So you’ve received your Bachelor’s degree. Now what? Bachelor graduates wishing to get Master’s degrees increasingly leave for Wageningen and Rotterdam, rather than staying in Enschede, Groningen or Utrecht, or so the latest Master’s studies intake figures tell us. Amsterdam and Rotterdam continue to be popular with students, while Utrecht is seeing a lot of Bachelor graduates leave for greener pastures.

EUR ranked second in absolute numbers

The University of Amsterdam is most popular with Master’s students, with over 5,500 of them opting for Amsterdam last September. Erasmus University is ranked second, attracting over five thousand new Master’s students.

Delft boasted a notable increase in new Master’s students, attracting 25% more students than the previous year. The relatively small University of Twente also saw its Master’s student intake increase by a remarkable 33%. Nation-wide, the number of new Master’s students rose by more than 8 percent.

Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees were introduced in the Netherlands in 2002. One of the reasons why the new system was introduced was to encourage Bachelor’s students to better consider their follow-up options and possibly switch to different universities. As it happens, this is exactly what they are doing. As a result, there are large discrepancies between the number of Bachelor’s students universities produce and the number of new Master’s students they attract.

For instance, Erasmus University and Amsterdam VU University each awarded some 3,000 Bachelor’s degrees last year, whereas the University of Amsterdam awarded 4,300. None of these universities matched Utrecht University, which awarded a whopping 4,700 Bachelor’s degrees in 2015. However, last September’s Master’s student intake told a different story. The universities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam completely outscored Utrecht in terms of numbers of new Master’s students.

More Master’s students than Bachelor graduates

Of course, Dutch Master’s programmes also attract international students, and occasionally, graduates of universities of applied sciences will take up a Master’s degree, having first completed a transition course. As a result, the number of Master’s students studying in the Netherlands now exceeds the number of Bachelor degrees awarded by Dutch universities by 20 percent.

Of course, these figures can be used to determine how many students universities are losing or gaining. In theory, all Dutch universities should attract 20% more first-year Master’s students than their number of Bachelor graduates. In actual fact, though, several universities gained far fewer Master’s students than that, or even ended up with negative figures.