Language of instruction universities


From the 2016-2017 academic year, UNL has been taking an inventory of the languages in which degree programmes are being taught at universities in the Netherlands. This page brings together all information collected on the languages of instruction.

Categeories With regard to language of instruction, three categories have been defined.

Dutch-language programmes (NL) are degree programmes that can be completed only by students who are proficient in Dutch. This does not preclude a portion of the courses from being taught in English or addressing literature written in English or another language. 

Dutch and English-language programmes (NL+ENG) are degree programmes in a univeriy offers several variants of a program in which students choose for a Dutch or an English programme. 

English-language programmes (ENG) are degree programmes that are taught entirely in English. The languages of instruction were ascertained by requesting that information from the universities.

Dutch is the language of instruction in the majority of Bachelor's programmes

In the Bachelor's phase, the majority of degree programmes are taught in Dutch. English-taught Bachelor's programmes can mainly be found in the sector Engineering and Interdisciplinary (i.e. the University Colleges). Within the sector Economics, the rage of programmes with both a Dutch and an English variant is the largest.  

English is the most common language of instruction for almaost all sectors of the master's programmes. The sectors Health and Law have the highest occurrence of Dutch-taught Master's programmes.

International intake related to language of instruction

The instruction language request, in combination with data on international student intake, shows that the sector Behavior and Society has a relatively large international intake, while the sector engineering Technology has a relatively low international intake, also in view of the share of English-language programmes

The graph below shows the share of English-taught programmes (NL+ENG and ENG) within the range of programmes offered against the share of international intake.

Please note: data from the Open University are not included in the table below due to a different form of education.

Both Dutch-taught programmes and English-taught programmes receive positive scores for student satisfaction

Students indicate equal satisfaction regarding university degree programmes taught in Dutch and those taught in English. The teaching skills of lecturers in both types of programme also received equal – high – ratings. In degree programmes taught entirely in English, students rate the English-language proficiency of lecturers higher than that of lecturers in degree programmes taught in Dutch. Here, too, the score of 4.2 (on a scale form 1 to 5) makes it clear that students are satisfied with the level.