"Harde Knip"

Dutch legislation on Higher Education says that students may only enrol for a master's programme after they have completed their bachelor's programme. There is a strict separation between the two study phases. In Dutch this rule is called: ‘harde knip’.

Wageningen University & Research strictly applies this rule and it implies that students may only start taking master’s courses upon having completed their bachelor’s or linkage programme! Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

1. What does ‘harde knip’ mean?

‘Harde knip’ means that you are only permitted to start master’s courses on the condition that you have successfully completed your bachelor degree and are enrolled as a master’s student.

The ‘harde knip’ at Wageningen University & Research also implies that all courses you take or have taken before completing your bachelor’s programme successfully may not be part of your master's programme. This also applies to courses you took without taking part in the exam. Therefore, you must decide on time which courses you want to include in your bachelor's programme (see 10).

2. Who does this legislation apply to?

This legislation applies to all students who wish to start a Master programme in The Netherlands.

3.  Does the ‘harde knip’ also apply to linkage students (pre-master)?

Yes, you are not permitted to follow master’s courses during your enrolment in the linkage programme. As linkage student you are only permitted to follow the courses that are part of your linkage programme. The linkage programme needs to be finalised within one academic year. If you wish to follow extra courses during your linkage period, these courses cannot be used for any future master’s programme. For these extra courses you have to pay the regular bachelor’s tariff (besides the tariff already paid per ECTS for your pre-master courses).  

4. What does the ‘harde knip’ mean for the planning of my studies.

This legislation means that you need to plan well ahead to avoid time delay in your studies. If you have not completed your bachelor’s programme on time you cannot start with your master’s courses (see also 5), which can result in missing out on a full period. If you think you might have significant delays make sure you contact your study advisor in time.  

5. How will the ‘harde knip’ affect my studies.

‘Harde knip’ implies that all courses you have registered for in MyPortal with a starting date before your bachelor’s examination date belong to your BSc programme. It is therefore not possible to start any courses you wish to include in your master’s programme before your bachelor’s examination date; not even to ‘try out’.

The starting date of a course means: the start date of the period in which the course is given. Your bachelor’s examination date is the date on which the mark of your last course to be completed from your approved individual bachelor’s programme is booked in the student information system (AIR).

Thus, a course for which you applied before passing your bachelor's exam cannot be included in your master's study programme later on. Not even if you did not pass the exam in the course. Only if you withdraw your application for the course within 2 weeks after the starting date of the course period, the ‘harde knip’ rule will not apply (see also 8).

With regard to the rule that the starting date of a master’s course cannot be before the bachelor’s examination date, there is one exception:

If you have not yet received the marks for the last courses of your bachelor's programme that you have completed, but you expect to receive sufficient marks for these courses within the two weeks after the start of the new course period, you may register for and start with master’s courses you wish to take that are given in that new period; even if you are not yet enrolled as a master’s student. If your last sufficient bachelor's mark is entered within those two weeks, your bachelor's examination date will effectively be after the starting date of the master’s courses you started with, but these courses will not be subject to the ‘harde knip’ rule.

However, if you do not pass your final bachelor’s courses, you must withdraw your registration for the master’s courses immediately and within two weeks after the starting date of the course period. If you fail to do so, these courses will fall under the rule of the ‘harde knip’. You can only withdraw for a course by contacting the course coordinator, not via MyPortal or SSC online.

6. When can I start with my master's?

If you are a WUR bachelor’s graduate, you can start your master’s programme at Wageningen University & Research in the month or study period following your bachelor’s graduation. For reasons of the study ability of the programme, it may be best however to start in September (period 1) or in February (period 4). For a good planning of your master’s study, please contact the study advisor of the WUR master's programme concerned.

7. When can I enrol for a Master’s programme?

You can enrol as a student for a master's programme as of the first of the month following the month in which you passed your bachelor's examination or the month in which you passed the last course of your linkage programme.

When you have obtained 150 ECTS  in your individual bachelor’s programme you will receive an email with a link to the ‘study after bachelor’ form. On this form you can indicate whether you want to continue your master’s studies at Wageningen University & Research or take a master’s degree elsewhere.

8. When can I register for master’s courses?

If you have passed your bachelor’s examination and you have been enrolled as a student for a master’s programme, you can register for master’s courses in MyPortal. Please respect the deadlines for application for a course.

It is possible to register for master’s courses even though you have not graduated officially for your bachelor’s. For example, your last marks have not been entered in the student information system (AIR) before the application deadline for courses. You can even register for master’s courses if your last sufficient bachelor's mark is entered into the student information system in the first two weeks of the new study period (see also 5). But only register for master’s courses if you are almost certain that your last mark will soon and in time be booked.

NOTE: You will need to withdraw your registration for master’s courses if for some reason your bachelor’s graduation is delayed (for example; you did not pass the last exam). You will need to withdraw within 2 weeks after the starting date of the course period. If you do not withdraw your registration for the course in time, you will not be able to include the course in your master’s programme in the future.     

9. Is it permitted to follow master’s courses if I have not been admitted for the master’s course?

No, this is not permitted. You are only allowed to follow master’s courses once you have graduated for your bachelor’s and have been admitted and enrolled as a student for the master’s study programme you wish to follow.

10. Is it possible to cancel a bachelor’s course as I wish to include it in my master’s programme at a later stage?

If, after starting a course in the bachelor’s, you decide that the course is more suitable to a future master’s programme,  you should withdraw your registration for that course within two weeks of the starting date of the course. Withdrawing from the course can only be done through the course coordinator. It will not be possible to include the course in your master’s programme if you have failed to withdraw within the two weeks.  

11. Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact your study advisor if you need more information about the ‘harde knip’ and its possible consequences for your study planning.