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Higher education in The Netherlands

Higher education in the Netherlands is internationally oriented. Almost one fourth of all programmes are offered in English and these programmes attract a lot of students from all over the world. The reputation of Dutch higher education is ensured by its national regulatory framework, its commitment to quality assurance and its obligatory accreditation. 

There are three categories of higher education institutions in The Netherlands:

  1. Recognised public institutions
    There are two types of recognised public institutions: universities and universities of applied science ("hogescholen"). Both universities and universities of applied science can offer programmes with an academic as well as a professional orientation.
  2. Recognised private institutions
    These institutions do not receive public funding. However, after having completed a special institutional procedure and initial accreditation of their programmes, these institutions are allowed to offer bachelor and master's programmes.
  3. Privately funded institutions that are not recognised
    These institutions are not recognised are only allowed to offer postgraduate programmes. These programmes have to get (initial) accreditation.

The Netherlands has a three cycle degree structure in line with the European Higher Education Area:

  • Bachelor's degrees
    Bachelor's programme (professional orientation)
    Bachelor's programme (academic orientation)
  • Master's degrees
    Master's programme (professional orientation)
    Master's programme (academic orientation)
  • Doctoral degrees
    Doctoral studies