Admission Requirements for Studying in the Netherlands
If you have decided to study in the Netherlands, it is best to find out about the exact requirements in the next step. Depending on the university, study program and subject, the exact admission requirements for studying in the Netherlands may vary. However, there are no admission restrictions for the majority of courses in the Netherlands, a country that belongs to European Union according to countryvv.
Academic requirements according to type of study
In the Dutch study system, the degrees build on each other. For admission to the Bachelor’s degree, applicants primarily need a general university entrance qualification. At the Hogescholen, the technical college entrance qualification is usually sufficient. A good bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for admission to the master’s degree in the Netherlands. Those who also receive this higher degree with good grades ultimately have the opportunity to apply for a doctorate at the university.
As a rule, the universities in the Netherlands determine the exact criteria for admission to study themselves. In some cases, certain advanced and basic courses from the upper level are necessary for access to the Bachelor’s degree. A separate selection procedure applies to the few degree programs with restricted admission.
The numerus fixus and the decentralized selection process
International students particularly appreciate the access to popular subjects at universities in the Netherlands without numerus clausus. Instead, the universities publish the number of available study places for particularly popular or support-intensive study programs in April each year. This admission restriction is called Numerus Fixus and applies above all to subjects such as medicine, psychology or engineering courses. Since 2017, the universities have been using a decentralized selection process as soon as the number of registrations exceeds the requirements. So they represent the quality safe teaching and avoid overcrowded lecture halls.
So far, the Dutch universities have used a lottery procedure, the loting, to distribute the study places when there is a large crowd. The new decentralized selection process enables them to define individual criteria. Grades continue to play a minor role here. Instead, applicants submit letters of motivation or recommendation and take an exam which, for example, asks for knowledge and skills relevant to their studies. It is worth comparing the various selection processes at the universities.
Shorter study programs up to a year
Even for shorter study programs such as summer sessions or semesters abroad in the Netherlands, the exact admission requirements depend on the respective university. It is common for applicants, the (technical) -Abitur, enrollment at a German university and a language certificate to present. If students need certain previous knowledge, they submit a transcript of records to the Dutch university to prove this. Sometimes a letter of motivation is required, for example to get a place in a special summer session.
Academic admission tests for studying in the Netherlands
There are some academic admission tests in the selection process for the few courses with restricted admission at Dutch universities. However, these are more like an assessment center and also ask about social and communicative skills.
Applicants without a high school diploma and over 21 years of age have the opportunity to take an admission test at some universities. In the so-called Colloquium Doctum, they prove that they meet the requirements for the degree. The respective universities provide information on the exact requirements.
Language admission requirements for studying in the Netherlands
Most of the courses in the Netherlands are held in the Dutch language. Proof of sufficient language skills is required prior to enrollment. In some cases, what you have learned from school is sufficient, but language courses with a corresponding qualification are more common.
The best known language test for Dutch is Nederlands as Tweede Taal (NT2). The NT2 certificate is divided into two programs that correspond to levels B1 and B2 of the European Framework of Reference. For admission to study in the Netherlands, applicants need program II. Detailed information on registration and the test procedure can be found at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Other language tests recognized in the Netherlands are Interuniversitair Toelatingsexamen Nederland (ITN) and Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT). ITN is carried out internally by the Dutch universities through a paid intensive course. At the Hogescholen, German students often have the opportunity to take the exams of the first year of study in German.
Universities in the Netherlands offer many courses in English. In this case, too, proof of language proficiency is required for the application. Language tests such as the IELTS or TOEFL, for example, are common.
The language admission requirements for studying in the Netherlands vary depending on the course. It is therefore advisable to find out what knowledge you need in good time so that nothing stands in the way of a successful application. In order to fully enjoy everyday student life on site, it is definitely helpful to speak Dutch. In many cases the universities offer preparatory language courses in the summer before the start of the academic year.
Further admission requirements
The first year of study in the Netherlands is decisive for the further course of study. The support from the lecturers is particularly intensive in order to convey the basics of the subject. At the end of the so-called propedeuse, it is mainly the students who receive feedback, for whom a change of subject is advisable.
In most cases, creative courses such as music, dance or design require an entrance examination. Applicants also submit work samples or letters of motivation.