MBO, HBO and university: what’s the difference?
In the Netherlands, you can continue your studies after passing high school examinations at the three levels:
- Secondary vocational education (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs, MBO) Is the lowest level. An MBO programme trains people for a practical profession, such as hairdresser, cook or auto mechanic. Most MBO programmes are offered by Regional Training Centres (‘Regionale Opleidingcentra’; ROCs). In addition, there are other institutions offering MBO programmes.
- Higher vocational education (hoger beroepsonderwijs, HBO) is the middle level. An HBO programme trains people for higher positions in government or in business, such as a nurse, accountant or architectural engineer. You follow HBO programmes at a college.
- Scientific education (wetenschappelijk onderwijs, WO) is the highest level. You follow a WO programme at a university. At the university, you can be trained for professions like a doctor or a lawyer, but also for a career in science.
No automatic access to a programme with the Diploma State Examination NT2
Most Dutch programmes accept the Diploma State Examination NT2 as proof of sufficient mastery of Dutch. However, some programmes set additional admission requirements. These additional requirements may include, for example, what pre-education you have taken or which subjects you followed in secondary school. It is therefore wise to inquire with the programme where you would like to enrol whether your Diploma State Examination NT2 is sufficient for admission.
Read more about the admission requirements for MBO programmes on the website Rijksoverheid.nl >
Read more about the admission requirements for HBO programmes and university programmes on the website Rijksoverheid.nl >