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Masters in the Netherlands

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The Netherlands, or more commonly known as Holland, is one of the leading study destinations in Europe. With more than 50 universities offering balanced education both in English and Dutch, the country welcomes more than 100,000 international students every year. But why should you, as a future Masters student, consider the idea of studying in Holland? Below you will find information about the application process, the admission requirements, tuition fees, funding and financing, accommodations and living costs, student life, health insurance and last but not least staying and finding a job after your studies!

What makes the Netherlands an attractive Masters destination?

Generally, you can choose to apply at either a research university or at one of the many universities of applied sciences. Whatever your choice is, you will benefit from a more practical approach towards your Masters studies, including more project work and real-world experience. Dutch universities are famous for their innovative teaching methods which emphasize on team projects, interaction with teachers and fellow students as well as sharing and respecting every opinion.

Additionally, courses from some popular subject areas such as Business & Economics,Engineering,Humanities and Social Sciences are usually taught entirely in English with only occasional use of Dutch. There are more than 2,100 programmes in English (more than in any other country in Europe, except UK and Ireland). Depending on your chosen area, you will be expected to complete 60, 120 or 180 credits within one, two or three years of study leading to a:

  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Science
  • Master of Architecture, Computer Sciences or other particular fields.

The Netherlands is a study destination for students from 160 different countries. Here is the place to meet and connect to young an ambitious people from all around the globe. Some of the biggest multinational companies are Dutch and they are the perfect place to start your international career in the Netherlands.

Accreditation

The high quality of education and excellent reputation of the Dutch universities is guaranteed by the NVAO – Netherlands and Flemish Accreditation Organization. Once every six years, the offered courses of each institution are thoroughly checked both in an academic context and within the need of the local economy and labor market. 

13 research universities appear in the top 200 of Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. In addition to that, all awarded degrees in the Netherlands are comparable and of similar standard as a result of the effects of the Bologna process. 

Admission requirements for Dutch universities

In most cases, the entry requirements are set by each university individually, which is why it is a good idea to conduct a small research for your desired courses. You should expect to find the following requirements:

  • Bachelors degree in the same or similar area in which you are applying for
  • IELTS, TOEFL or a Cambridge certificate, proving you have sufficient English skills
  • University language test for Dutch fluency (if the programme is in Dutch)
  • Curriculum Vitae with motivation letter
  • Application form (online or paper)
  • Reference
  • Visa (for non-EU and non-EEA students)

You should note that the language requirements are often viewed with high priority and university officials have set a minimum score of 6 for IELTS and 550 for TOEFL paper-based examination. 

Application process

There are many ways to apply for your desired Masters study programme in the Netherlands. For most Dutch universities, you can use the online portal Studielink and follow a simple step-by-step application process. Bear in mind that the 1st of May is the general application deadline for students from the EU at most higher education institutions. As for internationals, this date is at least a month earlier due to the different amount of documents required.

However, it is highly recommended that you look up more information on this topic and other important dates on the official university websites. For example, you might often find the 15th of January in the academic calendar as the most common application deadline for Masters courses with a selection procedure. Or you may even decide to apply for the spring/summer semester when you will have to prepare for more specific deadlines.

Tuition fees, funding and financing in the Netherlands

Dutch higher education is relatively affordable. The annual tuition fee for Masters students from the EU, EEA countries, Switzerland or Surinam is €2,060 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Internationals from other than these nationalities should expect a yearly payment in the range from €8,000 to €20,000 for their postgraduate studies. 

In terms of financing both your study and life in the Netherlands, there are various scholarship opportunities for students coming from all over the world. They are usually based on a study field and have certain requirements such as writing an essay or demonstrating high academic performance. Here are some popular examples offered by non-university institutions:

  • A-1 Auto Transport Scholarship
  • Holland Scholarship
  • Erasmus+

In addition, there is also the possibility to make use of the Dutch student finance system allowing you to loan some finance during your studies and repay after you have graduated. Of course, you can also find a job with the help of your university career center or specialized online websites. Working while studying will reward you both some extra money and experience, but you will have to think about your Dutch skills beforehand.

Accommodations and living costs for students in the Netherlands

Most universities offer their students accommodation on campus. Unfortunately the available spots are limited and you might need to find something off campus. Most students prefer to share an apartment or a house with other fellow students (usually up to 5) and pay €400 to €600 per person. All the universities have international student offices, where you will find help in finding your own place.

Of course you can take things into your own hands and look for a place on your own. There are plenty of websites that will help you, but we also advise to be very careful: Unfortunately there are some fake offers or people trying to scam you, and they often target international students.

One more channel to use is Facebook. You can find several groups with thousands of users offering and searching accommodations in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Groningen, Nijmegen, Tilburg, Leiden, Enschede, Maastricht and more.

If you need to rent a house or an apartment, you can always try to apply for financial help for your rent from the Dutch government. Conditions are to not exceed a certain income limit and to be an EU or EEA citizen. If you come from another country, you will need a valid residence permit.

The average cost of living in the Netherlands does not differ from the other European study destinations. Each month, you can expect to spend €180 to €250 on groceries, approximately €100 for transportation (if you do not use a bike), around €200 for new clothes and entertainment. In general, students spend no more than €1,200 in total each month, including the cost for accommodations and bills.

Student life in Holland

All across the Netherlands, the locals are very tolerant and accepting of other cultures. English is spoken everywhere so don’t hesitate to ask if you need any kind of help. Another cool thing is that in the major student cities there are international restaurants, so if you miss your national cuisine it is very likely that you will find a place to eat your favorite pierogi, moussaka, goulash, lasagna, etc.

There is always something happening near you. Cultural, sport, music or shopping events will fill up your calendar. Or maybe you prefer just to chill with your friend in the park – all Dutch cities are full with beautiful parks and green spaces, where you can recharge your batteries after a long day at the university.

Health insurances in the Netherlands

If you are an EU or EEA citizen your home country insurance might cover your standard and emergency health expenses while abroad, as long as you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you are coming from another country and/or you do not have and EHIC card or you also want an additional coverage, you can always visit any insurance company office and get your Dutch public healthcare insurance (zorgverzekering).

However, if you work or you do an internship, you are obliged to pay an insurance fee to the Dutch government. You will receive a letter in Dutch from the ”Zorginstituut Nederland” which will inform you about the mandatory Dutch Basic Healthcare Insurance. For more info and a translation of this letter in English you can check here.

Staying and finding a job after your studies

If you want to stay in the Netherlands after you finish your studies and you want to find a job you will need some pieces of advice and help.

  • First of all, you can start learning Dutch. Even if everybody speaks English it is considered an advantage to speak and understand Dutch. 
  • Second, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only a few means during your job search – use the government and non-government job websites. LinkedIn is widely used in the Netherlands, so don’t miss to create and update your profile there. 
  • Third, you can visit networking and workshop events to meet employers and to build up your own network. 

The Dutch government attracts a lot of international students and it works even harder to give them the opportunity to find a successful career and enrich its own market with their knowledge and skills.

You can find further information on the Dutch business culture, the Dutch recruitment principles, salaries, taxation and more here.

All in all, the Netherlands will welcome you with open arms if you decide to do your Masters there! If you want to find more information and choose between many Masters programmes, come to one of our MASTER AND MORE fairs near you and meet Dutch universities in person!

So… what do you think? Sounds like quite an adventure, right? If you don’t know what you want to study or where you want to study you can go on and check our search:

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