Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands

Welcome to Lesson Two of the All About the Netherlands course. We’re going to dig a little deeper into universities of applied science in this lesson. We’re going to look at their admissions requirements, their educational approach, and the offerings of each of the schools.

Slide 1: All About Netherlands – Lesson 2: University of Applied Science

Welcome to Lesson Two of the All About the Netherlands course. We're going to dig a little deeper into universities of applied science in this lesson. We're going to look at their admissions requirements, their educational approach, and the offerings of each of the schools. 

Slide 2: The Norm at UAS

  • Four year programs don’t have VWO (AP/IB) requirement
  • Some programs have 3 year option, if you do have VWO equivalent
  • Rarely, but sometimes, there are 3 but not 4 year programs (VWO needed)

So, the norm at universities of applied sciences are four year programs. Here's the great thing; the four year programs will require HAVO equivalents. So the admissions requirements is a high school diploma, no AP classes required, no SATs, no ACTs, none of that. Some schools will offer three year programs which do require a VWO, meaning that there are APs needed. But 95% of the time, it's that one program has a four year and a three year option. So students who have the HAVO equivalents would take four years and the VWO would be more of a fast track program finishing sooner. It's rare, but it does occur that a university of applied science will offer a program that only offers a three year program. So if you don't have the VWO equivalents, make sure you look out for that when you're looking at programs at universities of applied science. 

Slide 3: Unique Benefits of UAS

  • Employment
  • Access to Graduate Schools
  • Different, not subpar

So a lot of times, it's common to think that because the admissions requirements are not as difficult, it must not be as good of a program. So let's look at some possible reasoning errors around this, while also exploring some of the unique benefits of the Dutch universities of applied science. First of all, because the admissions requirements are lower than Dutch research university, prestige might be something that you worry about. There are a couple things I want to touch on here. 

The first is just a reminder that a regular high school diploma, which is a requirement for Dutch universities of applied science, is the same as the majority of your universities in Europe. There are only about 300 programs out of the more than 1,700 English-taught programs in Europe that do have an AP or IB or a year of college requirement. Having those extra requirements is not the norm. The norm is this, this UAS requirement. 

The other thing I want to explore is why prestige matters to us. For me, the main thing I think about is that prestige might matter for future opportunities, whether it's graduate school or employment. 

  • Employment

So let's talk about employment first, because this is where UAS universities have an advantage over research universities. Preparing students for future employment is how these programs are structured. They're teaching students the skills and knowledge they're going to need in the workplace, and internships are almost always a required part of the program. 

Dutch universities of applied science go a bit further, they develop their programs by collaborating with businesses. This is to make sure that the program's graduate students are actually filling a need in the field. This is also important because the accreditation of the Dutch universities of applied science programs, it's partially based on the employment rate of their graduates. Of course, these collaborations with businesses also help with students getting internships and job offers after graduating. 

  • Access to Graduate Schools

In terms of accessing graduate school, the thing to remember here is that these are full bachelor's degree programs. So they meet the degree-related requirements of graduate schools. There are master's degree programs at universities of applied science in the Netherlands, which graduates can attend. And of course, they're also eligible for master's degree programs around the world. 

The catch is whether these programs have admissions requirements that pertain to courses around research. This is not often the case with US universities, since most of their applicants are coming from schools in the US, where students could very well graduate without those research-based classes. The place where this creates the biggest obstacle is when you apply to a research university in the Netherlands. But even this is not insurmountable. It requires about a year of bridge courses in which you study those areas that you're missing. You know, you take the stats, you take the research methods; those courses that are offered at research universities in the Netherlands, but not the universities of applied sciences. 

  • Different, not subpar

The other area tied to prestige is sort of an academic snobbery of sorts. This sort of thing exists in some form in most countries. In the US, people might have preconceptions about students who started at community college or go to sort of a second tier state school. In some countries, there's this type of view about universities of applied sciences. In Germany, for instance, it's definitely seen as second tier by those who go to non-universities of applied sciences. There's a lot less of this around universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. It's seen as a different educational approach as opposed to subpar. One thing that speaks to this is that the three year programs at universities of applied sciences are specifically there for students who would meet the admissions requirements of research universities, yet still choose to study at a university of applied science.

We’ve talked to administrators at research universities about whether there's a big stratification between the two. While they note that their students at the research universities gain incredible theoretical knowledge, the interns from universities of applied sciences can just blow them out of the water in terms of practical knowledge, and jumping into the internship with the skills that they need. 

