Students Tilburg University

Discourses on Europe / Honors Program

The Honors program stimulates the ambitious student to delve into various characteristic aspects of other university studies in addition to the regular study program

Cultural, economic, political, and social discourses

Always wanted to know the insides of the EU? Convinced that you have a solution to the Euro crisis? Greece in and we out – what about solidarity? Here is the program that takes you further and makes you think critically about Europe and its future.

Discourses on Europe is a challenging Honors Program for talented students who are interested in and concerned with today’s world. The focus of the four-course program is on Europe, which will be studied from the vantage points of several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences by discussing both historical and contemporary issues and developments. The program aims at breaking down traditional distinctions between the West and the East and the North and the South in the light of important European and global transformations that are taking place today. This includes questions pertaining to cultural, economic, political, and social discourses.


Europe has become one of the competitors for world leadership after the reinvention of its democratic, political, and economic life since WWII. Europe’s rich and complex national cultures have evolved into a new type of international society with innovative legislative, juridical, and executive structures. Europe’s unity and distinctiveness rest upon its historical intellectual, artistic, and religious heritages and upon the dynamics of the continuing interaction, mixing, and blending of those heritages with each other.

However, there is also a more problematic current perspective: while dealing with the euro crises, the frictions in immigrant societies, the growing weakness of the welfare state, and the emergence of populism, Europe is confronted with its limitations. Brought on by the global economic recession, the euro crisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the institutional structure of the monetary union. The non-existence of centralized political control over the European economy combined with a lack of democratic legitimacy sets in motion processes that are undermining European solidarity.

Although individual European nations have fantastic media infrastructures, a European public sphere is not yet a reality and it is only with difficulty that ‘the circuits of national discourse join together. In AD 2012, Europe has to reinvent itself; it has to re-imagine its narrative as one that continues to incorporate the messages of freedom, solidarity, and peace. But how can this be done, whose stories have to be told and listened to?

Extra course

The Honors Program is a program that students can do ‘on top of’ their regular bachelor program. This is only for students who are studying successfully and who are willing to take extra courses to develop as an academic. The Honors Program offers students the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of European topics through interdisciplinary study. It aims to equip students with an awareness of the richness of European cultures, societies, economies, and traditions that is fundamental to understanding Europe, as well as other parts of the world.  Upon successfully completing four out of the five courses, students will receive a certificate at the time of awarding their bachelor's degree.

January 2021: ‘Discourses on Europe’ will change into ‘The Societal Challenge of Migration’

The current Honors Program Discourses on Europe, that focused on European themes, issues and problems, has been running from 2012 on and will end in December 2020. 

From September 2020 until December 2020, students can still take the courses

1.    European Literary History and Diversity  / Prof. Odile Heynders & Drs. Geno Spoormans
2.    The old continent in a new world. Europe and the rise of Brazil, India and China / Prof. Paul Scheffer
3.    Self-study module Reading & Watching (for students who are on exchange)

In January 2021, we will start a new program considering practices, everyday strategies and consequences of migration in a global world. The Societal Challenge of Migration program will offer four interdisciplinary courses in which multiple aspects of migration will be considered from theoretical, political, cultural, legal, economic and media perspectives. We are working now to develop a program in which team teaching and collaboration between various schools is stimulated.