The share of university student receiving a bachelor’s degree within 4 years has risen in the last few years. Women are graduating faster than men according to Statistics Netherlands. Graduation rates are rising for science disciplines in particular.
Nearly half (49 percent) of first year university students in study year 2007/’08 had received their bachelor’s degree within 4 years. This is 9 percent points more than students staring university in 2004/’05. One possible explanation for this improvement is the introduction of the binding study advice at Dutch universities. In addition, the bachelor-before-master rule may also have an effect in this respect.
The share of women receiving a bachelor’s degree within 4 years of starting university in 2007/’08 rose to 58 percent. This is 20 percent points more than the percentage of men. Although the difference between men and women has existed for a long time, it was 3 percent points smaller for students starting in 2007/’08 than for those starting in 2006/’07.
In the engineering, technical, construction, natural and information sciences in particular the graduation rates of students starting in 2007/’08 were significantly higher than those starting in previous years.
The percentage of graduates rose by most in health care and welfare disciplines: from 36 percent of students starting in 2004/’05 to 54 percent of those starting in 2007/’08. This is the result of the late introduction of the bachelor-master system in university medicine faculties. While many medical students starting in 2004/’05 started the old 4-year ‘doctoral’ programme, more and more first year students started the new 3-year bachelor programme, which is easier to complete within 4 years.