Computing Science

1. Will my Dutch degree in computing science be recognised in the UK?

A degree in computing science obtained within the European Union and at good universities outside the EU will be recognised. However it is important to check the programmes offered by different universities to find the most suitable degree as content of topics taught can be different to the UK.

2. Computing science in the Netherlands

The wireless protocol 'Bluetooth' was developed by Dutch engineer Jaap Hartsen, and WiFi, the standard for superfast wireless internet, was developed in Nieuwegein, Holland.

High-tech industries in the Netherlands are amongst the most innovative in the world, thanks to state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge research and development.

The Netherlands is the fourth-largest exporter of IT services, after the US, UK and Germany. Some 70 per cent of innovation in the Netherlands is IT-related and enables crucial developments in areas such as water management, food and cut flowers, and automotive. The country’s IT infrastructure is second-to-none, with high-capacity networks powering global research and development efforts (SURFnet, GigaPort and Netherlight all facilitate co-operation amongst hundreds-of-thousands of researchers and students worldwide).

This has given rise to globally competitive software developers, hardware companies and IT consultancies in areas such as business, simulation, mobility, healthcare and safety. Additionally, many companies develop computer games for all major platforms, the internet and mobile telephones. The Netherlands is a European leader in embedded systems and a world leader in microchip manufacturing equipment.

The Dutch government works closely with academia and the private sector, effectively pushing the boundaries in areas such as parallel computing, modelling, embedded systems, multimedia technologies and virtual laboratories.

The online gaming market in the Netherlands is the third largest in Europe. The Dutch online gaming market accounts for 12.2 per cent of the western European online gaming market.

In particular the Amsterdam region is ideally suited to learning and research in the field of Computing Science. With over 160 companies and research institutions, it offers an environment of unrivaled innovation and forms one of the most important European centres in the area of ICT and gaming.

3. Undergraduate opportunities to study computer science in the Netherlands

How do you develop safe apps for mobile phones? How do you produce 3D images of an MRI scan? How do you program a computer system to find the quickest travel route? Computing scientists design, improve and implement the software and computer systems that businesses and our social life can't do without. With specialisations in either Business Computing or Biomedical Computing, the BSc in Computing Science at the University of Groningen put the skills students acquire in high-end programming to practical use straight away with practical challenges and projects undertaken in groups or individually.

How can you drive a car by computer? How does a computer recognize speech or emotions? How can software and devices be aligned to the way humans think? The Dutch Guide to Colleges has rated the BSc in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Groningen of all similar programmes in the Netherlands. This degree programme focuses on human thinking, artificial thinking (computers, robots) and behaviour in social systems (e.g. group behaviour). Students study the underlying processes in order to predict or simulate behavior.

NHTV Breda’s 4-year BSc in International Game Architecture and Design focuses on honing creative, technological and commercial skills. In the development of games it’s important to develop specific skills to make the right choices in content, design, graphics, storyline and audio. NHTV is official partner of Sony and is participating in the PlayStation®First Academic Partnership Programme. This means NHTV students are developing games for PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Network (PSN). PlayStation® hardware and software take a central place in the teaching curriculum of this programme.

Hanze University of Applied Science’s BSc in Game Design revolves around game design, game development and how games are implemented to reach a specific purpose. Students work on game concepts, 2D and 3D artwork, game development and game evaluation, adjusted in line with current developments in the curriculum. There is extra emphasis on research, innovation, intercultural communication and entrepreneurship.

The 4-year Bachelor in Information Technology at NHL Senden University of Applied Sciences prepares students for roles such as a System Analyst, Developer or Designer, a Software Engineer or a Communication and ICT Specialist. During the programme students acquire manager skills such as marketing, budgeting, customer orientation, systems analysis and problem solving. Interpersonal skills are encouraged and improved, particularly the ability to communicate in a range of different media and for different professional purposes.

The BSc in Creative Technology at the University of Twente is a challenging programme in which students learn to develop innovative applications whilst using the latest technology. Students specialize in either Smart Technology (systems, signals, smart environments) or New Media (web, games, visualization).

