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Back to the dossier After the State Examination NT2

After the State Examination NT2

About the MBO programmes, HBO programmes and university programmes

You have earned the Diploma State Examination NT2: congratulations! The diploma is not only proof of your Dutch language proficiency for yourself, it also allows you to follow an educational programme in the Netherlands. To gain access to a programme, you must be able to demonstrate that you can read, listen to, write and speak Dutch at the B1 level (for MBO) or at the B2 level (for HBO and university programmes). You may want to study but not yet know which programme, or you might find the Dutch education system a bit complicated. Here we give an overview of the various possibilities and some useful websites where you can find more information.

With the Diploma State Examination NT2, you can enrol in one of the many programmes in the Netherlands.

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 >


Read more about the admission requirements for HBO programmes and university programmes on the website >

Finding a program

Would you like to study in the Netherlands, but do not yet know which programme? There are some useful websites that help you to make a study choice:


  • On the website, you will find a complete overview of all MBO programmes. The website also provides information about the places in the Netherlands where the programmes can be followed. You can also read more about the various professions that you can practice with an MBO education.
  • The website is intended for people who want to orient themselves for an HBO or university degree. You can compare courses, read more about the difference between HBO and university, and find information about student financing.