Research universities in the Netherlands (Universiteiten)
Research universities in the Netherlands focus on the independent practice of research-oriented education in an academic or professional setting. In total, 14 research universities and 8 academic medical centres enrol more than 200.000 students and offer three-year Bachelor's programmes and one or two-year Master's programmes. At a research university in the Netherlands, you can get a WO degree.
WO degree (Research Bachelor’s degree)
The WO is a three-year Bachelor’s degree at a research university (universiteit), where a student can gain a degree in arts, science or law. To start a WO, a student must have a VWO high school qualification, unless they have already completed the first year of an HBO degree. Students complete the WO around the age of 21.
Universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands (Hogescholen)
In universities of applied sciences (hogescholen), students are trained for the independent practice of science. All hogescholen have a more practical orientation and thus, Bachelor's programmes specialising in specific areas last for four years. It should be underlined that after completing a four-year Bachelor's programme, students can apply for a second Bachelor's or even for a Master's programme in (almost) every university. However, a switch programme (one year) may be required. At a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands, you can get an HBO degree.
HBO degree (Applied Bachelor’s degree)
The HBO is a four-year Bachelor’s degree at a university of applied sciences (hogeschool), where a student can gain a degree in fields such as design, engineering, IT, teaching and more. The HBO combines both theoretical and practical knowledge via group work and internships. Students complete the HBO around the age of 21.
Postgraduate education in the Netherlands
Students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree (either HBO or WO) can embark on postgraduate education such as a Master’s degree or doctoral degree.
Master's programmes last between one-to-three years, covering an area of theoretical or applied knowledge.
PhD or Doctorate
PhDs are four-year doctorate programmes covering a specific field of theoretical knowledge involving research and writing a thesis.
Institutes for International Education (IE)
Institutes for International Education (IE) offer a variety of specialised programmes, including short courses, Master’s programmes and PhD programmes. Most of the IE institutes are part of a research university. Due to their international nature, IE institutes may well suit the needs of expats.
Private schools and other higher education institutions
- Most Dutch business schools offer a wide variety of part-time and full-time (international) Master’s degree programmes.
- University colleges in the Netherlands offer full-time Bachelor programmes in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dutch university colleges have an international and intercultural focus, making them perfect for expats.
- The universities of the arts in the Netherlands offer an extensive range of Bachelor’s, Master’s and research degrees in fine arts, music, dance, theatre, film and television and more.
Dutch universities & funding
In terms of funding, all Dutch universities and institutions belong to one of the two following categories:
- Government-funded institutions are legally protected and financially supported by the Dutch government and thus, allowed to offer officially recognised degrees.
- Government-approved institutions are not funded by the Dutch government but preserve the right to offer degrees that are officially recognised.