Binding Study Advice

What is the binding study advice?

In accordance with the Dutch Higher Education Act, all students receive a binding study advice (BSA) at the end of the first year of study; this is the university’s decision with regard to a student’s continuation of the degree programme. The BSA is applicable to bachelor students only; (pre)master students do not receive a study advice. Students who are registered for more than one bachelor programme receive a study advice for each respective programme.

As such, all first year bachelor students at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) receive a binding study advice. At the end of the academic year, the student’s study results are checked against the stipulated standard and a positive or negative study advice is issued as a result. Having received a positive BSA, the student may continue to the second year of study. A negative BSA equals a rejection for the degree programme. Consequentially, the student must quit the programme and is not allowed to register for this particular programme for three subsequent academic years. These rules are included in Section 12 of the Teaching and Examination Regulations Bachelor Programmes ESHCC.

The standard

After the first year of study, bachelor students ought to meet the standard as stipulated. At the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication the following standard applies:

At the end of the first year of study of the degree programme, the student ought to have successfully completed all BA-1 programme components and obtained all credits. The total amount of credits obtained must thus equal 60 EC.

Students’ study results are assessed in August and only after application of the Compensation Regulation. This means students are allowed to compensate for two insufficient grades (at least 5,0) with courses graded with at least 7,0 and worth the same amount of credits. The compensation rule will only be applied once the student met all other requirements of the BA-1 programme, with the exception of the courses that qualify for compensation.

Students who deregister for the degree programme before 1 February during their first year of study do not receive a binding study advice. They may recommence the bachelor programme in the following academic year and the BSA will be issued at the end of that (second) year.

Personal circumstances

If a first-year student experiences serious personal circumstances that strongly influence their study results, issuing the BSA may be postponed to the next academic year. The student should then meet the set standard one year later. These exceptions are made exclusively under serious circumstances (e.g. illness, pregnancy, family issues or board membership) and only after consultation with the counselling student advisor.

Students who feel this applies to them should inform the student advisor as soon as possible and at least within four weeks after the particular circumstances arise.

The procedure

Throughout the academic year, the school monitors all BA-1 students’ study progress and sends out reports with concern to their results and the implications for their upcoming BSA. These updates are communicated per e-mail to student accounts.

Interim advice

During the first year of study, students receive an interim binding study advice three times; after the examinations of terms 1, 2 and 3 respectively. These interim advices serve as warning signals to students with an impending negative BSA. Students whose study results are found lacking are strongly advised to discuss their study progress with the student advisor or to quit the programme.  

The definitive BSA

In early August, after processing all course grades and the application of the Compensation Regulation, the total number of obtained credits for each student is calculated and held against the standard as stipulated. Then, taking into account any personal circumstances reported, either a positive (60 EC), negative (0-55 EC), or postponed binding study advice is issued.

Rejection and legal position

If a student has obtained too few credits and no valid personal circumstances apply, a negative binding study advice is issued. The student is offered the opportunity to present their view on the situation to the ESHCC Examination Board (in writing or in person) before the decree becomes effective, for example when they feel the rejection is unjust. The Examination Board then takes this point of view into consideration in coming to a final decision to either uphold the negative study advice or to issue a positive advice on the basis of the hardship clause after all. Instructions for this procedure are included in the BSA letter that students receive in August and the student advisors are available for consultation.

Response to intended negative binding study advice

Students who are informed of an impending negative binding study advice in early August and consider this advice unjust are offered the opportunity to be heard with concern to the impending advice. This is strictly limited to the correction of obvious mistakes and the reporting of serious personal circumstances which the student was unable to report before the advice was issued.

If this applies to you, please follow the following instructions:

The response to the negative binding study advice must be submitted through OSIRIS/My Cases within a few days upon receiving the official BSA letter (via email) in early August (the deadline is specified in the BSA letter). Fill out the request form Submit response to negative Binding Study Advice in OSIRIS and indicate there whether you prefer to submit a written response or present your point of view in person.

If you prefer to submit a written response, you ought to upload the documents listed below:

  1. A letter to the Examination Board in which you clearly argue why the negative study advice is unjust and what you will change in the upcoming year;
  2.  An up-to-date study progress overview from OSIRIS (screenshots suffice)
  3. A schematic study plan for the remainder of the programme;
  4. If applicable: supporting documentation

If you prefer to explain your point of view in person, please check this option on the form. You then ought to upload:

  1. An up-to-date study progress overview from OSIRIS (screenshots suffice)
  2. A schematic study plan for the remainder of the programme;
  3. If applicable: supporting documentation

You will be invited to appear at a formal hearing by the Examination Board at very short notice.  In principle, hearings are scheduled during the week directly after receiving the Binding Study Advice.

Please make sure to submit everything on time and to provide a solid argumentation for your suitability for the programme. The Examination Board will notify you of their final decision with regard to your binding study advice as soon as possible and at least before the end of August.

Finally, students are entitled to lodge a written appeal with the Board of Appeals for Examinations  of the Erasmus University in case a negative BSA is maintained. The BSA letter informs students with regard to the period of appeal and contact information for the Board of Appeals for Examinations. The procedure and information regarding students’ legal rights can be found in the Students’ Charter of the Erasmus University.



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