About Dutch Higher Education
There are two main kinds of universities in the Netherlands: research universities and universities of applied sciences (hogescholen in Dutch). Research universities offer more academically rigorous education that focuses on specific subjects. Universities of Applied Sciences offer profession-orientated- programmes that are designed for students who are looking to enter a particular career upon graduation.
Undergraduate degrees at research universities typically take three years to complete and usually do not include work experience. There are 14 research universities in the Netherlands but many do not teach bachelor degrees in the English language. Only the University of Groningen and Maastricht University offer courses in English in more than five subjects.For a full list of undergraduate courses taught in English at research universities please visit our course finder.
Postgraduate qualifications are more commonly taught in English and almost all research universities in the Netherlands offer an extensive range of opportunities. We will be adding a full search function for postgraduate courses available in English to this website in spring 2012 but some are already listed on the site.
Undergraduate degrees at Universities of Applied Sciences typically take three or four years and will always include a work placement and usually a period of time studying abroad. It is possible therefore to spend up to 18 months of a four year degree in the UK but this is not recommended. There are 41 universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands although they vary in terms of their size and focus. Some are very small and specialise in a particular area such as agriculture, design or teacher training.These smaller, specialised universities may offer one or two courses in English in their area of expertise.
The largest universities of applied sciences typically offer a range of courses in English. One advantage of choosing a Dutch higher education is that the universities usually offer courses in English in areas where they have extensive experience and an excellent reputation within the industry concerned.
In addition to the two main categories of universities in the Netherlands you can also find private universities and university colleges. Private universities typically specialise in particular areas such as hospitality and tourism and charge higher fees than other Dutch universities.University colleges are more often affiliated with public universities and specialise in teaching liberal arts degrees following the US model of undergraduate education. University colleges usually charge additional fees and require students to live on campus.