Types of Degree Programmes in Netherlands

The Netherlands has numerous study programmes and many different types of degrees are offered. Those enrolling in higher education programmes in the Netherlands will obtain an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree after completing the first cycle. Following the completion of the second cycle or the graduate phase, they will obtain a Master’s degree and upon completion of the third cycle- the doctorate. Research universities as well as universities of applied sciences offer undergraduate as well as graduate courses for students. Master’s programmes are not offered by institutes for International Education. The institutes of International Education do offer Bachelor’s degree programmes. Following completion of the Master’s degree, students can pursue doctoral studies at research universities.

Types of Degree Programmes

Research universities offer the following degree programmes:
  • BSc or Bachelor of Science lasting for 3 years
  • Bachelor of Arts lasting for 3 years 
  • Master of Science/MSc lasting for 1/2 years
  • MA or Master of Arts for 1 to 2 years
  • PD eng for 2 years
  • PhD for 4 years
Universities of Applied Sciences offer two year Associate Degree programmes, four year Bachelor’s Degree programmes and 1-2 years Master’s Degree programmes. Institutes for International Education offer MSc programmes and MA degrees for 1-2 years. PhD programmes of varying durations are only offered at one institute. 

Associate Degree Programmes in Dutch Higher Education

Associate degree programmes are offered through universities of applied sciences. The latter provide short-cycle professional higher education culminating in an associate degree. This form of higher education is relatively newer and it is also a part of some bachelor’s programmes in the first two years, in higher professional education.

There are currently nearly 60 associate degree programmes in specialised areas such as behaviour and society, economics, engineering as well as language and culture available at these institutions.  An associate degree in applied subjects (arts or sciences) need 120 credits and last for 2 years. Students who have completed the Associate degree programme can appear for the Bachelor’s degree programme in the applied sciences and arts. Students can check out the admission requirements and find if they are suitable for the AD or Associate Degree course.

Bachelor’s Degree Programmes at Dutch Colleges

Bachelor’s degree programmes can be studied at a research university or a university of applied sciences. Students can choose the course that meet all their needs. Bachelor’s degrees at the universities of applied sciences are offered in a broad range of disciplines such as economics, health care, agriculture, fine arts and so on. Each discipline has various types of courses within it. Each course may vary in content depending upon the institution.

Universities of applied sciences determine everything from the content to the structure of their programmes and honours programmes have also been introduced for talented students who are enrolled in major, minor or dual courses. Students examine these for a while and then work for a certain time period. Bachelor’s programmes offered by the educational institutions are centred around the propedeuse or the first year after which the main phase of three years follows. The aim is to make the student aware of the importance of practical thinking in their courses and to gain hands-on experience in the field of professions through  internships, apart from class instructions. 

Alongside classroom instruction, projects and assignments are also in place to help the student learn more. Students can opt for professional careers following their bachelor’s degree programmes or enrol in a master’s. Learn more about the admission requirements.

Master’s Degree Programmes in the Netherlands Universities

Master’s degree programmes are offered at the universities of applied sciences. They aim to increase knowledge as well as skills at a higher level, to provide students with career opportunities and improvement in their thinking and analytical skills. Master’s programmes offered at these universities may either be full time or part time. Application of classroom theory in daily practice enables students to be able to acquire practical thinking skills.

Students in many of these graduate programmes are required to perform some kind of applied research and credits for these programmes range from 60 for 1 year programmes to 90 to 240 for 1.5 to 4 year programmes. You can also check the admission requirements.

Master’s programmes are also offered at research universities. The aim of such research oriented, academic Master’s programmes are providing important knowledge and analytical skills for students to carry out work in a specific, allied or multidisciplinary field. There are numerous Master’s degree programmes to choose from including academic and research oriented programmes. Such master’s programmes last for a minimum of one year with 60 credits. Some programmes such as research master’s, teacher training master’s, and masters in engineering, natural science, mathematics and agriculture lasted for a minimum of 2 years or 120 credits. Advanced programmes such as those in medicine and dentistry last for a maximum of 3 years and equal 180 credits. Admission requirements  for these programmes are rigorous.

PDEng in Dutch Universities

Along with doctoral programmes, 3 universities of technology in the Netherland also provide Professional Doctorate in Engineering known as PDEng. This programme is for MSc graduates who want to tap high level innovative designs for complex issues with multidisciplinary nature.  An additional dimension of this research is interdisciplinary work. A graduate technological designer has a rich and rewarding career and many students opt for this course. This programme (PDEng) lasts for a maximum of two years and students can learn more about the  the admission requirements.

PhD in Holland

Students pursuing doctoral studies in Holland must study for 4 years. They must also conduct original research and write a dissertation. PhD candidates also work in close partnership with their supervisors and it is regarded as paid employment and not just studies in the Netherlands. 

Holland has massive number of graduate schools. 11 of its resident universities have been ranked in the 200 top universities by the Times Higher Education World University rankings 2014. This makes it perfect for doctoral students who want to achieve academic distinction and receive paid employment. Doctoral candidates in Holland are either part of the graduate school or the research school. The Netherlands ranks 2nd all over the world for number of publications per researcher and 4th for the impact of the research publication, says Study in Holland. 

In the Netherlands, research is carried out by the research universities, institutes and companies. However, the PhD degree can only be awarded by the research universities. PhD posts are routinely advertises on job boards such as Academic transfer apart from journals or notice boards ant other institutions.

Academic degree programmes in the Netherlands follow a binary cycle where bachelor’s degree is followed by master’s degree and a doctorate. The higher education system in the Netherlands is extremely well organized and it has great value for students who want to excel in their professional and academic life. 
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