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Recognition and Accreditation

Dutch, German, Danish and Belgian universities have, through their internationally ranking, obtained a very good reputation and are comparable to UK higher education institutions in terms of their courses and facilities. For example, the NVAO (Netherlands and Flemish Accreditation Organisation) is responsible for recognising all degrees in The Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium. Responsibility for inspecting the quality of teaching at Flemish and Dutch universities lies with the Belgian and Dutch Ministry of Education. The Ministry checks all courses and publishes inspection reports. As such, you can be confident that the Flemish (Belgian) and Dutch higher education system is of a high standard.

The NVAO aims to increase the internationalisation of Flemish and Dutch degrees by improving the comparability of qualifications and increasing transparency of the degree subjects by checking its academic context. The NVAO also checks the degrees for their content relevance and whether the degrees are tuned in with the demands of the European labour market.

All degrees taught within the European Union should be of a similar standard, which is assured by the European Union's Bologna process. For example, UK students returning with a Flemish or Dutch degree should not have a problem with getting their degrees recognised. However, always check whether the English taught degree of your choice complies with the NVAO accreditation. A similar system applies to Danish and German universities.

Requirements and Ranking

There are two types of universities: Research universities and Applied Sciences universities. Research universities in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark perform well in many of the world's rankings of leading universities (published widely). Universities of Applied Sciences focus more on teaching and applied research and therefore do not feature in these rankings. Rankings of post-graduation employment prospects and student experience are available on their websites.

Institutions will differ in terms of their admission requirements. The main requirement for admission to a Bachelor's programme is a secondary-school diploma at the appropriate level. Foreign students must have a diploma judged equivalent to the minimum diploma required. For admission to a master's degree programme, applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent.

To ascertain admission criteria, the individual institution needs to be contacted. For England, many Dutch, Belgium, German and Danish research universities will require 3 A-levels for entering the Bachelor degree course. However, it is important to know that the selection process mainly takes place in the first year of the Bachelor degree course. Tuition fees are relatively low, the Dutch and Belgian governments apply the principle that everyone gets a chance to study at a university.

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