The Netherlands is known for its high quality of higher education and has the largest number of English language programmes and courses in continental Europe.
The institutions differ in their way of teaching and the requirements they have for students to be able to pursue a study.There are two main kinds of universities in the Netherlands: research universities and universities of applied sciences (hogescholen or HBO in Dutch). Research universities offer more academically rigorous education that focuses on specific subjects. Universities of applied sciences offer profession-orientated programmes that are designed for students who are looking to enter a particular career upon graduation.
At a Research University you will focus more on research-oriented work, which could be either in an academic or in a professional setting. Education is theoretical and at an academic level. This type of education is aimed at developing critical thinking skills and conducting research, and requires you to be able to study a large part of the course material independently.
At a University of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, you can choose a professional programme in the applied arts and sciences, to prepare you for a specific career. Education is practice-oriented and therefore requires more contact hours in the form of lectures and tutorials during which the course material is taught in a classical setting.
Dutch higher education is based on a three-cycle degree system. You first obtain a Bachelor’s degree (first cycle) and can then continue to study for a Master’s degree (second cycle). After completion of a Master’s programme you can start a PhD degree or PDeng degree programme (third cycle).
A Bachelor's programme at a Research University is only open to those who have successfully completed 6 years of university preparatory education (VWO) in the Netherlands and to those with similar international qualifications. Students with a relevant Bachelor's degree of a Research University can be directly admitted to a Master's programme at a Research University.
A Bachelor's programme at a University of Applied Sciences is open to those who have at least successfully completed 5 years of senior general secondary education (havo) in the Netherlands and to those with similar international qualifications. Students with a relevant Bachelor's degree of a University of Applied Sciences can only be admitted to a Master's programme at a Research University after completing a pre-Master's programme of 6 to 12 months.
EP-Nuffic, the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education, has developed an overview of the three-cycle degree system and the requirements per cycle. Click here for detailed information on the Dutch higher educational system, or have a look at the website of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Interested in getting to know the universities and universities of applied sciences located in the Brainport Eindhoven Region and what they can offer you? Take a look!