Study in the Netherlands - Fields of study, requirements, costs, reviews

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Studying abroad in the Netherlands is one of the most frequently chosen destinations by international students. According to data from NUFFIC – the Dutch organization for international education – about 2,000 students from Poland go there to study abroad every year (data from 2020), and the number of students interested in education in the Netherlands has been constantly increasing.

What attracts students to the country of tulips? Why is it worth studying in the Netherlands?

Universities in the Netherlands offer a very high level of education, they are at the top of the rankings – every year, there are more or less 5 Dutch universities that are in the TOP 100 best universities in the world!

Wybierając studia w Holandii, studenci często decydują się na uniwersytet w Amsterdamie

What is studying in the Netherlands like?

In the Netherlands, each university offers courses in English. The most acknowledged universities offer even 20-30 courses in English.

Arranging matters at the university without Dutch knowledge is also not a problem. English is widely spoken in the Netherlands – this refers to people of all ages. You can easily get along with everyone – with a person repairing bicycles, with a shop assistant or with an employee of the university.

Universities in the Netherlands can be divided into:

  • Research Universities, universities that are committed to research, they focus on theoretical and research-scientific preparation
  • Universities of Applied Sciences, they focus on the practical aspect and preparation for entering the labor market
Type of university
What majors are offered?
Example of an university
How long do studies last?
Research University
Psychology, Economics, Administration, Cultural Studies, Biology, Political Science
University of Amsterdam, Maastricht University, University of Groningen
3 years
Universities of Applied Sciences
Finance, International Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Physiotherapy, Marketing, Design and Art Studies
Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Fontys University of Applied Sciences
Usually 4 years

Undergraduate studies in the Netherlands last 3 or 4 years. The difference in time results from the fact that the Universities of Applied Sciences offer a mandatory one-year professional internship for students.

Aren’t you sure which type will be better for you and want to know which universities are chosen more often?

75% of students opt for Research Universities, while Universities of Applied Sciences are chosen by 25% of students every year – they are mostly picked for bachelor’s studies. For master’s studies, students primarily choose Research Universities.

The greater number of students in research studies is also related to the majors that students most often choose – the TOP 3 most popular fields of study are Economics, International Business, and Psychology.

Are you wondering whether you can study in Polish in the Netherlands?

Unfortunately, this is not possible – you can choose to study in Dutch, German and English. However, taking into account the interest of Polish students in studying in the Netherlands, there is a high chance that you will have contact with Polish-speaking students there.

Study in the Netherlands - Fields of study

The Netherlands offers undergraduate and graduate studies. After completing your studies in the Netherlands, you can obtain either a Bachelor (after undergraduate studies) or a Master (after graduate studies). Contrary to the uniform Master’s studies in Poland, you can apply for Master’s studies only if you already have a Bachelor’s degree!

There are numerous options for undergraduate studies in English offered in the Netherlands. The most popular destinations are:

  • International Business – annually, over 120 students start this course in the Netherlands
  • Economics – over 100 students start their economic studies every year
  • Psychology – over 100 students decide to study psychology in the Netherlands every year

What about the other majors?

Law studies are also popular in the Netherlands – here you can start your education at the Universities of Applied Sciences or Research Universities.

The most popular major among students is International Law, which can be studied in The Hague.

Young people are also attracted to the Netherlands by art studies – Design and music studies. Such majors are most common at Universities of Applied Sciences, and completing the undergraduate studies allows you to obtain the title of Bachelor of Arts.

Architectural studies are also very popular, but here the options are limited – Architecture (including interior design) can be studied at the bachelor’s level only at 3 universities:

Uczniowie w studiach w Holandii często szukają kierunków okołomedycznych


If you are interested in studying medicine, you may wonder if there are medical studies in English available in the Netherlands.

You can find medicine in English only at one university – Maastricht University – it is the most popular Dutch university among international students.

Undergraduate studies then last 3 years, you have classes only in English and after graduation, your title is Bachelor of Medicine.

However, bachelor’s studies do not allow you to practice medicine to the full extent. If you plan to continue your master’s medical studies in the Netherlands, you will need to know the Dutch language – all classes and internships in hospitals require fluent knowledge of this language.

