Offering internationally recognized degrees in various streams, the Netherlands is fast gaining traction as an education hub for students from across the world. On offer for international students are over 1.500 programmes taught entirely in English, made available by some of the best Dutch universities.
Although the Netherlands is a relatively small country – less than 34.000 sq. km, it boasts of 57 recognized universities, some of which are ranked as the world’s best for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. In the ‘Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ for 2011-2012, twelve of the top 200 were Dutch.
The Utrecht University is ranked as the best Dutch university in the world, while the Wageningen University comes a close second. The oldest university in the Netherlands, the Leiden University established in 1575, is ranked third amongst the top universities in the country.
There are around 18 research universities in the Netherlands that offer bachelors and masters programmes in academic research. Each university intakes anywhere between 6.000 and 30.000 students annually, altogether enrolling over 240.000 students every year. A bachelors programme at a research university (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees) lasts for three years, or the duration of 180 credits. The masters programmes last from one to two years and a PhD is generally a four year term.
Universities of Applied Sciences
On the other hand are 39 universities of applied sciences that focus on practice based learning and knowledge. A bachelors programme at a university of applied sciences lasts four years. Depending on the university, course and mode of study chosen, masters degrees last anywhere between one to two years. Each year 416.000 students are enrolled into professional programmes.
International Students in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is home to over 81.000 international students every year and although it has traditionally seen a lot of students coming in from other European countries, it is now becoming increasingly popular with Asian students as well. As of 2010, there are said to be around 5.400 Chinese students studying in the Netherlands and each year a new batch of 500 Indian students travel to the Netherlands to pursue a bachelors, masters or PhD programme.
Popular Programmes for International Students
The most popular programme for international students in the Netherlands is Economics. Engineering and cultural studies are also highly sought after. Like most European universities, Dutch universities also have a strong focus on social sciences. International students in the Netherlands choose subjects in behavior and society, language and culture etc.
Applying to Universities in the Netherlands
Each Dutch university has its own admission procedure and therefore there is no one solution that fits all. The best way to go about applying to the university is to contact them individually. There are a few common pointers that could be followed when choosing to study in the Netherlands:
Select the programme that you want to study
Look for the academic streams that you are interested in and list down potential universities that offer that programme. For making an informed choice, you may ask your questions on this website OR contact the university. Most of the universities have websites with up-to-date information.
Contact the university
Once you have narrowed down to a few universities, contact them individually, asking them all the questions that you may have. Inquire about all the documents that you will be required to submit for an application.
Submit your application
Ensure that you have gathered all the documents required by your university. If any of your documents are not in Dutch or English, get them translated. Along with all the necessary documents, fill your application form and send it by a reliable courier service to the university much before the last date of application.
If you have any other questions, do ask them below or in our forum.