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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 additional requirements. Research Master’s programmes carry 120 ECs and are open to student selection.

General info

Research Master’s programmes are academic master’s programmes preparing students for conducting research in a PhD trajectory or another research-related position. The research orientation of the programme may be substantiated in several ways. Programmes may focus on a specific research theme or cover a wide research spectrum.

Universities are free to select students for enrolment in a Research Master’s programme. Under Article 7.4a, fifth paragraph, of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW), the statutory workload of a Research Master’s programme is 120 ECs. The programmes can be identified by their name, in which the designation of the discipline is followed by “research”.

Additional criteria

Research master’s programmes must meet a number of additional criteria, supplementary to the regular assessment framework. These criteria pertain to the research-oriented nature of the programme and the research context within which the master’s programme is being taught. During an external assessment procedure, a Research Master’s programme is reviewed on the basis of the Specification of Additional Criteria for Research Master’s Programmes dated 30 May 2016. The criteria are explicitly addressed in the panel report.

The additional criteria are also taken into consideration in the initial accreditation of Research Master’s programmes. A university that has been granted initial accreditation of a new programme by NVAO must still apply to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science for approval of the extended statutory course duration.

Validity

The accreditation of a Research Master’s programme is valid for an indefinite period of time, as is that of other master’s programmes. The programme must be assessed every six years.

NVAO will process reports on the external assessment of existing Research Master’s programmes within three months. Applications for the initial accreditation of a Research Master’s programme will be processed within six months. NVAO decisions are open to internal and external appeal procedures.

Steps

1

APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL OF ASSESSMENT PANEL

When applying for approval of the panel composition, the institution must indicate clearly that the assessment involves a Research Master’s program...
When applying for approval of the panel composition, the institution must indicate clearly that the assessment involves a Research Master’s programme. The panel reviewing a Research Master’s programme must meet several additional requirements. The panel members are academically authoritative researchers who are familiar with and experienced in research-oriented educational pathways. Most of the Research Master’s programmes have been grouped in separate clusters.
2

PREPARATION FOR ASSESSMENT

In order to prepare for the assessment, the panel takes note of the additional requirements to be met by Research Master’s programmes. NVAO offers ...
In order to prepare for the assessment, the panel takes note of the additional requirements to be met by Research Master’s programmes. NVAO offers to explain the additional criteria to the panel and the institution in order to further clarify the specific nature of the assessment of Research Master’s programmes.
3

ASSESSMENT

The panel conducts its assessment and takes the additional criteria into consideration in its conclusion. The assessment of a Research Master’s pro...
The panel conducts its assessment and takes the additional criteria into consideration in its conclusion. The assessment of a Research Master’s programme includes a development interview.
4

ACCREDITATION

By no later than the submission deadline, the institution submits an assessment report to NVAO in which the research orientation of the programme i...
By no later than the submission deadline, the institution submits an assessment report to NVAO in which the research orientation of the programme is clearly described and reviewed. The submission deadlines for the clusters of Research Master’s programmes are listed in the external assessment timetable.
5

RETENTION OF ACCREDITATION

Within three months, NVAO decides on the programme’s retention of its accreditation and informs the governmental implementation agency for the educ...
Within three months, NVAO decides on the programme’s retention of its accreditation and informs the governmental implementation agency for the education sector (DUO) accordingly.

Rates

For 2022, the NVAO rate for the assessment of an existing Research Master’s programme is EUR 900. The rate for new Research Master’s programmes is EUR 19,500.

Different rates apply for other or non-standard procedures. The costs of visits abroad, work performed by external experts, advisory work, or work associated with additional requirements will be invoiced additionally. A residual rate applies if an application for a new programme is withdrawn.

FAQ

Are all Research Master’s programmes academic programmes?

Under current legislation (Article 7.4a, fifth paragraph, of the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW)), Research Master’s programmes are academic master’s programmes.

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Are all 120-EC master’s programmes Research Master’s programmes?

No, only programmes for which NVAO has established their satisfaction of the requirements set for a Research Master’s programme may call themselves “Research Master’s programmes”. On the Central Register of Higher Education Programmes (CROHO), the name of such programmes is followed by “(research)”. Programmes that carry a statutory workload of 120 ECs for other reasons do not automatically qualify as Research Master’s programmes.

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