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Language of instruction universities

From the 2016-2017 academic year, the VSNU has been taking an inventory of the languages in which degree programmes are being taught at universities in the Netherlands. This page brings together all information collected on the languages of instruction.

 

 

Thema's:

Dutch is the language of instruction in the majority of Bachelor's programmes

English-language Bachelor's programmes found primarily in the University Colleges and the technical sector

Both Dutch-taught programmes and English-taught programmes receive positive scores for student satisfaction

 

Language of instruction within a programme:
With regard to language of instruction, three categories have been defined. Dutch-language (NL) programmes are degree programmes that can be completed only by students who are proficient in Dutch. This does not preclude a portion of the courses from being taught in English or addressing literature written in English or another language. Dutch and English-language programmes (NL+ENG) are degree programmes in which students may choose between a variant of the programme taught in Dutch and a variant taught in English. English-language programmes (ENG) are degree programmes that are taught entirely in English. The languages of instruction were ascertained by requesting that information from the universities.

 

Dutch is the language of instruction in the majority of Bachelor's programmes


In the Bachelor's phase, the majority of degree programmes are taught in Dutch. For Master's programmes, however, the situation is different in that most of these are taught in English. The relationship between the annual enrolment figures is more or less the same: the majority of Bachelor's students are enrolled in a programme where Dutch is the language of instruction, while the majority of Master's students attend a programme taught in English. It is noteworthy that the programmes with both a variant taught in Dutch and a variant taught in English tend to be relatively large: a significant portion of all students attend such programmes.

 

 

 

English-language Bachelor's programmes found primarily in University Colleges and the technical sector


Most of the Bachelor's programmes taught in English fall under the Technical sector and Cross-Sector field (i.e. the University Colleges). The range of degree programmes with both a Dutch-taught and English-taught variant on offer is greatest within the Economics sector. In Master's programmes, English is the most common language of instruction in virtually all sectors. The Health and Law sectors have the highest occurrence of Master's programmes taught in Dutch.

 

The graph below compares the proportion of programmes taught in English (NL+ENG and ENG) to the share of international students enrolled in each sector. It is evident that, considering the percentage of programmes taught in English, the Behaviour and Society sector boasts relatively high international enrolment while international enrolment in the Engineering sector is relatively low.

 

 

 

Both Dutch-taught programmes and English-taught programmes receive positive scores for student satisfaction


Students indicate equal satisfaction regarding university degree programmes taught in Dutch and those taught in English. The teaching skills of lecturers in both types of programme also received equal – high – ratings. In degree programmes taught entirely in English, students rate the English-language proficiency of lecturers higher than that of lecturers in degree programmes taught in Dutch. Here, too, the score of 4.1 makes it clear that students are satisfied with the level.