So we're going to now look at the offerings of each specific university of applied science. You might want to have your map. It was in the downloads in the intro. For this, I'm going to do my best to describe where the school is on the map. When I say something's at B, I mean that it's between B and C. 

Slide 4: Aeres UAS

  • Dronten
  • International Food Business
  • European Food Business
  • €7,029/year

For instance, let's look at Aeres, which you'll see is around B-5.75. So if you look at that, you'll see how I'm going to be describing where these are. 

So most of the English-taught programs at the school are around Food Business. And what's really interesting is that for the European Food Business program, students spend a semester in both France and Italy. Nice, sign me up. And for the International Food Business, they spend a year in Canada,  which is pretty cool. 

Slide 5: Amsterdam UAS

  • 5% international students
  • Amsterdam Fashion Institute
  • International Business
  • Physiotherapy
  • International Sports, Business, and Management
  • €8,471 – €9,471/year

So Amsterdam is around C-5 on your map. It's only 5% international, but it's a big school. So 5% equals about 2,000 international students. Their International Business program, it has a three year option. And the International Sports Management and Business is an interesting option. In the first two years, you learn about specific sports, and event management and planning and project management. Also, in the second year, there's a 10 week international internship. And this includes things like somebody was setting up and managing the social media presence for the World Rowing Federation in Switzerland, somebody else assisted in creating a local sports league in South Africa, somebody else coordinated sales activities for Nike in Dubai. I mean, those all sound really cool. And then your three and four concentrate totally on business and management around sports. Students choose a minor, complete another internship, which is 18 weeks, and they do a graduation project. So often, I'll get kids who come to me who are really interested in sports, but don't know kind of what they want to study, and this is something that I often guide them towards. 

Slide 6: Avans UAS

  • Breda and Tilburg
  • 5% international students
  • Finance and Control
  • Industrial Engineering and Management
  • International Business
  • Environmental Science for Sustainable Energy and Technology
  • €8,198/year

So Breda is right around — it's just north of E-4.75 on your map. And something that's interesting here is their Environmental Science for Sustainable Energy and Technology program because it's interesting to look at how science programs look at a university of applied science versus a research university. 

So for this program, the first year has courses in science related to chemistry, biology, and physics. And then there are project courses that put these areas to practical use, like a water quality project. There's one in carbon management and one in air quality. The second year has classes and projects. But the classes themselves are more specific, like soil science and climate change and sustainable development and eco toxicology, which I don't even really know what that is. The third year includes a half a year internship. And the rest of the year is focused on the environmental consultation specialization. They also choose a minor and can study abroad, and then complete a graduation project in the fourth year. So there's some cool opportunities here. 

Slide 7: Fontys UAS

  • Eindhoven, Venlo, Tilburg
  • 10% international students
  • Circus and Performing Arts
  • International Lifestyle Studies
  • €10,430/year

So then we have Fontys. Eindhoven is at E 5.5. Venlo is just east of that and Tilburg is around D 5. They have a higher international student population than the others we've looked at so far. As you can see, they have a Circus and Performing Arts program, which surprisingly is not the only one in the country. I didn't know in the pastthat there were bachelor's degree programs on circus!

But the one I want to highlight is the International Lifestyle Studies program. This one is really interesting for students who don't think they're interested in business, don't really know what they want to study, and define themselves as liking typical teen stuff. It looks at lifestyles, sports and exercise, health, food, work and leisure, appearance, fashion, home and personal environment, and it looks at this for different groups of people. And then they learn how to research mentality trends and learn about the lifestyle sectors and develop trend reports or concepts that would work for each sector. It's almost like a practical-based anthropology course.

Slide 8: HAN UAS

  • Nijmegen and Arnhem
  • 10% international students
  • Engineering and Science focus
  • €7,399-8,798/year

So HAN is around D-6. As you can see, it's really, really close to the German border. So there's an engineering and science focus here. They have life sciences. And so there's theory, but there's a lot more lab techniques as a hands-on, in addition to mandatory internships. And in chemistry, you see more of a practical application of this as they're learning how to test for contaminants, or monitor the composition of baby food. So again, it's more practical than just the research. 

Slide 9: Hanze UAS

  • Groningen
  • 8% international students
  • Game Design
  • Physiotherapy
  • International Business
  • €7,900/year

So Hanze Groningen, I have to tell you, it's right around A-6.75. And it is a member favorite city, and such a great city. This school offers a wide variety of programs and a number of different departments. And we have members who are there and pleased with both the Game Design program and the Physiotherapy program. And we have a few others who have applied for 2019 for the International Business program, which has a three and four year option. 

