Understanding Society

Tilburg University is convinced that it can contribute to solving social issues by developing and transferring knowledge and bringing together people from various disciplines and organizations.

Distinctive Education: The Tilburg Educational Profile

The educational profile of Tilburg University is unique in the Netherlands. It is built on three pillars: Knowledge, Skills and Character to be realized by Exploring, Connecting, Engaging and Activating students . Students and alumni of Tilburg University stand out among those of other universities in having a great deal of attention paid to ‘character building’ in their studies. They will be well-equipped to further develop their talents, increase their knowledge, and contribute to society. The Tilburg Educational Profile is based on the Tilburg Educational Vision.

Knowledge, Skills, Character

Icoon kennis
  • Trained to be experts in their fields
  • Able to make connections to other disciplines
  • Employing their knowledge and skills towards social innovation
Icoon kunde
  • Academic skills
  • Social skills
  • Creative and innovative skills

Theory is connected to topical issues in society.

Icoon karakter
  • Critical (self-)reflection
  • Empathic skills
  • Ethics
  • Solidarity / responsible citizenship
  • Personal development

TiU-shaped professional

Tilburg University wants to train its students to be thinkers that actively contribute to society: thinkers of character. We call them TiU-shaped professionals. TiU-shaped professionals have a headstart over others, having acquired not only expert academic knowledge and skills but also a specific personal attitude. It is this combination that makes the difference.

tiu shaped professionial
  • The vertical part of T: depth of academic knowledge and professional expertise and expert skills
  • The horizontal part of T: breadth of academic knowledge and generic skills
  • Character: the right mentality to contribute to the creation of a better society

The Tilburg Educational Profile in practice

To make sure that its students  graduate as TiU-shaped professionals, Tilburg University employs the following key elements:

Small-scale classes and mentoring

Tilburg students are part of a learning community in which they develop and grow. Degree programs with a relatively large number of students will apply the principle of ‘small within large’. Students will be part of a smaller core group - a ‘Class’ - which is kept together during at least one year of the program and coached by a dedicated Mentor Team.

Developing 21st-Century Skills

Debating skills, presentation skills, digital knowledge, etc. are directly applicable during classes or assignments. The development of certain specific skills requires special training courses or course components.


This will be an important means to enhance character building. Not only during their education are students invited to take responsibility for their own development; once they are graduated and function as professionals, they are required to reflect on their own role within a team, in a larger organizational context, and in society at large. Self-assessment tools will be introduced in the programs.

Curriculum Teams

All study programs come under the authority of a program director who presides over a Curriculum Team. The aims of the Curriculum Teams are:

  • stimulating the internal consistency of the curriculum (including course design, balanced assessment, etc.).
  • monitoring the content of the curriculum and making sure it is fully up-to-date.
  • bringing the outside world into the curriculum.

Extra (curricular) activities

To grow into ‘thinkers of character’, it is not enough to simply attend lectures and pass exams. Some character-building activities are integrated into the curriculum, such as classes in philosophy (12 EC for Bachelor’s programs). However, the 21st century has its own, complex problems for which students need to be prepared. In order to prepare students for these challenges, Tilburg University stimulates students to participate in extracurricular activities, such as participation in the University Council or School Council, active participation in student associations and societies, in honors programs or outreaching programs, activities of Academic Forum, etc. These will enable active students to learn skills and create networks which will facilitate professional opportunities.

Uniform annual schedule – Mobility window

Compatibility of lecture schedules to ensure that students can do a Minor abroad or at another Dutch university, or do an internship without this creating problems in their regular schedule.


This will give students the opportunity to collect, organize, and present (multimedia) evidence of their learning experience in the course of their education. e-Portfolios have the potential to assist students in becoming more intentional and active learners by helping them to take ownership of their (academic) progress. It includes things like (self-reflection) assessments, 360-degree feedback, BSA-results (info on official recommendations regarding continuation of their studies), extra-curricular activities, sports-related activities, and paid jobs. Having kept a portfolio like this, students will enter the labor market better prepared.

Philosophy courses

In order to work on character building, academic teaching should have a broader aim than purely the transfer of knowledge of a particular field. This idea goes back to the founding principles of our institution. The central position of the philosophy courses in our Bachelor’s programs remains an important prerequisite.

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