Bachelor-before-master rule

Wageningen University offers leniency in the bachelor-before-master rule to students who - due to COVID-19 - encounter problems in the transition from their bachelor's to a master's programme at Wageningen.

The bachelor-before-master rule states that students have to obtain a full bachelor's degree before they can start a master's programme. If, because of COVID-19 measures in education between March and September 2020, students experience such study delay that they cannot finish the bachelor's programme before 1 September 2020, they can still register for a master's programme at Wageningen University (under certain conditions).

A double registration will be made possible: the student's primary registration will be for a master's programme at Wageningen University (where s/he will also pay the tuition fee), while the student will simultaneously remain registered at the institution of his/her bachelor's programme.

This arrangement may continue until 1 September 2021. If on that date the student still has not obtained the bachelor's certificate, they will be excluded from master's education. Any credits obtained for master's subjects will remain valid.

Target group

The following groups of students can make use of this arrangement

  • Master's candidates finishing their bachelor's at Wageningen University;
  • Master's candidates finishing their bachelor's at a Dutch university or a Dutch university of applied sciences, or an EER-institution for higher education;
  • Premaster students who took part in a premaster at Wageningen University in the academic year 2019-2020, and who intend to start their master's programme in September 2020.

The following conditions apply:

  • The study delay was caused in the period March 2020-August 2020;
  • The study delay was caused by COVID-19-related measures;
  • The study delay is no more than 30 ECTS;
  • The student draws up a study plan on how to successfully combine both programmes;
  • The study adviser of the master's programme approves the plan;
  • Candidates who are not directly admissible to the master's (because their bachelor's is not related) need a conditional admission from the admission committee.

Master's candidates from non-EER institutions for higher education who cannot comply with the bachelor-before-master rule are advised to contact the master's programme about the first possible starting date.

Bachelor's students who had intended to start a premaster at Wageningen University in September 2020 but are unable to finish their bachelor's in time, are advised to contact the master's programme to see what is possible on an individual basis. For example, they might be able to include subsidiary master's subjects from Wageningen in their bachelor's programme in order to facilitate the transition from bachelor's to master's.

For students who had intended to go on exchange in 2020-2021, but who - due to COVID 19 measures -still need to do compulsory courses in 2020-2021, there is as yet no solution for the bachelor-before-master rule. We are still discussing possible solutions with the ministry. More information for this group of students will follow shortly.

How to apply

Students who are currently enrolled in a WU bachelor's programme

Step 1: Apply for the master’s programme 2020/2021via studielink and apply for re-enrollment in your bachelor’s via studielink. If you have no unconditional admission to the master’s, the admission procedure will be started. 

Step 2: In order to make use of the bachelor-before-master rule, you have to apply via de study adviser of the prospective master’s programme. You need to draw up a study plan on how to successfully combine both programmes. Please fill out this form and make an appointment with the study adviser as soon as possible but before July 15th, 2020.

After approval of the plan, the study adviser will inform the Student Service Centre (SSC). We will then enroll you as a 1st year master's student, next to your enrolment in the bachelor's.

Students who are currently enrolled in a bachelor's at a Dutch University or a Dutch University of applied sciences, or an EER-institution for higher education

Step 1: Apply for the master’s programme 2020/2021via studielink, the admission procedure will be started.  Please note! The application deadline is 1 July. As soon as you gain (conditional) admission, please go to step 2.

Step 2 In order to make use of the bachelor-before-master rule, you have to apply via de study adviser of the prospective master’s programme. You need to draw up a study plan on how to successfully combine both programmes. Please fill out this and make an appointment with the study adviser as soon as possible, but before 15 July 2020.

Step 3: After approval of the plan, the study adviser will inform the Student Service Centre (SSC). You need to arrange the payment of the tuition fee at Wageningen University. We strongly advise you to choose for Digital direct debit authorisation (in 1 or in 5 payments). SSC will then enrol you in the master’s programme.

Step 4: For students who had intended to go on exchange in 2020-2021, but who - due to COVID 19 measures -still need to do compulsory courses in 2020-2021, there is as yet no solution for the bachelor-before-master rule. We are still discussing possible solutions with the ministry. More information for this group of students will follow shortly.

For students studying at a Dutch University or a Dutch University of applied sciences

As soon as you are enrolled in the master’s programme, you can contact ssc@wur.nl in order to arrange a Proof of Payment of Tuition Fees*. You can use this proof of payment to pay the tuition fee at your Dutch university or a Dutch university of applied sciences where you have to re-enroll in the bachelor’s programme, in order to complete your bachelor’s.

* Only applicable to students Who are entitled to pay the statutory fees.

Students who are currently enrolled in a WU pre-master's programme

Step 1: Apply for the master’s programme 2020/2021via studielink and arrange the payment of your tuition fees.

Step 2: Contact the Student Service Centre at scc@wur.nl in order to arrange your re-enrolment in the pre-master programme.

Step 3: In order to make use of the bachelor-before-master rule, you have to apply via de study adviser of the prospective master’s programme. You need to draw up a study plan on how to successfully combine both programmes. Please fill out this form and make an appointment with the study advisor as soon as possible.

The deadline for all 3 steps is 1 July 2020. 

After approval of the plan, the study adviser will inform SSC. We will then enroll you as a 1st year master's student, next to your re-enrolment as a pre-master’s student.

FAQ's bachelor-before-master rule

My study delay was caused by Corona-related stress: does the bachelor-before-master rule also apply to me?

No, you will still need to finish your bachelor's programme before you can start your master's. The bachelor-before-master rule only applies to students whose courses were cancelled or postponed, or who experienced technical problems which meant they could not take part in online courses or exams. You are advised to contact the student counsellor, just as you would in the case of study delay under 'normal' educational circumstances.

I experienced problems with online courses, which meant I couldn't finish the courses as I had planned. Does this count as Corona-related study delay?

If the problems you experienced with online studying are of a technical nature, you may be applicable. However, if your problems with online studying are personal you should contact the student counsellor, just as you would in the case of study delay under 'normal' educational circumstances.

I wasn't able to complete my bachelor's thesis, because I couldn't do the lab work or research that I needed for my thesis. Can I still start with my master's programme?

The reasons for study delay caused by the inability to complete the bachelor's thesis vary from student to student. Sometimes good alternatives are available, such as a literature review or desk research. Whether such alternatives are also a suitable option for you, needs to be determined on an individual basis. If you have good reasons not to make use of alternative ways to complete your bachelorthesis, you are advised to apply for the bachelor-before-master rule and describe your situation.