RUG Board: no ‘sixes’ students in master’s programmes

The RUG Board is looking into the possibility of using an admissions procedure for all master’s degrees.

The University Board is preparing to introduce admissions criteria for master’s students. ‘But an important condition for the introduction of these criteria is whether the faculties feel that it will work,’ says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens.
The directors have consulted the deans of each faculty about their opinions on the master’s admissions procedure. ‘A decision regarding the introduction of admissions standards will be made on the basis of the faculties’ answers’, Deekens says.

‘Sixes’ students

Minister Bussemaker has made it possible for universities to reject admission to master’s programmes for students with a GPA (grade point average) of six, so-called ‘sixes’ students. Student with a GPA of seven or lower are no longer accepted into some programmes. It was previously made known that the Faculties of Economy & Business and Mathematics & Natural Sciences wanted to introduce stricter admissions requirements for their master’s programmes.

The student factions, together with the Dutch National Students Association (ISO), sent an urgent letter to the minister to let her know that they are planning to put a stop to the decision to use a strict admissions procedure if she does not take action. They are scared that a race will begin in which universities will quickly, and in large numbers, introduce admissions criteria so that they are not the last university to do so.

‘We remain true to our stance’, says Nadine van Merode from Lijst Calimero. ‘We feel that having an admissions procedure as the rule instead of the exception is a harmful development for education. We advocate for education to remain accessible and for the quality of the master’s programmes to have the highest priority.’

‘Our main worry is that students will be deprived of a chance at qualitative education’, says fraction president Alexander van ‘t Hof from SOG. ‘The Anglo-Saxon idea is being copied. In England and the U.S. roughly ten per cent of university students go on to study a master’s. However, in those places, it is possible to begin working with only a bachelor’s degree. In the Netherlands, that is not possible. If you introduce this system in the Netherlands, then it will have the consequence that students cannot find a job.’

International university

The minister, however, disagrees. The stricter admissions criteria are completely in line with her policy. Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken and the staff factions of the University Council are also in favour of the admissions criteria: the RUG wants to be an international university and setting high standards is more common abroad.

Lijst Calimero is therefore looking for a compromise. ‘We are looking at the options which we find reasonably acceptable at this moment in time. One of the options, for example, is to implement the system Leiden uses in Groningen. Students who have graduated with a bachelor’s from the RUG are automatically allowed to follow a master without having to go through the admissions procedure. The admissions procedure would then only apply to students outside of the RUG.’

The master’s admissions procedure is expected to be addressed in the University Council next month.