Studies structure in the Netherlands
The higher education system in the Nederlands covers university education and higher vocational education, at 13 universities and 56 higher vocational schools (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO) respectively, as well as at the Open University established in 1984, which conducts education over distance. Moreover, there are 58 approved institutions, which are regulated by the Higher Education Act but are not financed by the state.
Students need to pay for part of the tuition, but they receive benefits from the states for the studying fees and other financial assistance.
The university study programmes focus on the areas of knowledge, where the academic degrees are awarded. Liberal arts are not part of the curriculum even at the first few years of study.
Within particular courses of study, students have some freedom to determine individual course of study. Similarly, after receiving approval of the appropriate examination board, students may choose their subjects directly connected with the academic degree, from among different units of study, which the university offers.
University studies end with the exam for the doctoraal degree (four years). There are courses of studies, where the education lasts longer, such as: medicine, pharmacy, veterinary surgery (six years), dentistry, philosophy in a given discipline, some of the engineering and agricultural studies, which students graduate with engineering diploma (five years).
Studies regarding with specific professions need to cover practical classes. It regards doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons, architects and pharmacists.
Students, who pass the doctoraal exam, have the right to use the following academic titles: ingenieur, doctorandus or meester. The title ingenieur is used by the graduates of technical and agricultural universities, whereas doctorandus by the graduates of other univeristyes, whereas meester by the graduates of law.
The HBOs offer education within particular professions in many areas, such as: education, economy, foreign languages and culture, engineering and technology, agriculture and natural environment and healthcare. The HBOs do not award the doctor title and they do not allow for the possibility of doctoral thesis. They award only one academic degree after four years of study. Graduates receive the baccalaureus title, whereas the technical and agricultural graduates the ingenieur title. The degree authorises to further post-graduate studies as well as doctoral work.
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