Netherlands Plan your studies

Higher education

Types of higher education

  • Research universities
  • research-oriented education
  • Universities of applied sciences
  • higher professional education
  • Institutes for international education (IE)
  • advanced training and courses



Research universities

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc): 3 years.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA): 3 years.
  • Master of Science (MSc): 1-2 years.
  • Master of Arts (MA): 1-2 years.
  • Engineering Doctorate (EngD): 2 years.
  • PhD: 4 years.

Universities of applied sciences

  • Associate (Ad): 2 years.
  • Bachelor: 4 years.
  • Master: 1-2 years.

Institutes for international education

  • Master of Science (MSc): 1-2 years.
  • Master of Arts (MA): 1-2 years.
  • PhD: flexible duration.

Find your study programme

Dutch universities offer the largest number of English-taught programmes in continental Europe. More than 1.800 programmes are taught entirely in English. In order to find the right course, you can check the Studyfinder database of English-taught courses.

Useful information on accreditation is provided by the NVAO (The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders).


Registration via Studielink

Studielink is the common registration and enrolment application for all the Dutch public institutions of higher education.

Application deadlines

The registration deadline for most bachelor programmes is the 1st May. Note that some programmes have a selection procedure - numerus fixus - and an earlier application deadline (15th January!). Check the website of your university or studyfinder!

Main requirements

The main requirement for admission to a bachelor's degree programme is a secondary school/high school diploma (diplôme de fin d’études secondaires) at an appropriate level. This requirement is set by every institution!

In certain fields of study (e.g. psychology, medicine), the number of places is limited and quotas are set = numerus fixus. For studies in fine arts and music, institutions may set additional requirements.

Please check the admission requirements on Studyfinder to find out if you are eligible for a specific study programme.

Language requirements

It is essential that you have a good command of the English language. You must usually pass an English test (Toefl or IELTS test).  

Check the website of your university to see if you qualify for an exemption of the language requirement. 

Distance learning

In the Netherlands, you may find a few part-time courses in English as well as distance learning programs. The programs and study conditions may vary from one institution to another. These courses are mostly organized at master’s level.

The Open University is specifically dedicated to online education and research. The educational programme is structured in such a way that it enables you to study part-time.

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