4. Postgraduate opportunities to study computer science in the Netherlands

If you are fascinated with questions such as: How can we develop secure and robust software? How can we teach computers to see; How can we make our software easily adaptable to new tasks? How do we improve learning by computers; then the MSc in Computing Science at the University of Groningen is worth looking at. Students increase their in-depth knowledge within the areas of Distributed Systems, Software Engineering, Intelligent Systems, Computational Science and Visualization. In student colloquia research and presentation skills are developed. For those aiming to go into business rather than academia, project management and related topics are also offered.

Radboud University’s MSc in Computing Science offers specialisations in Computer Security, Data Science, Software Science and Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science.

Information Sciences. These specialisations are closely related to the research carried out within the Institute for Computing and Information Science (ICIS) of Radboud University, which was rated the top computing science institute in the Netherlands by an international committee evaluating the quality of computing science research across all Dutch universities.

The University of Twente's 2-year MSc in Business Information Technology focuses on IT-based business innovation. Students become experts at applying IT to devise new services and radically improve the way businesses work. With specialisations in Enterprise Architecture and IT Management, this programme provides students with knowledge in areas like E-strategy and E-commerce, business and IT architectures, IT-based business models and management of IT projects. Students also gain experience in designing successful organisational change programmes to implement new ways of working.

The MSc in Embedded Systems at the University of Twente focuses on signal processing in hardware and software applications for controlling a device, process or system. Students have the opportunity to focus on a wide variety of topics ranging from control engineering, integrated circuit design and computer architecture to communication networks, real-time operating systems, software engineering and formal methods for embedded applications.

As humans, we are often intrigued by how complex our daily activities are. How does it work actually to perceive, to act, to decide, and to remember? On the one hand, if we understand how our own intelligence works, we can use this knowledge to make computers smarter. On the other hand, by making computers behave 'human'-like, we may be able to learn about how our own cognitive system actually works. The MSc in Artificial Intelligence at Radboud University Nijmegen has a distinctly cognitive focus and consists of three specialisations: Web and Language Interaction; Robot Cognition; and Computation in Neural and Artificial Systems.

The University of Amsterdam’s MSc in Medical Informatics is concerned with solving information-related problems in the medical and healthcare sectors. A qualified Medical Informatician is able to identify, analyse, describe and solve medical information problems. In so doing, the selection, synthesis and evaluation of information science theories, models and methods play an important role. Students also draw upon knowledge from related disciplines, such as computer science, medicine, business studies, logistical management and the social sciences.

To process and analyse the huge amount of data collected through genomics initiatives, computational techniques from Bioinformatics – such as sequence alignment, sequence assembly, biostatistics and machine learning – are required in order to make predictions about health outcome and to decide on a personalized treatment for the patient. VU University Amsterdam’s MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology combines molecular and cell biology, computer science and mathematical modelling to integrate vast amounts of biological data into fundamental knowledge.

One of the most pressing problems in the development of AAA-games is the efficiency of the production process. With development costs sometimes exceeding $500M (consisting almost entirely of labor), maximizing efficiency through better tools, procedural art and strong cooperation between programmers and artists is paramount. NHTV Breda University of Applied Science’s MSc in Game Technology aims to address this issue with a focus specifically on the technical side of the profession of game developer with the option of a specialisation in Programming or Visual Art.

5. Does it make sense to study computing science abroad?

Yes, it does. At many overseas universities it is mandatory to undertake a 6-month industrial placement to gain valuable work experience in the market and to increase your attractiveness in terms of employability after graduation.

The opportunities available to you in other countries such as the Netherlands may be far more suitable for your longer-term employment aspirations.

6. What grades do I need to get in?

This differs in terms of the university you decide to go to. It is a safe assumption that you will need to have A levels in Maths and other relevant subjects in order to be able to study computing science at university.

7. What else should I bear in mind?

As already mentioned, we think the most important thing for you to consider is whether your degree is recognised. 

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About Study In Holland 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. is owned by A Star Future Ltd and is not affiliated with the Dutch government.