The law mentions ‘Bachelor’s level’, says the student. So what does it matter whether you obtain the credits at a university of applied sciences (HBO level) or a research university? His track record contains 144 HBO credits that he collected at various universities. According to him, this is equivalent to almost the entire university degree programme in Public Administration Science at Leiden University.


As far as the student is concerned, he will start writing his thesis right away. He says that this will demonstrate he is able to ‘work and think at an academic level’.

The Board of Examiners of the programme in Public Administration Science thinks he’s moving a tad too fast. It believes that there is, in fact, a difference in level between HBO and university education. And the University of Leiden’s Examination Appeals Board agrees.

At a research university, Bachelor’s students must meet different demands: “There is a difference in level between the university Bachelor’s degree and the HBO Bachelor’s degree, which is expressed in the final attainment levels”, says the Examination Appeals Board (CBE), which deals with matters that cannot be resolved between students and the Board of Examiners.

Council of State

The CBE also points out that there is jurisprudence stating that students must receive a considerable portion of the education at their own programme department. And then there’s the issue that 144 assorted credits have too little overlap with the Public Administration Science programme.

The student appealed to the Council of State, only to be rejected there as well. The judges have not called a full hearing of the case and do not wish to discuss the difference in level. What they do say, is this: a general rule for Public Administration Science is that a student cannot apply for an exemption greater than thirty credits.


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