Study programmes

  • Bachelor programmes are often referred to undergraduate programmes. They generally require three years of full-time study.
  • Master programmes involve one or two years of study and continue to build on theory and research from the undergraduate programme.
  • PhD programmes, or doctoral degrees, involve three or four years of study and are largely research-based. (Hint: get one of these and your title becomes Dr.)

Find your style

Higher education in the Netherlands is divided into two groups: research-oriented universities and vocational universities or colleges of applied sciences. Research-based universities focus on independent thinking, whereas vocational institutes will get you ready for a specific career. Both offer Bachelor and Master programmes, but only research universities offer doctoral degree programmes. Here are some of the major ones:

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Globally renowned university, UvA is the largest university in the Netherlands. It has six Nobel laureates, including Tobias Asser (1911), who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as legal arbiter, among its alumni. It currently offers more than 100 study programmes in English.

“The UvA is the highest ranked Dutch university in the subject areas Social Sciences and Physical Sciences.”

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Literally translated as the “free university”, Vrije Universiteit is a modern campus with a large international student base that consistently shines in international rankings. Former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is among its graduates. It currently offers around 150 programmes in English.

“Vrije University consistently ranks in the top 200 universities in the world.”

Amsterdam University College (AUC)

AUC is a join initiative of UvA and VU which specialises in undergraduate programmes in liberal arts and sciences. With small classes and one-on-one tutorial sessions, it aims to hothouse young talent to shape future leaders. All programmes are in English.

Find a complete list of universities and colleges.