Popular Dutch university courses are heavily oversubscribed

University of Amsterdam buildings

Amsterdam university buildings in the city centre. Photo: nl.wikipedia

Universities with a fixed number of places for certain degree courses have been heavily oversubscribed, the Telegraaf reports on Monday.

Universities and hbo colleges currently have a selection process in place for 91 degrees and some 46,442 candidates are now competing for 19,608 places, the paper said.

The discrepancy is particularly big at the University of Rotterdam. ‘We have 2,300 students who want to study International Business Administration but only 575 places,’ programme director Adri Meijdam told the Telegraaf. Most candidates for this particular course come from abroad.

The hbo college programme Fashion & Textile Technologies in Amsterdam is also heavily subscribed, with 1290 candidates for 410 places, writes public broadcaster NOS. Aerospace engineering at Delft is popular as well, as is medicine at all universities.

‘It is a pain that many students can’t go on to do the degree of their choice,’ Desley van der Zande of student organisation ISO told NOS radio. ‘I would urge universities to consider increasing the number of students they are letting in.

In the Netherlands, places on over-subscribed courses are often allocated by a combination of school grades and a lottery. Lotteries are now being phased out and exam results and personal motivation are becoming increasingly important.