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Excellence program Social and Behavioral Sciences

Are you a motivated Bachelor student who has achieved exceptionally well in the first year? Would you like to maximize your potential? In that case, you are eligible to participate in the Excellence Program (EP) of Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Develop your talents

As part of this program, you can take additional classes in the field of social and behavioral sciences, extending your knowledge and insight and developing your intellectual talents to the full.

The EP is an intensive, activating, and interdisciplinary English-language program of four courses in addition to the regular curriculum, spread over the four semesters of the second and third Bachelor years.

For whom?

The EP is intended for excellent Bachelor's students of one of the TSB programs. To qualify for the program you should have completed the first year's Bachelor's program (60 ECTS credits) within one year with an average grade of at least 7.5.

The selection criteria for participating in the program are thus stringent. However, although good results are important, we do not think they are enough. We also require that you are motivated, that is to say: you are not afraid to invest more time in your education, you are interested in the entire field of social and behavioral sciences, you desire to get to the bottom of things and you want to know what drives scientists in your field. You must be willing to learn from them by letting them show you 'all the tricks of the trade'.

Tilburg University has several initiatives for students who want more challenges outside of the regular programs. The Honors Program is such an initiative. This program is specifically intended for students who want to develop their knowledge and understanding outside of their own specialty field. The EP, however, is mainly aimed at developing knowledge within the social and behavioral sciences.

Program design Excellence Program

An intensive, stimulating and interdisciplinary program

The EP is an intensive, stimulating and interdisciplinary program of four courses, given in English. The program's design is small-scale and interactive. Prestigious professors and associate professors with various backgrounds in social and behavioral sciences will provide courses. The program is structured according to themes and takes place in a stimulating environment where the needs of the students come first. The students in their turn are expected to show the utmost effort and commitment.

Typically academic skills

Besides increasing your knowledge and understanding of the social and behavioral sciences, participating in this program will also help you gain experience with essential academic skills such as debating, writing and referencing, cooperation and researching.

Interdisciplinary social-scientific approach

Each semester of Bachelor year 2 and Bachelor year 3 a course is offered faculty wide. The courses are either based on the faculty research programs or treat a theme that is ideally suited to an interdisciplinary social-scientific approach.

Participation in the EP does not exempt you from any part of the regular education program. Upon successfully completing all four courses, you will receive a separate certificate, which will be attached to your bachelor's diploma.

Check the courses offered in 2023 - 2025

Program requirements Excellence Program

  • Only students who have completed all subjects of the first year and have achieved an average mark of 7.5 can qualify for participation in the program. This entails that you have gained 60 ECTS credits, the maximum achievable score, in your first year, placing you among the top 10% of students of the School.
  • If you belong to this group, you will receive an e-mail from the faculty vice dean shortly after the publication of the final BSA in August. In this e-mail you will be invited to send in a written application for the Excellence Program and to motivate your reason for applying.
  • Before the start of the second bachelor year you will be informed by e-mail about placement in the EP.
  • There are 25 places available (per year). In allocating these places, we try to achieve a good mix of disciplines in the program.
  • In addition, the selection committee, which determines who is eligible to participate in the program, looks at the average grade of the candidates and the motivation letter.

Combining your Excellence Program with going on exchange

Attend Courses?

Out of the four courses in the EP, only Values in Europe can be followed while abroad. For the other three courses you will have to do a substitute (replacement) course while you are on exchange.

Substitute Course

If you go on exchange and want to attain the EP-certificate, you will have to follow an extra substitute course at the level of the EP on top of your exchange courses. In general, each student is expected to take 24-30 ECTS worth of courses abroad. It does not matter whether you need the credits for your study program at Tilburg University or not. Including your EP extra substitute course, this means you have to follow 30-36 ECTS. 

PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes your host university does not allow you to pass more than 30 ECTS during your exchange.

Process chart:

Course Approval and Conversion Procedure for TSB Excellence Program Courses 

As soon as you are selected for an exchange, you need to contact your Exchange Coordinator to check, if applicable to your situation, 36 ECTS in total can be obtained during your exchange.

