15 November 2017 | Category: Study choice

Quality of the degree programme

By Hermien Miltenburg

The degree programme quality matters. There are degree programmes that are very highly respected. There are also some degree programmes that don’t quite make the grade. How can you judge the quality of the degree programme that your son or daughter is considering?

students eat

What should you look for?

What should you look for to assess the quality of a degree programme? There are a number of matters that the prospective student and their parents can review. Some recommendations are: What do the students think of the degree programme? How many lecturers are there? Guidance and assistance, how is it arranged? How do the official inspection institutions for universities grade it? I delve further into these points later in this article.

The degree programme quality, what do the students think of  it?

In the National Student Survey, students provide their opinion on topics such as the content of their study programme. This year, roughly 700,000 students from 70 universities were invited to participate. 42.9% of them did. The conclusion: Students are satisfied. At universities of applied science, 80.3% of first-year students were satisfied with their degree programme in general. 84.9% of the first-year students at university gave their seal of approval. What do students think of their own degree programme? Each degree programme receives a mark. 1 means highly dissatisfied and 5 means very satisfied.

Are there many lecturers are there?

There are significant differences in lecturer/student ratios. There are universities where plenty of lecturers are available, while others have less. The NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders) looks into this and notes the quality of the education. Not all institutions are clear about the lecturer/student ratio. However, if you know that your son or daughter would benefit from some additional guidance and assistance, this is certainly an important question to ask at an Open Day. In general, there is more guidance and assistance available at a smaller institution than at a larger one.

Are the lecturers good and how often are students in contact with them?

Students also assess how good they think the lecturers are. Will they have study success? This can often be found at www.studiekeuze123.nl.Click on a degree programme and as you scroll through, you will find the student assessments. This gives a quick insight into the degree programme quality
It is also interesting to see how much contact time there is. These are the hours that the student actual spends “in class.” These can vary wildly. There are degree programmes with 8 contact hours per week and others with 35 contact hours per week. What suits the student best?

Guidance and assistance

Can a student easily contact their study adviser or study development counsellor? This is a really significant factor for a degree programme quality. The study adviser is the first point of contact if the student runs into a problem, if the degree programme is disappointing, or if it simply turns out to be too difficult. They can also make a recommendation if the degree programme is a bit too easy. Along with the study adviser, the student can expand on the degree programme or add some difficulty to it. The study adviser can also refer the student to the student dean. Are the student deans easy to reach? This is important for every student, but especially important if they have an impairment or disability. Compare the options. There are significant differences between universities.

degree programme quality

The degree programme quality according to…

The degree programme quality is also assessed by official institutions. In the Dutch world of education, Elsevier and the Keuzegids (Guide to Higher Education) are the leading institutions. I previously wrote an article about the Keuzegids. The Keuzegids is also a handy tool for comparing degree programmes, especially. The guide provides a complete overview ranked by category. Many prospective students and parents find it useful to review all the information in such a layout. In secondary school, these guides are often available in paper or digital format. Of course, you can simply purchase them as well.
A word of warning, though: even though an institution is highly regarded, a student has to feel at home there. The degree programme and the institution have to be a good fit. However, if the university programme that your son or daughter has selected is well respected, then they are certainly in luck. It is definitely quite nice and reassuring to graduate from a top university. Degree programme quality is well tracked everywhere by the inspection organisation (NVAO).

By Hermien Miltenburg

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