The Netherlands, with its relaxing scenery, makes an excellent option for students who want to take their studies in a tranquil place. But besides the environment, its liberal reputation and location present many educational, cultural, and career opportunities for students, even after university years.

Aside from that, Dutch universities are also government-subsidized, making them quite affordable and worth it. Many courses are also taught in English. Thus, even when you are not fluent in Dutch, getting a degree in the country is possible.

This article will cover necessary documents, language exams, and application procedures if you plan to apply for a bachelor’s in the Netherlands. Specific university requirements and procedures will also be given as examples. Let’s take a look at the details of applying for a bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands!

Bachelor’s Degree Admission Requirements

One of the most crucial steps in college applications is gathering requirements. These are some of the main requirements to apply for a bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands. Be reminded that while needed documents may vary per university, most of them will typically require the following: copy of passport; diploma (highest educational level); academic transcripts; proof of language proficiency; curriculum vitae and resume; letter of motivation; letter of reference.

Specific programs may require your documents to be in a particular language, usually English or Dutch. If yours are not in these languages, nor are they in French, German, or Spanish, you may need a certified translator.

Those without a diploma yet may submit written proof that your graduation will be held before the start of your program. It may be a formal statement from your secondary education institution.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Undergraduate Studies

Dutch universities may ask you to present proof of language proficiency in English or Dutch. This is a major requirement for applicants who wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands.

For Utrecht University, IELTS is the preferred test for English fluency. The minimum score required for IELTS is 6.0 overall band, with 5.5 for writing. They may also accept TOEFL, although institutional scores are not accepted. Cambridge certificates are also valid. You might be exempted from submitting test scores if you had high school in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and South Africa. You may also be waived if you have an International Baccalaureate Diploma or a European Baccalaureate Diploma.

The University of Amsterdam requires applicants who want to study undergraduate programs in the Netherlands to present sufficient English language proficiency. You may comply with this by finishing secondary education in an eligible country, having a Baccalaureate diploma (European or International) or a French Diplôme du Baccalauréat Général, or submitting an approved English language proficiency test scores. This institution accepts IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency test results.

The University of Groningen accepts IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge Assessment English exams, and English language test results from their Language Centre as proof of English proficiency. If you cannot meet the minimum score or do not have the results yet, you may be admitted conditionally.

Universiteit Leiden only accepts IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English exams for English proficiency. For Dutch proficiency, all faculties (except for the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Medicine) accept the Dutch TUL advanced exam from the Academic Language Center. They may also accept CNAvT Educatief Startbekwaam or Educatief Professionel results.

Bachelor’s Degree Application Process

Universities may have unique phases in their application procedure, but you can opt to follow this general scheme:

Step 1. Review Program Requirements and Deadlines

Universities may outline general requirements, but programs may also ask you to comply with specific conditions or documents to apply. Some may also have language proficiencies you need to meet. Thus, you must decide on programs you would like to pursue and review their requirements individually.

The College of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Utrecht University requires you to have a diploma equivalent with Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry being required subjects. For instance, applicants from the USA must have at least four Advanced Placements, scoring at least 3 for each. These must include AP Calculus AB, AP Physics 1, and AP Chemistry.

Meanwhile, the University of Amsterdam has four selective programs that may require you to take a test, present a study and a financial plan, and undergo an interview. These programs are Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, and Psychology. These programs may require you to undergo all those additional procedures or only some. There may also be a minimum GPA the program requires from you.

Fixed quota programs from the University of Groningen also have additional selection procedures. They may take place as a test, essay, letter of motivation, or anything the Faculty may require.

It is also essential to remember the deadlines per university and program. Some institutions may implement earlier deadlines for international students. Others may also allow scholarship applications only by a specific date.

Step 2. Prepare the Necessary Documents

Collect all the documents needed by your program.

For Chinese students applying to Utrecht University need to have a Nuffic Certificate to be deemed eligible for a visa and enroll in a program.

Several faculties of the University of Groningen ask applicants to submit an official curriculum outline or course descriptions of relevant subjects they have taken or are about to complete. This requirement may be waived if certain qualifications are met.

Step 3. Apply for Studielink

Studielink is a database for registration and keeping track of all students in higher education institutions in the Netherlands. Some universities, like Utrecht University, may ask you to apply for your program through Studielink but submit documents and payment through another application system.

In creating a Studielink account, the personal information you enter must match those in your identification cards. You may have to provide your educational background and the programs you are applying for.

An email with your student number may be sent after your request. You must note your student number as it will be important during your correspondence with Dutch institutions.

Step 4. Submit Documents and Pay Fees

Submission of documents and payment of fees is often made through a separate online application system from the university itself. You may receive an invitation email from the institution after enrolling for Studielink.

Step 5. Await Decision

After submission, the university will evaluate your application. You may keep posted through their websites for application results. If your application is approved, you may consult with the institution for admission and enrollment procedures. Then, it’s time for you to prepare for studying undergraduate programs in the Netherlands!


We hope that this article on Study Bachelor’s in the Netherlands was helpful. Feel free to check out the Available Programs for International Students and learn more about studying in Europe.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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