  • If this is not the case, so if you are only allowed to reach a maximum of 30 ECTS during your exchange, please contact as soon as possible. Together with the EP Coordinator you can look for a suitable solution.
  • If this is the case, so if you are allowed to achieve 36  ECTS, please follow the steps below to get your substitute course approved.  

In addition to your regular course approval for your TSB study program. 

The replacement course of the EP program must lie within the domain of social sciences, and it should preferably be similar to the course you cannot take part of.

If there is not a similar course available, a different course may also be possible.

You have to present the course you wish to follow by sending the information to

The e-mail should contain the following:

Subject: Excellence Program versus Exchange

In an attached Word document please state the following:

  • Your name
  • Your student-number
  • Destination (country and name of the university)
  • Information about the course (course code, name of the course, amount of ECTS, hyperlink to the course description of the course)
  • Your motivation to follow this course
  • An explanation why you think this course is a suitable substitute
  • When applying for more options: order of preference

After approval of the course, please notify the Study Abroad & Exchange Office at Tilburg University. 

After the completion of the course, notify the Study Abroad & Exchange Office at Tilburg University again. The Study Abroad & Exchange Office will send the conversion form, needed to get your course registered, to

Frequently Asked Questions on the TSB Excellence Program

If I partially complete the program, will I receive a certificate?

No, you will only receive a certificate if you complete all four courses.

If I do not complete the whole program, can I include the completed courses as an elective or minor course?

EP courses cannot substitute for minor courses or electives. The credits given for the courses of the Excellence Program cannot be used to meet the regular demands of the Bachelor’s program. Each completed course is included on the grade list as an additional course.


Do you have to register for courses/exams of the Excellence Program?

No, registration for courses and exams is done automatically as soon as you have been admitted to the EP.

What should you do if you have a regular exam and an EP exam on the same day/time?

When two exams fall on the same day, you can send a request not to plan the exams at the same time. For more information, go to exam clashes

What should you do if you have a compulsory seminar and an EP lecture at the same time?

E-mail the teacher of the regular course to see if it is possible to switch work groups. If this is not possible, report it to the EP teacher so you can find a solution together.

Can you tell me why I would choose the TSB EP over the Outreaching/Honors Program?

We advise to choose the TSB EP if you are interested in taking up courses in the field of social sciences. Instead of focusing on developing personal skills, this program focuses on knowledge and academic development.

Is there going to be a remark on my bachelor’s degree if I finish the EP successfully?

No, but you will receive an official certificate after successfully completing the EP.

  • Zeynep Saruhanlioglu

    Zeynep Saruhanlioglu

    Participant TSB Excellence Program 2019 - 2021

    "Being a part of the TSB Excellence Program was a great opportunity to connect with others over learning a wide range of topics in an intellectually and socially stimulating environment. The program gave me the chance to actively explore and endorse different perspectives while developing my skills in communicating them to diverse audiences."

  • Demian van Gils

    Demian van Gils

    Participant TSB Excellence Program 2018 - 2020

    "The Excellence Program has advanced both my personal- and academic development. It provided a good balance between learning hard skills (by delving deeply into current theories and practices), and learning soft skills (by leading and partaking in loads of discussions)."

  • Katrīna Anna Allena

    Katrīna Anna Allena

    Participant TSB Excellence Program 2021 - 2023

    “Participating in the Excellence Program helped me prepare for both my academic and professional future. I broadened my worldview by exploring topics and disciplines the Bachelor program itself does not touch upon, as well as further developed continually useful abilities, such as academic writing, presenting, reasoning and group work skills.”

  • Luca Schnitzeler

    Luca Schnitzeler

    Participant TSB Excellence Program 2021 - 2023

    "Overall, the Excellence Program has provided me an opportunity to connect with lecturers and inquisitive students. Joining the Excellence Program has helped me set more personally rewarding academic standards and learn extracurricular knowledge that eventually helped me complete my degree. I especially enjoyed the course Intercultural Skills as it required us to apply what was learned to solve a business case."