The bachelor-before-master rule means that students may only enrol for a master’s programme if they have completed their bachelor’s degree. Without a bachelor’s degree a student may not start a master’s degree. The government introduced this rule to reduce the time it took students to complete their bachelor’s degree.
The Higher Education Act was amended in 2011, among other things to include this regulation. Starting in study year 2012/’13 the bachelor-before-master rule was introduced at all Dutch universities. A number universities have been applying it for a number of years now. The effects are probably already noticeable in the figures. In the old situation, students were permitted to start a master’s programme before having completed a bachelor’s programme.