This means that pupils and students always have the possibility to switch from one level to another. This is a very important advantage for foreign students in the case of a difficult start.
Dutch pupils can be prepared to entering universities by graduating of the secondary school with the following degrees:
senior general (HAVO) - 5 years;
pre-university (VWO) - 6 years
After secondary education, graduates move on higher education that includes:
higher professional education (HBO) lasts 3- 4 years culminating with a Bachelor diploma;
university education (WO) lasts 4- 5 years and results in Master degree
There are 3 main types of universities:
Universities of Applied Sciences known in Dutch as hogescholen, Research Universities training students for the independent practice of science and International Universities offering programmes for foreign students
At Universities of Applied Sciences Bachelor programmes are often given for 4 years. Then students can follow professional Master programmes in 1 - 1.5 years.
The Research Universities offer a 3 year Bachelor programmes which consequently can be preceded with a Master programme taking another 1- 2 years depending of the study field.
Institutions for International education (IE) offer advanced training and courses in a wide range of fields. Most of these are part of a research university. The students can follow 1 - 2 years Master programmes and Phd programmes
The Dutch government is attempting to make Dutch higher education as accessible as possible to students from other countries.
The Dutch government is even cooperative in a financial sense. Higher education is heavily subsidized in the Netherlands, which means that tuition fees can be kept relatively low, especially compared with countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Universities diplomas in the Netherlands
Dutch diplomas are internationally recognized and indicate an excellent start for an international career. Coming to study in the Netherlands students can follow education given in Dutch within the national curriculum framework and international programmes taught in English.