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Degrees in the Netherlands

Feb 6, 2024

The Netherlands

Degree types in the Netherlands

Students who enroll in higher education programmes in the Netherlands will obtain a bachelors degree upon completion of the undergraduate phase, and a masters degree upon completion of the graduate phase.

Institutes for International Education offer masters programmes, but no bachelors programmes, as opposed to Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences who award both types of degrees.

Bachelor Degree in the Netherlands

A research university bachelors degree program in the Netherlands requires 3 years of study (180 credits). Graduates obtain a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (BA/BSc) degree, depending on the discipline. A bachelors degree programme offered by universities of applied sciences requires 4 years of study (240 credits). The degree indicates the field of study (for example, Bachelor of Engineering, B Eng).

Master Degree in the Netherlands

A research-oriented masters programme in the Netherlands requires 1, 2 or 3 years (60-180 credits) of study. Graduates obtain a Master of Arts or Master of Science (MA/MSc) degree. A masters degree awarded in the applied arts and sciences requires the completion of 60-120 credits. Graduates obtain a degree indicating the field of study (for example, Master of Architecture, M Arch).

PhD in the Netherlands

Research is carried out by research universities, research institutes and companies in the Netherlands. The research universities are the only institutions that can award PhD degrees in the Netherlands, but since research bodies normally work in close collaboration with the 14 research universities, they are also able to provide positions to PhD candidates.

Earning a PhD is a hands-on activity that involves very little course work so PhD students in the Netherlands start doing research from day one. Through work with their supervisors, students are able to develop their own ideas and priorities while performing their research. Research schools and graduate schools provide an inspiring research environment, offering tailor made study programmes, master classes, conferences and seminars.

Learn more about education in the Netherlands:



This country study guide was published in cooperation with the Dutch organization, Nuffic

About Nuffic

Nuffic is the Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education. Nuffic works to bring people together by connecting international students to Dutch universities. Nuffic’s motto is “Linking knowledge worldwide.” By enabling Dutch universities to share their knowledge with international students through a study abroad education, Nuffic not only links knowledge on a worldwide scale, but also connects people from many different countries.


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