Psychology scraps numerus fixus

The system of numerus fixus for the psychology programme is being scrapped. The draw is no longer necessary, says the board of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (BSS).

According to BSS’ vice dean Greetje van der Werf, ‘the amount of new students has been decreasing steadily over the past two years’. This academic year, 120 fewer students enrolled than the year before, as indicated by the RUG’s figures. Groningen isn’t the only university is suffering from a decline in enrolments, says Van der Werf; all the Dutch psychology bachelors are facing the same problem.

All programmes 

Moreover, for several years now, the influx of students has been lower than the value of the numerus fixus, says the vice dean. That means that the amount of new enrolments has been continually lower than the number of available spaces at the RUG.

The fact that almost all other Dutch psychology programmes have abolished the draw is also reason for BSS to scrap the numerus fixus, says Van der Werf. ‘Students will much prefer a university without a numerus fixus. We don’t want to be left behind.’ The RUG should remain attractive for prospective psychology students, she says.

Too big 

In the meantime, the board of the university is worried that psychology is getting too big. ‘Board members are wondering if the programme can provide quality assurance for so many students’, says the vice dean. Abolishing numerus fixus could theoretically inundate the bachelor with new students. But Van der Werf does not see it that way. ‘We can see the influx slowing down on its own.’

For that matter, the faculty does not aim to grow the programme any further, says the vice dean. ‘We want to expand our master programmes. That is our aim.’ For instance, five new psychology masters have been set up. They are also researching how to convince more bachelor students to stay in Groningen after they are done. ‘We want a bigger influx of our own bachelors into the master.’


The faculty is still of two minds about what to do: slim down, or not? Different scenarios are currently being calculated, says Van der Werf. The numerus fixus could still return to further decrease the amount of students. But the faculty will not make a definitive decision until the figures concerning the influx for the next academic year are known.