Slide 10: HU UAS

  • Utrecht
  • 3% international students
  • Creative Business
  • International Business
  • Teacher Education in English
  • €8,547/year

Okay, this Utrecht — I know I am mangling these city names, and just please forgive me on that. It's just north of D-5. They're one of just a few schools that offer teacher education. But the problem is this particular one is just about teaching English as a second language. I don't know if that's a problem. It's just a limitation. But the other thing to consider here at this school is the international student population. If you're interested in this school, I suggest that you look at the resources and such that they offer. We'll get into a little bit more of that in Student Life. 

Slide 11: HZ UAS

  • Vlissingen
  • 10% international students
  • Water Management
  • Delta Management
  • General Water Management
  • Aquatic Ecotechnology
  • €7,835/year

So I'm not even going to try to pronounce this city name, but it's right around E-3.5. Right on the water. So it's a good place for programs like the Water Management and Delta Management programs. Both of these start with General Water Management. And then you choose either Delta Management or Aquatic Ecotechnology. And so, not only are these examples of an applied type of science, but they're also merging interest areas. We have, you know, environmental science, we have biology, technology, urban development. And it also shows how research is done in sort of a more applied and practical way. 

So for the Water Management program — focused on Aquatic Ecotechnology. You work with environmental chemistry, and you're looking at substances which have entered the environment as a result of human activities. Things like the effects of blue green algae on animal life and climate change. And they also look at how people adjust to the environmental changes, like rising water levels, and they look at ecological solutions to those problems. 

In the Delta Management program, students are actually commissioned by a European municipality that's prone to make it more resistant to the effects of climate change. This includes an assessment of the social, economic, political, legal and cultural aspects of the problem. And then, later on in the program, they focus on the Mississippi Delta, and create a strategic plan for specific areas to improve the safety, while keeping a focus on nature. 

Slide 12: Inholland UAS

  • Haarlem, Hague, Diemen, Delft
  • Creative Business 
  • €8,388/year

So Inholland, this is a school that's right on the outskirts of Amsterdam. And the Creative Business program jere focuses on initiating, creating, and selling media concepts, products and applications, be it in television, film, radio, events, music, online media and gaming. 

Slide 13: Breda UAS

  • Breda
  • Creative Media and Game Technologies
  • €9,950/year

Okay, this school Breda is at D-4.75 on your map. I feel like I'm playing Battleship here. Most of these programs have a three year fast track option. One program that's interesting here is the Creative Media and Game Technologies program, where students learn how to make interesting, attractive and playable games. They're trained in creative, technological and commercial skills. And they have study paths where you can mix and match or stick with one around 3D visual arts, programming, design and production, which is pretty cool, a cool way to customize. 

Slide 14: Rotterdam UAS

  • Rotterdam
  • Arts programs
  • International Business programs
  • €8,495/year

Rotterdam. Okay. So this is right around D-4.75 also. So we're going to talk a little bit about their arts programs later because there's a dual degree option at a research university. So they do have a lot of strong arts programs. And then their business programs, what I like about them is it doesn't just say "international business," they really do have an emphasis on the international piece of things, be that learning about languages, culture, and other aspects of that.

Slide 15: Saxion UAS

  • Deventer & Enschede
  • Physiotherapy
  • €7,800/year

So Saxion, this city starts at about C 6 with Apeldoorn, and then they go east from there. And this is one of the higher international student populations, one of the Physiotherapy programs, which, you know, there are only a handful of them. And then, they also have different types of business, engineering, and computer science, as you can see. 

Slide 16: NHL Stenden UAS

  • Leeuwarden, Emmen, Groningen, Meppel
  • Tourism Management
  • International Teacher Education
  • €8,350/year

NHL Stenden. So this is around A-5.75. What happened is there was NHL and there was Stenden, and they just recently in the past — I think in the past two years — merged into one. So they have the highest international student population of the universities of applied science. And they have a Tourism Management program that I think is really exciting. Students in this program choose a specialty in their third year, which can be taken at one of the international campuses, which are in South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Qatar. So examples are there's a community-based Tourism program that you do in Thailand for your minor or International Destination Branding in Qatar. Really cool options there. The other thing to note is their International Teacher Education. It's not limited to languages, like we talked about before. You can choose primary or secondary education. And you do eight week internships each year, which really prepares you for the field. 

