Dutch educational system
All Dutch universities, including the Open University, offer bachelor programmes which take 3 years or 180 ECTS credits. It is possible that after the first year or 60 ECTS credits there is an separate examination: the propedeuse. All the bachelor programmes of the Open University have such propedeuses. Following each bachelor programme there is at least one Master programme. Generally the Master programmes are one year or 60 ECTS credits. All master programmes in science and technology are two years or 120 ECTS credits.
In general a foregoing academic bachelor’s degree is needed for admission to a Master programme. Under certain conditions, however, admission is possible with another degree, especially a Bachelor degree of the professional education.
The programmes of the Hoger beroepsonderwijs are 4 years or 240 ECTS credits. The vocational and adult education is not a part of higher education in the Netherlands and is not further mentioned here.
Description of the national higher education awards structure
After passing a Bachelor programme of a university a student receives the degree of bachelor of arts or of science. The discipline is also mentioned, e.g. in Mathematics.
After passing a Master programme of a university a student receives the degree of master of arts or of science. Here the discipline is mentioned too. Persons with a Master degree are also allowed to use the old academic title doctorandus (drs.) unless their field is engineering, in which case the title is ingenieur (ir.), or law, in which case the title is meester (mr.).
After passing the final examination of the professional education a student receives the degree of bachelor. Persons with a Bachelor degree are also allowed to use the title of baccalaureus (bc.) unless their field is engineering, agriculture and natural environment, in which case the title is ingenieur (ing.).
The introduction of the Bachelor/Master system in the European Higher Education is the result of a joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education, also referred to as the Bologna declaration. Its aim is to construct a European Higher Education Area that will aid the overall development of the European continent by increasing mobility and employability of its citizens. The European Higher Education Area will consist of educational systems in the European member states that are comparable and internationally competitive.
Bachelor / Master at Erasmus University
In line with this European effort, Erasmus University Rotterdam has made changes to its system of education as well. EUR switched from the Dutch educational system to the Bachelor/Master system as used in many countries around the world. Under the new system, university students will first take a three-year Bachelor programme (the undergraduate), leading to a Bachelor degree. After the Bachelor, students can enter a Master programme (the graduate), leading to a Master degree.
The EUR Bachelor programmes started in September 2002. The main language of these programmes is Dutch, except for the Bachelor International Business Administration. Almost all programmes will adopt a major/minor system in their third year. Several minors will be taught in English. The new Master Programmes started in September 2003 and some in September 2004. Because Erasmus University Rotterdam aims to be an attractive university for foreign students, many Master programmes will be taught in English. A Master programme takes at least one year.