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Master's Degree in the Netherlands

A Master's degree in Netherlands moves beyond the foundational knowledge learned in undergraduate courses. The aim is to give students an expert knowledge in their field and prepare them for rigorous professional and academic work. Many programs are specialised. For example, a computer science undergraduate student may move on to security, information technology or software engineering.

What Is a Master's Degree?

In the Netherlands, Master’s programs require one to two years of study depending on the program and academic subject. Programs requiring an end project or dissertation will tend to take longer to complete. A Bachelor’s degree is a consistent requirement for Master’s programs. However, the undergraduate degree subject doesn’t necessarily have to line up with the Master’s focus. This will vary depending on the Master’s program and focus.

The expected course work and program elements vary greatly in accordance with the institution, program and subject. Despite this fact, students can expect to see these crucial elements in a Master’s program:

  • More Individualized Attention: Master’s degree programs are smaller overall. This means smaller class sizes and professor-to-student ratios. Master’s students can expect a greater degree of personalized attention from their educators.
  • Theoretical Knowledge: Students will move beyond the foundational knowledge of their undergraduate programs. In general, this means a closer examination of theories related to the field.
  • Advanced Research Procedure: Master’s students are expected to complete a deeper level of research independently and with groups. Some coursework will focus directly on the proper research methods in the students’ academic fields.
  • No General Requirements: Unlike undergraduate programs, Master’s programs don’t require general education classes to be completed. This allows students to focus all their academic time on their academic subject and complete the program faster.
  • Independent Project/Dissertation: Many Master’s programs require or encourage students to complete an independent project/dissertation. The results of their independent work is likely to be judged via a panel of educators and peers.

What Are the Benefits of Completing a Master's Degree?

The main benefit of completing a Master’s degree is developing advanced professional knowledge and skill sets. These serve to make graduates more competitive academically and professionally. Graduates gain:

  • Doctorate Program Groundwork: The Master’s degree is typically the final step in qualifying for a doctoral program. Additionally, students have the chance to develop their knowledge and skills in preparation for more rigorous coursework.
  • Specialist Expertise: Master’s degrees give students specialised knowledge of their field. For example, a computer science graduate might choose a software engineering focus. This prepares them for a more senior position in the software development realm of the tech sector.  
  • Increased Job Pool: A Master’s degree qualifies students for more jobs in and outside of their academic field. This results in an expanded set of opportunities for Master’s program graduates.
  • Higher Starting/Career Pay: In addition to qualifying for more positions, graduates typically qualify for better positions. This translates into higher initial pay. Additionally, with more advanced career trajectories, career salaries are also frequently higher.
  • Build Professional Network: Students have the opportunities to make professional contacts in their niches and industry. Professors, peers and mentors serve as the first point of professional contact for many budding professional networks.
  • Practical Understanding: During their master’s programs, many students are required to complete a certain amount of fieldwork. This serves as important professional experience on graduates’ resume.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master's Degree?

The type of career following a Master’s degree will depend on the students’ experience, grades, program and career goals. Many companies, especially in retail management, are happy to take motivated professionals with any master’s degree. These positions usually aren’t the first choice for graduates, but it provides captivating opportunities.

However, within the students’ field, a Master’s degree typically makes the difference between management/senior positions and on-the-line/junior positions. In some fields, a Master’s degree will be necessary to be competitive, even for entry-level posts. For example, educators beyond the secondary level typically have at least a Master’s degree.

A Master’s degree might be a stepping stone in your academic path or the end goal. Regardless, do not hesitate to start your search for the right degree program for you. The Netherlands has many widely respected Master’s programs at public and private universities. Whether you are a domestic or international student, you have many educational choices.