Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)

The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) monitors quality assurance at higher education institutions. In doing so, NVAO acts in accordance with the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (WHW) and internationally accepted accreditation practices. NVAO is a member of both the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA).

Accreditation

NVAO has drawn up criteria allowing for a review of the quality of higher education institutions. Universities and universities of applied sciences are required to appoint an assessment panel, which will review the quality of a degree programme on the basis of these criteria. The panel must consist of independent experts. NVAO will then issue a ruling based on the assessment panel's report. If the degree programme meets the criteria, NVAO will accredit the degree programme. This accreditation is in principle valid for a period of 6 years.

For more information on the quality and recognition of degree programmes, please refer to the central government's website (in Dutch).

Institutional quality assurance audit

Dutch higher education institutions can ask NVAO to perform an institutional quality assurance audit. Degree programmes that are issued a positive score must still be accredited.

Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes

In addition to the NVAO website, you may also consult the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes (CROHO) to determine whether a particular study programme is accredited. This register provides an overview of all accredited programmes offered by government-funded and approved higher education institutions.  

Please note:

  • If a bachelor's or master's degree programme is not featured in CROHO, its quality is not ensured by NVAO. However, the study programme may be accredited by a foreign accreditation organisation.
  • Higher education institutions are not obliged to have their study programmes accredited. However, only accredited programmes can entitle students to student finance (studiefinanciering) and only accredited programmes lead to a recognised degree.

Code of Conduct for International Students

As of 2006, the Netherlands has also had another instrument at its disposal in order to ensure the quality of Dutch higher education internationalisation: the Code of Conduct for International Students (Gedragscode Internationale Student).

Any institution that signs this code must abide by the good practices for international students described therein. This applies to:

  • recruitment and admission;
  • information services;
  • the range of available programmes.

A national committee monitors compliance with the Code of Conduct and maintains an overview of all universities of applied sciences and research universities that have signed it.