Universities and Degrees in the Netherlands

Universities in Holland

The Dutch higher education landscape consists of:

  • Universiteiten (Universiteiten)
  • Hogescholen (universities of applied sciences) and
  • Institutes voor Internationaal Onderwijs

The university is the place for academic teaching and research. There are 13 of these institutions under state sponsorship. Around 240,000 students are currently enrolled at them. Universities in the Netherlands usually have a very wide range of courses in which all subject areas are represented. Some of them are subject-specific, for example as technical universities.

The Open Universiteit is the only open university in the country. It is also administered by the state and offers a wide range of subjects.

The 120 hogescholen, which are reminiscent of German universities of applied sciences, are responsible for professional, higher education. Around 420,000 students are enrolled at them. The universities specialize in one or more subject areas such as technology, social affairs or economics.

The Dutch Institutes voor Internationaal Onderwijs, on the other hand, offer internationally oriented, English-language courses. They are very popular with students from all over the world. In economics in particular, the number of such international courses is now quite high due to the high demand.

Quality of the Dutch higher education system

Studying in the Netherlands enjoys a very good reputation due to the mostly high quality standards of the higher education institutions. The classrooms are modernly equipped, the library holdings are extensive, and the teaching staff is qualified and well-trained. The range of courses in the Netherlands is also very extensive in general. The Dutch teaching and study methods are considered to be particularly innovative and internationally oriented. Together with the degree programs, they are regularly updated and adapted to the requirements of science and the world of work.

Course of study in the Netherlands

Dutch higher education is usually fairly schooled and students are expected to be highly curriculum-based. The seminars are composed of fewer people than is the case in Germany, for example. This means that there is close contact between students and lecturers, as well as fellow students. The lecturers are usually easy to reach for their students between classes.

Degrees in the Netherlands

As a country located in Europe according to globalsciencellc, the Netherlands are a signatory to the Bologna Agreement. Since 2002, students can therefore in both the Universiteiten and to the hogescholen obtain bachelor and master degrees. The crediting of the study achievements takes place in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Bachelor in Holland

The length of the bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands depends on the type of university you choose:

  • At the universities, the bachelor’s degree programs are usually designed for three years.
  • At the Hogescholen it is four years, based on the earlier Dutch Baccalaureus degree.

The first year of study consists of imparting the general basic knowledge. Building on this, the subject matter is deepened and broadened. The bachelor’s degree is concluded with a written thesis and usually several oral exams. With such an academic title, direct entry into professional life is possible. A particular goal of the Dutch university landscape, however, is to give bachelor graduates the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree even after entering the world of work – i.e. not to block themselves from continuing education at the university after completing their bachelor’s degree.

Masters in Holland

A master’s course at the university takes about one to two years. It builds on the Bachelor and leads to a deepening and continuation of the previous studies. The range of master’s courses covers a very wide range of subjects. More and more universities are offering English-language master’s programs in the context of internationalization. In engineering and natural sciences, it takes an average of two years to get a master’s degree in the Netherlands. In the humanities, economics, social sciences and law, it often takes a year less.

Doctor in Holland

Doctoral studies in the Netherlands are currently only possible at universities. The prerequisite is a successfully completed master’s degree. The doctorate takes at least four years. It ends with the written dissertation and its oral defense, which takes place in front of an audience. Not only the topic of the doctoral thesis is dealt with in the oral examination, but six other theses are added. The doctorate ends with the award of the academic degree Doctor.

Associate Degrees

Since 2007, so-called associate degrees have also been offered in the Netherlands. They can be obtained at the Hogescholen within two years. This vocational course represents an intermediate stage between Dutch vocational secondary education ( Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs, MBO for short) and a longer university course.

Optionally, the course can be extended to a total of four years after two years. This is also recommended for German prospective students. Recognition of the associate degree is difficult because of the lack of equivalent in the German study system.

Universities and Degrees in the Netherlands