The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, NVAO assesses the internal quality assurance of the research universities and the universities of applied science and the quality of their programmes. This is done at both educational and institutional level. Below you will find an overview of all procedures.

Procedure listing

Accreditation of existing programme

The programme accreditation system covers Associate Degree, Bachelor’s, and (post-graduate) Master’s programmes in the professional higher education and academic higher education sectors in the Netherlands.

Initial Accreditation

Institutions that are recognised by the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture are eligible for initial accreditation of their programmes.

Institutional audit

An institutional audit is a periodic, external, and independent assessment of the internal quality assurance in place at an institution. Internal quality assurance comprises both the quality culture and the internal quality assurance system of an ...

Special feature small-scale and intensive education

With the special feature small-scale and intensive education the higher education institution can get permission of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science for selection of students and increasing the legal tuition fees.

Quality Agreements

The Quality Agreements are assessed by NVAO. They pertain to the study advance funds allocated to institutions for the improvement of the quality of education.


The associate degree programme (ad) is an higher education programme at European Qualifications Framework level 5 and not a business training.

Recognition of new higher education institution (legal entity providing higher education)

Organisations wishing to provide recognised education need to be recognised as a legal entity providing higher education. A legal entity providing higher education is a legal body with full legal rights, which has been authorised by the Dutch Mini...


Dutch higher education programmes can present itself by applying for a special feature. A panel of experts will review the special characteristic independently or during the assessment of an existing or new programme. NVAO decides on whether or no...

Special feature sustainable higher education

Dutch higher education programmes can present itself in the field of sustainability by applying for a special feature. A panel of experts will review the special characteristic independently or during the assessment of an existing or new programme...

Joint Degree - Joint Programme NL

Under the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes, a single quality assessment constitutes sufficient basis for obtaining accreditation in all the nations of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) in which programme accredit...

Name Change Programme

A higher education programme can request a name change via NVAO (Wet kwaliteit in verscheidenheid hoger onderwijs).

Research Master’s programmes

Research Master’s programmes are academic master’s programmes preparing students for conducting research in a PhD trajectory or another research-related position. Apart from the regular accreditation framework, such programmes are subject to addit...

Transnational education (programmes abroad)

Dutch higher education institutions may provide programmes abroad (transnational education) (Dutch Bulletin of Acts, Orders, and Decrees 2018-152). Following approval, they may confer Dutch degrees upon completion of such programmes abroad.

Broadened programmes (planning-neutral conversion)

Dutch higher education institutions may amalgamate two or more programmes registered on the Central Register of Higher Education Programmes (CROHO) into a single new, broad-based programme. NVAO assesses the amalgamation into a single new, broad-...
All procedures Flanders

Decisions and reports


Appeal procedure

In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.

More information