The Netherlands offers bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees. Degrees are offered in two broad categories:
1. Research-oriented programs at research universities. Research universities include institutions with both general programs and those that specialize in areas such as engineering and agriculture.
2. Professional higher education programs at applied sciences universities. Universities with applied sciences programs prepare students to work in specific professions, such as fine arts or education.
All master’s programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission. A bachelor’s degree from a research-oriented program is required for admission to a research-oriented program at the master’s level; however applicants with a bachelor’s degree from an applied sciences program may be admitted if they fulfill additional requirements.
Why Study in the Netherlands?
Studying in the Netherlands provides outstanding value through a combination of low tuition, top-notch universities, and a multicultural lifestyle that embraces international students. In 2012, Dutch universities held 12 of the top 200 positions in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Although students who speak Dutch may prefer to enroll in a program taught in Dutch, many programs in the Netherlands are taught in English. International students are welcome and make up about 13 percent of the students in the country. In addition, some institutions provide programs specifically designed for international students. Any Dutch institution that recruits international students must adhere to a code of conduct that covers counseling and selection of these students. The most popular degree programs for international students are in economics, engineering, the social sciences, and languages.
The Netherlands has 13 research universities, 39 universities of applied sciences, and 14 other institutions. Three research universities specialize in technology and one research university, Wageningen, specializes in agriculture. Universities receive funding from various sources, including government grants, tuition, fees, and contracts with outside organizations.
Tuition, Program Duration and Academic Year
The tuition for an EU student is about €1,800 to €12,000 per year depending on program type and school. Rates for non-EU students are around €8,000 to €20,000 per year. Although all Dutch master’s degree programs provide excellent value, the Dutch are particularly known for their expertise in Sustainable Energy, Water Management, and Art & Design.
A research-oriented master’s program requires 60-120 credit hours, which takes 1-2 years to complete. Engineering, agriculture, mathematics, and the sciences all require 120 credit-hour/2-year programs. Research degrees are awarded as either a Master of Science or a Master of Arts.
Applied arts and science degrees also require 60-120 credit hours, depending upon the academic discipline. The degree awarded is specific to the academic specialty, such as a Master of Architecture.
One credit hour generally takes 28 hours to complete, and the academic year is 42 weeks long. A full-time student normally completes 60 credit hours in one academic year. The academic year normally consists of two semesters, with the fall semester running from September to January or February and the spring semester running from February through June.
Upon graduation, all students receive a diploma that indicates their degree as well as a description of the course of study so potential employers in an international student’s home country can understand the degree. In addition, all international students may stay in the Netherlands for up to one year after they graduate to seek employment. There are no restrictions on employment opportunities during that year. Graduates are also encouraged to apply for PhD programs or research positions.
Visa Requirements and Work Permits
EU students do not require a Visa, but are required to be registered with the Dutch immigration authorities (IND) by their host institution and to notify their local council. Students from non-EU countries must have a residence permit which is valid for 12 months and can be extended. The student’s host institution should apply for this permit after the student arrives.
All international students must have some sort of health insurance, which can be provided by their home country. However, anyone who becomes employed in the Netherlands should enroll in Dutch public health insurance. Work permits are not required for students from EU countries, but are required for other international students.
Top universities in the Netherlands are very competitive, so prospective students should check admission requirements early to make sure they are eligible. English-language programs require students from countries where English is not the native language to demonstrate proficiency through the TOEFL or another accredited English language test.