

The perfect combination 

When looking for universities to apply to, I only knew two things: I want to study art but I do not want to be an artist myself. So when I found IBACS, it felt like a perfect programme to me. Broad theoretical background, insight into the art market from the other side of things, and, perhaps my favourite, multiple sociology-focused courses indulging into how art is produced and consumed. Adding to that studying based on academic literature poses a great academic potential of given education, which opens many possibilities for a person like me, who wants to work in academics.

Adjusting to a new lifestyle 

Nonetheless, switching to an English-based lifestyle, when it is not my first language, created some difficulties and frustrations, especially in the beginning, when course literature still seemed like some foreign magical spells. With time, however, reading them started feeling like any other daily task, all it needed was practice, repetition, and not being afraid to use a dictionary for every tenth word within the first few weeks. 

International character 

The thing I found most exciting about studying IBACS is the international character of the course. Taking aside any statistics the university websites can tell you, you can really see the diversity of students by simply going to class. And studying a course that is all about culture could not be better than when you are able to compare traditions and ways of life. It is a great opportunity to open your mind for new mindsets and perspectives and gain not only a broad background to work in the artistic world, but also learn how to communicate and work with people of different cultures.

Ligia Cristea

Student International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

The students and teachers are very open-minded and friendly and manage to create a safe environment for learning and developing a critical perspective on the world.
female student with brown hair in black t-shirt posing for the camera
The students and teachers are very open-minded and friendly and manage to create a safe environment for learning and developing a critical perspective on the world.

 

The International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies is a very broad course that gives you a general view of all aspects of arts and culture from sociology to economics, art history and even philosophy.

Fun, engaging and open-minded

As a Romanian student, coming from a very rigid, maths and science-based education, I was very positively surprised by the fun, engaging and open-minded manner of teaching at Erasmus University Rotterdam. I particularly enjoy the courses on sociology, which have changed the way I look at the world and the interesting discussions that such courses bring up during tutorials. While the courses are definitely relevant and thought-provoking, they are explained in an easy-going, exciting way, often with examples from popular culture which bring a fresh feeling to any lecture.

Dual Degree in Arts and Sciences

I first applied to do a bachelor in Product Design at Willem de Kooning Academy and later discovered the possibility of doing a dual degree with IBACS. This option seemed a great addition to my art bachelor as way to expand my knowledge in the field and not completely loose the theoretical aspect of my education, while still studying something I cared about. However, after 2 years I have come to consider IBACS as my main bachelor and to strive for a career in the “backstage” of art creation, and not at the core of it, making me realise how important such roles are within the cultural and creative industries.

Safe environment

The students and teachers are very open-minded and friendly and manage to create a safe environment for learning and developing a critical perspective on the world. I love everything about this course and highly recommend it.

female student with brown hair in black t-shirt posing for the camera

Samuel Jakob

Student International bachelor Arts and Culture Studies

I always wanted to study something connected to the arts, but I never felt talented enough to go to arts academy. This bachelor offered me the opportunity to find my way into the arts world through the theoretical and academic route.
Young man with brown hair and white t-shirt
I always wanted to study something connected to the arts, but I never felt talented enough to go to arts academy. This bachelor offered me the opportunity to find my way into the arts world through the theoretical and academic route.

I found the International Bachelor Arts and Culture Studies by coincidence. I was about to start a different bachelor here at Erasmus University Rotterdam, but when I read through the IBACS study schedule I was hooked.

I always wanted to study something connected to the arts, but I never felt talented enough to go to arts academy. This bachelor offered me the opportunity to find my way into the arts world through the theoretical and academic route. Finally, I was about to start studying what I’m really interested in and what I believe to be one of the most meaningful and fascinating fields.

Career perspectives

I put aside the purely practical considerations which had earlier led me to study Business Administration. Sometimes it is questioned whether an Arts and Culture bachelor will land you a good job. However, there are many talented, intelligent, and enthusiastic students in my year, who will certainly be valued on the job market.

As a society we are moving away from seeing success solely measured by economic parameters. If you go into the creative fields because that is where your intrinsic motivation and interest lie and you’re in it with your heart, you’ll inevitably be successful. That is not to say that it is not possible to also just earn good salaries in these areas.

Great fundament

Studying IBACS also inspires you to get into practicing art. You can go with the Dual Degree in Arts and Sciences (RASL), but in the era of the internet you can also just teach yourself.
Lastly, I believe this bachelor to be a great fundament. You can go many different routes after obtaining your bachelor. You can become entrepreneurial, jump right into the job market, do a specialising master, or even try your luck as a practicing artist with broad background knowledge of the world of arts and culture.

Young man with brown hair and white t-shirt

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 photo of IBACS student

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.”

Portrait picture of Bruno Aguilar

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.

Portrait picture of Jula Gommeren

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 of Fozhan Khamsehpour

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 Sunny Mkhungo

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