Utrecht loses some of its Bachelor's students

Amsterdam and Rotterdam are magnets for Master’s students

Master open dag 2016, foto DUB
Master's Open Day in 2016. Photo: DUB

The University of Groningen awarded more than 5,000 Bachelor’s degrees last year. That’s 11 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees awarded by Dutch universities in 2023.

But by no means all these graduates continue their studies in Groningen. A significant proportion heads for universities in the west of the country. Groningen attracts only 8 percent of first-year Master’s students with a Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university.

When it comes to attracting Master’s students from elsewhere, the winners are Erasmus University Rotterdam, VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. These three exert more pulling power than one would expect based on the number of Bachelor’s degrees they award.

The same pattern applies to Dutch universities of technology. Twente and Eindhoven lose ground, while Delft gets more Master’s students.


Last September, Master’s programmes attracted around 35,000 new students who had obtained their Bachelor’s degree at a Dutch university. Yet over 47,000 Bachelor’s degrees were awarded in the last academic year.

So what happened to the other 12,000 students? Some take a gap year or opt not to pursue their studies at the Master’s level. Some international students return to their homeland for their Master’s. There are Dutch students who opt for a Master’s degree abroad too.


Only at the start of the academic year 2020, when the Covid pandemic restricted student opportunities, did the number of new Master’s students almost equal the number of Bachelor’s degrees awarded by Dutch universities.

It’s also worth remembering that almost 11,000 students from outside the Netherlands come here especially to take a Master’s degree. Of this group, 14 percent enrol at the University of Amsterdam, while a mere 2 percent opt for Radboud University Nijmegen.

Master's in Utrecht
A total of 4,400 students registered for Utrecht University's Master’s Open Day last Friday, February 9. During the event, students could get more information about more than 150 Master's programmes on offer. Of the 4,400 registered, 92 percent come from the Netherlands and the remaining 8 percent obtained their Bachelor's degree abroad. Of the ones coming from the Netherlands, 17 percent come from universities of applied sciences, half from UU, and 33 percent from other universities. Most interested parties come from Leiden, Nijmegen and the University of Amsterdam (UvA).