Study in the Netherlands: Admission Cycle, Process, Deadlines, Requirements

Netherlands is a country that should be on the top of your list if you are thinking of studying abroad as applying to universities in Netherlands is a pretty hassle-free process. To study in the Netherlands, students need to ensure that they have the following in place.

  • Visa Requirements
  • Academic Requirements
  • Program Specific Requirements
  • Health Cover
  • Proof of Funds

As of 2017, more than 122,000 students have been enrolled in more than 162 Dutch owing to the fact their admission process is uncomplicated. Other reason for this is the fact that there are plenty of scholarships to study in the Netherlands for international students.

Study in the Netherlands: Admission Cycle

A thorough knowledge of the admission cycle to study in the Netherlands is a mandate for applying to Dutch universities. Once a student obtains the entire knowledge about the admission cycle, he will get adequate amount of time to prepare the documents, visa, flight tickets and so on.

  • Students should obtain detailed information from the concerned department of the university about the complete process.
  • Students should make a note of the university deadlines to study in Netherlands so that they do not miss out on the same.
  • After the student equips himself with the knowledge of the applicaton process, he can then start preparing for standardized English tests.

Universities in the Netherlands for international students have two intake seasons – September and February.

Academic year duration in Netherlands: September – May/June (Next year)

In case of certain Dutch universities, enrollments take place throughout the year.

Apply to Universities in the Netherlands: Admission Process

Ways through which students can apply to study in the Netherlands are:

Apply on the university website

  • In case of some universities in the Netherlands for international students, students have the option of applying directly on the university website.
  • Notable examples include: Leiden University, Gronigen and Hanze UAS

Apply through common portal

  • The common online enrollment system through which universities in the Netherlands accept applications is called Studielink.
  • Notable examples include: The Hague University, Inholland University and NHTV Breda University
  • Students aspiring to study in the universities in Netherlands, need to make an account at Studielink, provide the required documents and pay the fee that is required.
  • If a student is rejected by one university he has the option of applying at the other before the deadline ends.

Students who wish to study in the Netherlands can join Numerus Fixus a degree course lottery system that is managed by the Dutch government. While most programmes are taught in Dutch there are courses that are available in English as well. They include:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • International Business Administration

When to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands?

It is an imperative to understand as to when you need to apply at the university of your choice so that you don’t miss out on the important dates. Important dates to apply at the universities in the Netherlands are as follows.

  • Application deadline date for most courses: May, 1
  • In case of some universities in the Netherlands the dates are around February, 1 – March, 1
  • For Numerus Fixes the deadline is January, 15

Requirements to Study in the Netherlands

Study in the Netherlands: English Language Requirements

For students who wish to study in the Netherlands it is a pre-requisite to have a complete command over English language. They should be able to read, speak and write fluently in English. 

The common English language tests accepted at the universities in the Netherlands are IELTS, TOEFL and Cambridge Proficiency Test

Scores Accepted

TestScore Accepted
IELTSBand of 6.0
TOEFL550 (Paper Based) & 213 (Internet Based)
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English169-172

General Requirements to Study in the Netherlands 

In order to be able to study at a Dutch university, a student needs to have the following:

  • Copy of ID card and Passport
  • Copies of all academic transcripts
  • Statement in English answering “Why would you like to study at this university?” in 700-800 words
  • Receipt of payment of application fee (USD 56.98)
  • Proof of language proficiency

In case of some Dutch universities they may also ask for:

  • Motivation letter
  • Resume
  • Academic work

Visa Requirements to Study in the Netherlands

In order to procure a visa to study in the Netherlands, a student needs to have the following documentation in place. 

  • A valid passport with the copy of the photo page
  • Completed MVV form
  • Proof of financial capability to study in the Netherlands (A student needs to have a minimum amount of USD 1160 per month in his bank account)
  • Letter of acceptance from a university in the Netherlands

How to Apply to Universities in the Netherlands?

Once a student has made sure that all his documents are in place, he can follow the steps mentioned below to apply to universities in the Netherlands.

Choose a Course and University

Netherlands is one of the most preferred international destinations for study as the country is home to some of the best universities in the world. 13 universities in the Netherlands rank under 200 in the Times Higher Education Rankings.  With an international student population of 122,000 as of 2017, it has been observed that the most popular courses in the Netherlands for study are in the fields of engineering and management.

Best Universities in the Netherlands with Rankings

UniversityTimes Higher Education Ranking (2018)
University of Amsterdam#62
Delft University of Technology#58
Erasmus University Rotterdam#70
Wageningen University & Research#59
Leiden University#68
Utrecht University#74
University of Groningen#79

Popular Courses to Study in the Netherlands The below-mentioned fields of study are extremely popular amongst international students studying in the Netherlands.

Field of StudyNumber of International Enrollments
Economics and Business15,556
Humanities and Social Sciences2,494
Engineering5,545
Science2,106
Art and Health Care5,226
Agriculture and Environmental Science808
Education1,592

Apply Online

After a student has made a note of the universities and the courses he wishes to apply to, he can either send applications through the common admission portal, i.e. Studielink or apply directly to the university. Students are advised to fill in their application form after reading it carefully so as to avoid making any mistakes. Application fee needs to be submitted when applying.

Application Processing

Processing time for applications sent to the universities in the Netherlands is usually 3-4 weeks. By the time universities respond to applications students can start arranging their finances and look at the scholarship options available to them.

Offer Acceptance

If everything falls into place, the student will receive a letter of acceptance from the university. Students need to ensure that they respond within a period of 10 days else they will not be admitted into the university. Accepting an offer includes:

  • Applying for accommodation options
  • Planning the subject and course
  • Paying the tuition fee for first semester

Prepare to go

Before leaving the home country international students needs to make sure that they have all their documents in place. They are advised to get the following details properly before leaving the home country.

  • Financial details
  • Accommodation details
  • Location details
  • Details of orientation
  • Details of program

In a nutshell, before applying to universities in the Netherlands, students need to have a thorough understanding of the requirements, dates and the process. This needs to be done so that student does not miss out on any detail.

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