Educational system and degrees

The Netherlands has two main types of higher education. Research universities focus on independent research-oriented work in an academic or professional setting, while universities of applied sciences focus on the applied arts and sciences, preparing students for specific professions. 

Read more about the educational system in The Netherlands on page 9-14 of Life and Study. Read futher for a summary:

Research universities: Bachelor, Master and PhD

At a research university you will get trained in academic study and research, although many study programmes also have a professional component, and most graduates actually find work outside the research community.

Bachelor
Completion of a bachelor’s programme at a research university requires three years of full-time study. Upon completion of a bachelor’s programme at a research university, you will receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science (BA/BSc) degree depending on the discipline.

Master
Depending on the discipline, master’s programmes will require one, two or sometimes even three years to complete. Graduates from a research oriented master obtain a Master of Arts or Master of Science (MA/MSc) degree.

PhD
Doctoral degrees (PhD) require four years to complete. The aim of doing a PhD is to complete a dissertation based on original research. Only the research universities can award PhD degrees.

Universities of applied sciences: Bachelor and Master

Programmes offered by universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) focus on the practical application of knowledge. Acquiring practical work experience through internships is an integral part of professional study programmes. These bachelor’s programmes require four years of full-time study.

Bachelor
A bachelor’s degree programme offered by universities of applied sciences will result in a bachelor’s degree indicating the field of study (for example: Bachelor of Engineering, B Eng). A bachelor’s degree gives you an excellent basis for your future career. If you wish, you can continue with a master’s programme once you have a bachelor’s degree.

Master
Depending on the discipline, master’s programmes will require one, two or sometimes even three years to complete. A master’s degree awarded in the applied arts and sciences results in a degree indicating the field of study (for example, Master of Architecture, M Arch).

Admission requirements

The main requirement for admission to a bachelor’s programme is a secondary school diploma at the appropriate level. International students must have a diploma corresponding to a certain level as well as good grades in relevant subjects. Applicants to a master’s programme must have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. It is essential that international students are able to speak, read and write English well. Contact the educational institution of your choice for further information about admission and requirements.