What grades do you need to get into a Dutch university?

The admissions process for Dutch universities is very different from the British system. Although there is a centralised admissions process, Studielink, it does not work in the same way as UCAS.

With very few exceptions (see Numerus Fixus) you are entitled to a place to study at a Dutch university if you have an appropriate school leaving certificate. For British students, this typically means that you have completed at least 3 A' levels at CCC or better for research universities and 2 A' levels at any grade for universities of applied sciences.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas will be considered for courses in the same area at universities of applied sciences although they will not be treated as equivalent to A' levels. Other forms of BTECs are not accepted at all. Some universities might accept students with 2 A' levels and 2 AS levels in four different subjects but you cannot automatically assume this would be the case. Access to Higher Education qualifications are now recognised for admission to appropriate Bachelor's degrees but its extremely doubtful whether this would work for medicine.

Some courses will require specific A' levels, most often Maths and Sciences, and some will suggest that students with below BBB are unlikely to be successful once they arrive at university. However, you may be able to get an offer with less than this even for courses with Numerus Fixus.

Ordinarily, you will be made a conditional offer, you will simply be told that you will be accepted subject to your achieving CCC or better in your A' levels for degrees at research universities. Before 2020, EEE at A level was often sufficient but the Dutch credential evaluation organisation has recently changed its guidance here. For the International Baccalaureate Diploma, any score of 24 or better should be enough for most degrees that are not subject to selection.

For information on the practicalities of applying please refer to the Studielink page of this site.

It is worth remembering that while entry requirements might be lower at Dutch universities, standards are not. It is much more common for students to drop out at the end of the first year because they do not reach the required standard. Please think very seriously about whether the university you are applying to is the right one for you. Just because they will make you an offer is not a clear indication of this. The standard question that you might use in the UK - what grades do I need? - may not be the best one to ask. Instead you should think about whether you will be able to cope.

Dutch universities have recently introduced a process called 'matching'. At the moment this applies mostly to Dutch students although it has been extended to international students in some subjects. As any student with an appropriate school leaving certificate can apply to most university courses, the university will speak to students informally to see if they are correctly 'matched' to the right course. As a result of this process, a university might recommend that you study somewhere else. This is non-binding but is designed to make sure that students have thought about why it is they want to study a particular subject and whether they are sufficiently motivated to be successful.

There are Dutch universities suitable for all academic abilities and career objectives but just because a university will let you in doesn't mean it is the right place for you. On the other hand, it does mean that you might be better able to get a world-class education in the Netherlands than in the UK if that option is denied to you here.

About Study In Holland

Studyinholland.co.uk is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services.

Studyinholland.co.uk is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.