The Netherlands


Until recently, very few British students decided to study in the Netherlands. The last few years have seen more people attracted to their excellent research universities and universities of applied sciences.

There are many reasons why you might consider studying a postgraduate course in Holland but the most important is probably tuition fees.

For 2015-16 Dutch tuition fees are€1,951 (£1,010) per year. This is significantly cheaper than English postgraduate fees which are almost always more expensive. Because of the current lack of funding for postgraduate students in England, many students are faced with a dilemma when considering the value of a postgraduate qualification. After amassing considerable debt as an undergraduate it is often impossible to fund a higher degree.

In the Netherlands there are around 850 Masters programmes taught in English. You can search for degrees fully taught in English in our database on this website. A complete list can be found at

The Netherlands is a highly outward-looking country and its economy is perhaps the most international in Europe. Knowledge of English is so good that it is possible to survive almost entirely in the English language (and watch BBC television without paying the license fee).

Accreditation and Recognition


Dutch universities have a general reputation for well-designed, modern courses and facilities but who accredits their qualifications? Since 2002 the NVAO (Netherlands and Flemish Accreditation Organisation) has been responsible for recognising all degrees in The Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium. Every course is checked thoroughly upon its introduction and then once again every six years. As a result, you can rest assured that the quality of Dutch higher education is checked regularly and is expected to maintain a high standard.

The NVAO checks not only academic context of Dutch degrees but also their real-life relevance and compatibility with the needs of the local economy. The NVAO also aims to increase the international mobility of students with Dutch degrees by improving the comparability of qualifications and maximising the transparency of the subjects studied.

As a result of the European Union’s Bologna process all degrees taught within the European Union should be of a notionally similar standard so there should not be issues with Dutch degrees for students who wish to return to the UK upon graduation.

We are not aware of any courses taught in English that do not have NVAO accreditation but it is always worth checking.

University Inspections and Quality Control

Responsibility for inspecting the quality of teaching at Dutch universities lies with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap). The Ministry checks all courses at regular intervals and inspection reports are published regularly.


Dutch research universities perform well in many of the world’s rankings of leading universities and the general trend is upwards. Indeed, all 13 research universities are in the Top 225 in the world according to the Times Higher Education rankings. The most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings) places three Dutch universities in the world's top 100 universities. This ranking focuses purely on research strength.

Dutch students tend to choose universities based more on the overall reputation of the university with employers, within its local community and amongst fellow students. Rankings of post-graduation employment prospects and student experience are widely available.

Universities in Netherlands