University bachelors graduating more quickly

16/05/2012 15:00

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. Graduation rates are rising for science disciplines in particular.

Half of students have a bachelor’s degree within 4 years

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.

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree (full-time university and vwo diploma) by duration

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree (full-time university and vwo diploma) by duration

Women graduating faster

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.

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree within 4 years (full-time university and vwo diploma) by sex

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree within 4 years (full-time university and vwo diploma) by sex

Science students do better

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.

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree within 4 years (full-time university and vwo diploma) by discipline

Percentage of students with a bachelor’s degree within 4 years (full-time university and vwo diploma) by discipline

Kasper van der Heide and Sabine Gans