Arts and science faculties to close day early for Christmas break 

Some faculties are closing early for Christmas break this year. The holiday falls very early in the vacation, making travel challenging for some international students.

While students and staff are officially off between December 26 and January 6, Faculty of Arts students can go home on December 23. ‘Last year, we ran the last class on the 24th. Many international students and staff asked if we could have the Friday off this year’, explains vice dean Joost Keizer. More than half of students at the faculty are internationals, he says.

In many countries, Christmas Eve is as or even more important than Christmas Day, and having to teach or attend classes on December 23 would make it very difficult for those traveling a long way to get home by the evening December 24.

Working remotely

The Faculty of Science and Engineering will also close down its buildings on the 23rd, says Peter Timmerman, policy director and secretary to the faculty board. ‘There are no educational activities, but staff will work remotely.’

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences had already decided earlier this year to return to online teaching from December 12 to January 13. Not to accommodate internationals, but in a bid to prevent uncertainty and stress, should Covid flare up again this winter. 


International students and staff at other faculties are not as lucky. At the Faculty of Economics and Business, ‘there will be lectures and tutorials on campus, as usual’, says policy officer Alexandra van den Doel. 

However, because 23 percent of FEB students are international, the faculty has brought forward or postponed education that requires physical attendance – such as exams – wherever possible. In addition, tutorial presentations can be given online if needed, Van den Doel explains.


The Faculty of Law has no fewer than eighty lectures and working groups on December 23 which require physical attendance. ‘We are strongly committed to on-site education. We prefer not to reverse this by offering things online’, says faculty dean Wilbert Kolkman.

Exams at the Faculty of Medical Sciences will last until December 23 as well. ‘We consulted our students about this’, says Rob van Ouwerkerk, head of academic and medical further education at the UMCG. While 17 percent of students are international, and one-third of those are from a non-EU country, a majority of students did not want to postpone their exams until after the Christmas break. 


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