National Higher Education System

The Netherlands has two main types of higher education: Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences.

Universities focus on the independent practice of research-oriented work in an academic setting. Study is more text-book based though teaching is problem-based in several universities. Many of the universities include a University College, the faculty that offers the multi-disciplinary, US-inspired, Liberal Arts & Sciences programmes

Universities of Applied Sciences are more hand-on and practically-oriented, preparing students directly for specific career. Course content is less theoretical, and more applied, than at the research universities

Both the Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through English. The Netherlands is the country in mainland Europe that offers the highest number and range of undergraduate degree programmes taught through English.


The annual tuition fee is set by the Dutch state. For 2023/2024STUSY this 'statutory fee' is €2314. (There is a 50% discount for first year fees).

A small number of programmes (largely the Liberal Arts & Sciences programmes) charge a supplement to this statutory fee.

Grants & Loans

All EU students are entitled to a student loan from the Dutch state to cover the Tuition Fee. This needs to be repaid within 17 years of graduation. This loan covers the supplement charged by most (though not all) Liberal Arts & Sciences programme.

In addition, if a student has EU nationality and works part-time (14hrs pw), the Dutch government offers further grants /loans, towards living expenses. This is currently €921 pm.(2022) Contact EUNiCAS for our Dutch Student Finance Guide.

Application Process

There is a centralised registration (but not application system) in the Netherlands: Studielink. However, this system was designed for Dutch students rather than international students, for whom it can be a little unwieldy and confusing. This is where EUNICAS is particularly useful to applicants and their families, in simplifying the process for them.

In most cases, after registering on Studielink, students also need to actually apply to a programme on the university's own on-line portal, on which you upload your application documents. Different universities have different ways of handling your application thereafter: for example, some might call you to an interview.

EUNiCAS has a long experience with these systems and assists you in navigating them. If needed, we also help universities understand your qualifications and can reassure them that you meet the entry requirements for their programmes.

Application deadlines vary per programme: deadlines for programmes at the research universities are earlier (usually 15th January), for those programmes where the university has a 'numerus fixus selection procedure', than those programmes without such a procedure, where the deadline is usually 1st May. Deadlines for Universities of Applied Sciences tend to be even later. for most (but not all) programmes, these can be in July, or even August. Some of the University Colleges have February or March deadlines (and some later), for entry in September, though many University Colleges have a second intake early in the year, for which the application deadline is usually in November.