National Higher Education System
The Netherlands has two main types of higher education: Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences.
Universities focus on the independent practice of research-oriented work in an academic or professional setting. Many of the universities include a University College, the faculty that offers the multi-disciplinary, US-inspired, Liberal Arts & Sciences programmes
Universities of Applied Sciences are more practically-oriented, preparing students directly for specific career. Course content is less theoretical, and more applied, than at the research universities
Both the Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through English. The Netherlands is the country in mainland Europe that offers the highest number and range of undergraduate degree programmes taught through English.
The annual tuition fee is set by the Dutch state. For 2017/2018 this fee is €2006. A small number of programmes (largely the Liberal Arts & Sciences programmes) charge a supplement to this fee.
Grants & Loans
All EU students are entitled to a student loan from the Dutch state to cover the Tuition Fee. This needs to be repaid within 35 years of graduation. This loan covers the supplement charged by most (though not all) Liberal Arts & Sciences programme.
In addition, if a student has EU nationality and works part-time, the Dutch government offers further grants or loans. Contact EUNiCAS for our Dutch Student Finance Guide.
There is a centralised application system in the Netherlands: Studielink. However, this system was designed for Dutch students rather than international students, for whom it can be a little unwieldy and confusing.
In some cases, some programmes in a given university use the system whilst others don’t. Where the system is used, you usually need to register with the system and register separately with the univesity's own on-line portal, on which you upload your application documents. Different universities have different ways of handling your application thereafter: for example, some might call you to an interview.
Application deadlines vary per programme: deadlines for programmes at the research universities are earlier (usually 15th January), for those programmes where the university has a 'decentralised selection procedure', than those progrmmes without such a procedure, where the deadline is usually 1st May. Deadlines for Universities of Applied Sciences tend to be even later. for most (but not all) prograrmmes, these can be inJuly, or even August. Some of the University Colleges have February or March deadlines (and some later), for entry in September, though many University Colleges have a second intake early in the year, for which the application deadline is in November.