Another option after a bachelor’s degree in medicine is to continue your studies in such fields of study as Epidemiology, Public Health or Health Sciences – you will find these majors in English at Master’s studies in the Netherlands.

Master’s studies abroad in the Netherlands

Master’s studies abroad are for many students a great solution, which complements their education in Poland.

Many students are surprised by the short duration of Master’s studies in the Netherlands. Studies there usually last 1 year (although there are 2-year courses as well).

The master’s degree offered in the Netherlands is specialized in the field strictly connected to our educational and professional path. During the studies, we explore theory closely related to a given area, e.g. neuropsychology, yet the emphasis is put also on practical classes.

Master’s degrees are available at Research Universities as well as Universities of Applied Sciences.

Master’s studies at the Applied Sciences university are often compared to postgraduate studies – the emphasis is on practical solutions in business or in the labor market in general.

A research university usually has higher recruitment requirements – attention is paid to the number of ECTS points earned in individual subjects.

Therefore, a Master’s degree at research universities is possible only after bachelor at research studies, not applied sciences.

If you have a degree from a university of applied sciences, you can apply for a Master’s degree at a research university, but you will need to do a Pre-Masters year first.

What is Pre-masters?

This is an additional year to prepare students interested in particular master’s studies, but who do not meet the requirements of the university – due to the diploma of applied sciences or due to the inadequate number of ECTS points in key subjects.

For example, linguistic studies at Radboud University require at least 30 ECTS in linguistics. When applying for such a course, the university first assesses whether the student meets the requirements – if not, it offers Pre-Masters.

Many students use this extra year to improve their skills and get to know the university.

Studia w Holandii dają możliwość łączenia zajęć z praktykami zawodowymi

Study in the Netherlands - Requirements

What is the most important in the application to the studies in the Netherlands?

Students should, along with the application for studies, have good final school exam results as well as good school grades – here the most important are grades in specific subjects.

Studying in the Netherlands is also not a problem for Polish students. It just must be taken into account that universities will look mostly at ECTS points from undergraduate studies when admitting to master’s studies.

How to start studying?

First of all, you need to send an application via Studielink – a system for applications for studies in the Netherlands.

Then the application goes to the second stage, i.e. application through the university’s internal systems, where all documents are attached and all the necessary information needed for recruitment is filled in.

To find out more about documents and criteria set by universities in the Netherlands, go to the HOW TO GET IN page.

    Chcę studiować w Holandii

    Study in the Netherlands - Costs

    Another important issue when choosing a country are the costs that students have to bear.

    Studying in the Netherlands costs 2209 euros (as of 2022), but it is worth remembering that for 1 year this cost is half as much!

    Studying in the Netherlands is therefore considered one of the cheapest and most accessible in terms of finances.

    The cost of living in the Netherlands varies between €600 and €1,100 per month (depending on the city).

    Can you get scholarships in the Netherlands? Of course you can!

    In the case of part-time work, you can apply for additional finances for living – free of charge if you are studying at the same time.

    More details on costs, loans and scholarships in the Netherlands can be found in the COSTS page.

    Studia w Holandii umożliwiają poznanie wielu osób z całego świata

    Study in the Netherlands - Reviews

    Accounting for all opportunities offered by studies in the Netherlands, what do students value most?

    1. High quality of education – Dutch universities are one of the best in the world. Classes are conducted at a high level, and lecturers are specialists in their fields.
    2. Opportunity to travel – The Netherlands is a small country located in central Europe. Students appreciate the opportunity to travel around the country and throughout Europe.
    3. International environment – ​​thanks to studying in the Netherlands you can meet people from all over the world!
    4. Openness – many students emphasize that they feel good living in the Netherlands, which results from the great openness of the Dutch to people from abroad.

    You can read more student opinions about the Netherlands on our blog.

    Application to study in the Netherlands with EduCat

    Have you read the article and want to apply to study in the Netherlands? Do you have any questions about the application?

    EduCat will help you with the application process to study abroad. Our Mentors support students at various stages of preparing for the application – whether you need help with the application system, issues before going to university or the entire process from start to finish. You can use all the support in one place – on the EduCat platform.

    In the meantime, write to us and we will try to answer all your questions and help you prepare for your studies abroad.

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