Dutch universities implement lottery system to increase diversity of medical students

Dutch universities implement lottery system to increase diversity of medical students

Several universities in the Netherlands have started to roll out a lottery system to allocate places for medical degrees in a number of Dutch cities. The universities hope that by using such a system they will be able to increase the diversity of students on their courses and increase equality of opportunity in higher education. 

Future doctors will no longer be selected by qualifications

Eight medical schools contacted by Trouw told the magazine that they plan to replace their selection procedure either partially or completely with a lottery system, to improve equality of opportunity and reduce study pressure on students. 

Currently, the selection process sees students submit their CVs and motivation letters, as well as test and exam scores. Experts argue that this system advantages students with more resources, as they can more easily afford tutoring, or have networks that allow them preferential consideration for internships, for example. 

Decentralised selection required by law until 2023

Until 2023, the decentralised selection process was required by law for medical programmes in the Netherlands. Now, this selection process is no longer legally required, and lotteries can be reintroduced in Dutch universities again. 

Trouw discovered that Radboud University in Nijmegen is considering using an unweighted lottery so that every candidate has an equal chance, while medical universities in Rotterdam and Groningen are working on a combination of selection and lottery. The magazine also spoke to a number of other universities that are not yet sure how the situation will change but are convinced that the procedure will in fact change.

Image: Marieke Kramer /

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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