Nuffic Glossary

The Nuffic Glossary is a list with explanations of terms used in Dutch education.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. Refresh

wetenschappelijk onderwijs (wo)


WO; research-oriented higher education with an emphasis on theory; academic higher education; higher education at research universities

One of two types of higher education in the Netherlands, the other being hoger beroepsonderwijs (HBO, offered at universities of applied sciences). Education at research universities is geared more towards theory and research than education at universities of applied sciences, which is professionally oriented. The term is used also to refer to the institutions that make up the sector, and sometimes to the entire university community.

N.B. The term 'university education' is often used as an alternative for 'WO'. This is not always a good idea since the term in many countries is synonymous with higher education in general. If you are referring to one of the two types of Dutch higher education, you should be more specific. Another thing to keep in mind is that in theory, universiteiten and hogescholen are both free to offer both types of higher education, and they are increasingly working together to offer study programmes. You can no longer distinguish the type of higher education by the type of institution that offers it.