Slide 17: The Hague UAS

  • 11% international students
  • Safety and Security Management Studies
  • €8,475/year

So The Hague University of Applied Science is at D-4.5.One thing I like about them is that they have more humanities and social science type programs than some of the other universities of applied science. They also have some programs though that are only offered as three year programs, which means you would have to have VWO equivalents. One program I want to point out is the Safety and Security Management Studies program. It's four years. So HAVO equivalents is all you need. 

And what's cool is, again, it's an example of these interdisciplinary studies. In the first year, students take international law, criminology, psychology, economics, policymaking, business administration. And then in the second year, they focus more on public safety, international security and industrial safety. And then the third year, they start really applying that knowledge themselves. Like there are classes that cover the practicalities of change management, media and communications and cybersecurity, minors around applied intelligence, terrorism and counterterrorism, advanced criminology. And then, to really apply it, they take on an advisory role, consulting with companies on their current safety and security issues. And that's separate from the internship that they do in year four. So it's a good amount of different types of hands-on experience. 

Slide 18: VHL UAS

  • Velp, Leeuwarden
  • Applied Animal Science
  • €9,000/year

So this is around D-6 on the map, though it's not on there listed. That's where Velp is. The International Business program is held in Leeuwarden, which is way north at A-5.75. So what's interesting here, and this is a school I recommend a good bit for students who are interested in animal science but don't have VWO equivalents, because they do have an Applied Animal Science program, which does focus on nutrition, immunology and diagnostics, disease control, animal welfare, and many other topics related to animals. 

Slide 19: Windesheim UAS

  • Zwolle
  • Global Project and Change Management
  • International Business
  • €7,500/year

So this school — where am I? Okay, B 6.25. So there's a program at Erasmus University Rotterdam, which we'll get to when we talk about research universities, and it's really popular with our members. And it's very similar to this program, which is the Global Project and Change Management. You're going to learn business and project management skills, and how to learn those skills on societal problems, whether they're human rights, global health, social responsibility, global warming, sustainability. So again, it would be interesting if that's something that appeals to you to compare that program to the one at Erasmus and see how they're similar and different. We're going to talk more about that at the end of Lesson Four. So I'm getting ahead of myself. We're Lesson Three. Okay. 

Slide 20: Wittenborg UAS

  • Apeldoorn
  • 89% international students
  • Private school – all in English
  • €8,900-9,800/year

So, this is an interesting school. I didn't list most of the private schools. There are only a handful of private schools in the Netherlands. I am telling you about this one. It's the only private university of applied science. All of their courses are taught in English. So it's 89% international. And unlike some of the other private schools, it still has prices that are reasonable, you know, and comparable to the other schools in the Netherlands. 

Slide 21: Zuyd UAS

  • Maastricht
  • 11% international students
  • European Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Arts
  • €8,200-11,200/year

Maastricht is in a really cool part of the country, in sort of a pocket in the south west corner. It borders Belgium and it’s actually quicker to get to the airport in Brussels than Amsterdam! There are a couple of interesting interdisciplinary options here. Oh, it's at F-6, by the way. A couple of the interesting interdisciplinary options are European Studies, which combines political science, international relations, history, culture, language, European law. And then there's also an Interdisciplinary Arts program, but it's only a three year program, so you'd need VWO there. 

Slide 22: Artez

  • Zwolle, Arnhem, Enschede
  • 18.7% international students
  • €9,700/year

The rest of the schools are arts-focused. The rest of the schools in this lesson that are universities of applied science are arts-focused. Many of them are really, really competitive with an audition and portfolio process. I've also found that there are less resources for the general life of international students than you'll find in the larger research universities. That might be different here, because as you can see, it's an 18.7% international student population, which is particularly high. 

Slide 23: Codarts Rotterdam

  • 2% international students
  • Dance
  • World Music
  • Circus
  • €8,792/year

Here is another one with that circus option, though they have a very low international student population. Some of these schools, these art schools offer very specific programs, like some of these here, but then others are more broad. 

Slide 24: HKU University of the Arts

  • Utrecht
  • Fine Art
  • Carillon
  • Historical Performance
  • Music
  • €9,864/year

And then, again, international student population is a good thing to look at. 

Slide 25: Amsterdam University of the Arts

  • Amsterdam
  • 29% international students
  • Choreography
  • Modern Theatre
  • Dance
  • Music
  • €5,261/year

This one is really high also, which may correlate with international student resources. 

So those are the universities of applied science.The next lesson, we're going to go through the research universities in the same way that we went through these. See you then.