Enjoy high quality education
Higher education in Holland has a worldwide reputation for its high quality. This quality is guaranteed through a national system of regulation and quality assurance.
Dutch law (the Higher Education and Research Act) states that degree programmes offered by higher education institutions must be evaluated against a specific set of criteria, assessing the content and the level of the course.
Bachelor’s and master’s programmes that meet the criteria are accredited (i.e. officially recognised) by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
You will be awarded a recognised degree only after completing an accredited degree programme. This accreditation system was set up to guarantee that higher education programmes in Holland meet the highest standards.
PhDs and specialised courses
PhD programmes are not accredited by the NVAO: they are the responsibility of individual education institutions. This also applies to programmes and courses leading to a certificate or a diploma, which includes specialised courses.
The quality of specialised courses that are part of an accredited master’s programme is assured through the accreditation of the main programme. The quality of other types of courses is the responsibility of the institutions themselves.
The fact that a course has not been accredited does not mean that it does not meet quality criteria.
Institutions may also offer bachelor’s, master’s or other programmes that have been accredited in another country. In these cases, the degree may be recognised in that country, but not necessarily in Holland.
An example would be a master’s programme offered by a Dutch university of applied sciences that has been validated by an accredited British university that awards the degree.
In our Studyfinder database of international programmes and courses you can tell the accreditation status of each individual programme by the icons.
You can find an overview of all NVAO accredited programmes in the Central Register of Higher Education Programmes (CROHO).