Six programmes even received zero stars in the guide. This means they were rates as poor by the guide’s standards. Contrary to these poor assessments, there are six programmes offered in Rotterdam that were rated as Top Programmes. These programmes are among the best in the Netherlands.

The Keuzegids is an independent annual publication that compares and rates programmes. The programme assessments are based on student evaluations from the National Student Survey (NSE) and expert assessments conducted by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). For the ratings published by the guide, the latter counts for twenty percent while the NSE counts for eighty percent.

The highest-rated master’s programmes are Arbeidsrecht (Labour Law) at the Erasmus School of Law (ESL) and the Philosophy and Economics research master, both awarded five stars and a score of eight-seven out of one hundred. The most poorly rated programmes are Health Care Management (Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management) with 38 points, and the Fiscaal Recht (Tax Law) master (ESL) with only 32 points and zero stars.

EUR also scored relatively low compared to other universities, with only the University of Amsterdam faring worse. “Students’ Criticism centres around inadequate supervision and problems with facilities”, explained a Keuzegids staff member. Erasmus University had already received a poor score in the Keuzegids for bachelor’s programmes released last spring.

Some reservations

An Erasmus University spokesperson stated the university was ‘proud of the programmes with a high ranking in the Keuzegids’. “But there’s no doubt we’re unhappy when a programme is given a relatively poor score.” They take the survey seriously and ‘continuously work on innovating and improving education’. EUR is also ‘working hard to create more and better study spaces’.

It should be noted that EUR also expressed some reservations regarding the guide’s methodology. “The Keuzegids magnifies minor differences. If you score 0 to 1 star in the guide, that doesn’t automatically mean the master’s programme was evaluated as poor or mediocre by students. If means that the assessments are lower than the national average. An additional factor is that the NSE survey was conducted in 2018, when the Polak Building was closed.” The spokesperson believes this led to the university’s low score for study facilities.

Keuzegids editor-in-chief Bas Belleman says that the scores are indeed relative. “We compare. A good example is the score for the ‘programme’. The average score is 3.86, (on a scale of 5, Ed.). All NSE scores under 3.18 receive three minuses. All scores above 4.27 are given two pluses.”

It still doesn’t detract from the fact that EUR scores lower than average. “A poorly rated programme would naturally say: we’re good, it’s just that the others are better. That’s fine, but I’m afraid that you’ve failed to appreciate what the differences are in how students and experts have evaluated education.”