Research Universities in the Netherlands

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Research universities focus on offering more research-oriented programs in an academic setting. Undergraduate degrees typically take three years to complete and usually do not include work experience.

In these universities students are expected to study a range of subjects before  specializing. Many of programs have a professional component and interestingly graduates often find work outside the research community.

Although Dutch research universities place a higher emphasis on academic study, it is often possible to get a student job alongside your studies. Your university might encourage you to do this, since it will allow you to get work experience before graduating, which is helpful for internships and post-graduate entry-level jobs.

The research universities vary in size with enrollments ranging from 6,000 to 30,000 students. Altogether they enroll roughly 240,000 students per year. Here’s the list:


Research Universities

Delft University of Technology

TU Delft places great emphasis on science and engineering, and its faculties include Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, and Maritime and Materials Engineering, among others.

Tilburg University

The Tilburg University specializes in social sciences and humanities, with faculties in Law, Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Theology.

Eindhoven University of Technology

The Eidenhoven University of Technology specializes in engineering science and technology, with an emphasis on translating results into real innovations that can be developed into new products, processes and businesses.

University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam is a large university with 30.000 students in seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. UvA offers 72 Master’s programs taught in English.

Erasmus University of Rotterdam

The Erasmus University of Rotterdam describes its core disciplines as health, wealth, governance and culture; and its principal task as “the generation and transfer of knowledge proceeding from a high degree of social engagement.”

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen offers programs in a full range of academic areas, including specialist faculties for Philosophy, Medical Science and Spatial Sciences. Groningen University offers 80 English-language Master’s programs and PhD programs, as well as 20 Bachelor’s programs.

Leiden University

Leiden Universitiy‘s faculties include Archaeology, Humanities, Medicine, Law, Social and Behavioral Science and Science.

University of Twente

The University of Twente has a focus on technology and behavioral and social sciences, a multidisciplinary approach that is designed to create scientific and social innovations.

Maastricht University

The Maastricht University has an international focus and specializes in three main areas: Life Sciences, Innovation and Governance. It also uses Problem-Based Learning, an education system focused on exchanging knowledge in a challenging and effective way. Maastricht is probably the most international Dutch university, as almost 45 per cent of its students are from abroad and most of its programs are taught in English.

Utrecht University

The Utrecht University is the highest-ranked university in the Netherlands and is in the top 15 in Europe. A leading research institution, it also has the widest range of English-language programs in the Netherlands (four Bachelor’s and 81 Master’s) and around 2.000 international students a year.

Open University

The Open University offers bachelor and master programs for distance learning, which is especially helpful for those who have trouble physically attending university, either through work or family responsibilities or disability.

Radboud University Nijmegen

The Radbound University Nijmegen has faculties in Law, Arts, Science, Social Sciences, Medical Sciences and Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, as well as the Nijmegen School of Management, and over 18.000 students.

VU University Amsterdam

VU University Amsterdam streams include Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World (technological and digital innovations) and Professional Services, which are designed to help students look beyond the boundaries of specific disciplines and make use of their knowledge beyond academics.

Wageningen University and Research Centre

The Wageningen University and Research Center is the only university in the Netherlands that specializes in researching the links between healthy food and the living environment. It does this by looking at climate change, unhealthy lifestyles, pressures on the natural environment and animal welfare. A small but growing university, it offers programs in Food, Earth and Environment, Technology, Health, Economics and Social Sciences, and Nature and Agriculture.


What’s Next?

Research Universities in the Netherlands

Application Procedures for Universities in the Netherlands

Tuition Fees for Universities in the Netherlands