Internship and Thesis research - non EU students

All MSc programmes at Wageningen University include an academic oriented internship and thesis research period. The internship is a learning period during which the relationship with professional practice is emphasised. The internship has a subject code and number which you will find in the study handbook.

The internship usually lasts about six months. Every Master study programme (120 credits) has programme-specific subjects, an academic Master block (12 credits), an internship (24-30 credits) and a thesis (30-39 credits). One credit is equivalent to 28 hours of study.

In five steps towards your thesis/internship research

  • Prepare and search for an internship together with an internship co-ordinator.
  • Make sure you have a valid residence permit or proof of application for extension of the residence permit
  • Application for Work Permit
  • Make sure you have health and legal liability insurance
  • Draw up the Practical Training Contract together with your internship supervisor.

How to find a thesis/internship research

In order to find an internship you need to plan your search and start looking well in advance, i.e. at least 3 months before you want to do the internship. There are several ways to find an internship in the Netherlands. Students often find their way to a work placement through the extensive university network, aided by university staff. University chair groups usually have an internship co-ordinator. Alternatively, you may find an internship through personal contacts, an internship bureau, or by approaching a private or public company or organisation directly.

Preparing and applying for thesis/internship research

Once you have reflected on your motivation and have a clear picture of what you are looking for, you can start the actual search. You need to draw up a CV (resume) that is acceptable to Dutch companies and organisations. It is also advisable to prepare for interviews and writing application letters. Although the English language is commonly used in research and in the Dutch companies it is well worth the effort to do a Dutch language course at the Language Service in Wageningen. This will make interaction with colleagues easier.


When you are looking for an internship/ thesis research, you have to bear in mind certain general requirements such as: tasks on a suitable (academic) level, cooperation in a project, independence and own responsibility, disposal of a desk and pc, a competent in-company supervisor, time. 

Internship: contracts and forms

The practical training contract (Internship Contract) formalises the agreements made between the student-trainee, the University department (internship coordinator or supervisor) and the practical training provider. The contract contains information about the trainee, the practical training provider, study plan, supervision, duties and obligations, facilities etc. In this sense, it is a further supplementation and elaboration of the rights and obligations that the parties already have based on the Higher Education and Research Act, the Education and Exam Regulations and the student statute.

> Download the Internship Contract on the Forms page

Students who are registered at a Dutch University and intent to do an internship in the Netherlands are no longer obliged to have a work permit. The students from non-EU countries and students from countries that have joined the EU in 2004 and intent to do their internship in the Netherlands are obliged to complete an internship form (=COSPA form) as well as the Wageningen University practical training contract (Internship Contract). The students need to submit the internship form at the office of the internship provider. The internship provider must have it on file otherwise they will get a penalty from the Dutch Government. The internship form (COSPA form) can be found on the Nuffic website.

Thesis research: work and residence permit

In the Netherlands a thesis research is considered employment. Students from non-EU countries and students from countries that have joined the EU in 2004 doing a thesis research require a work permit. This is a time consuming procedure which should be started as early as possible. When all the required information and documents are available, the application procedure usually takes about three to four weeks. Read more about the Work permit.

According to the Immigration and Naturalisation Office (IND) a person with a residence permit for study is allowed to spend up to 50% of his total study period on his practical period and/or his thesis research in the Netherlands without having to change the status of his residence permit. At the moment you exceed the 50% time limit you need to apply for a "Change of Restriction".

The application form for "Change of Restriction without MVV" is available on the website of the IND (

>> Read more about Residence permit


In the Netherlands it is common for a student to receive an allowance for the internship/ thesis research. A reasonable allowance is on average € 300-350 gross/month.


Dutch law requires all residents to have health insurance and legal liability insurance. Please note that at the moment you receive an allowance or income you are obliged to change your insurance to the new "Basic Health Insurance Policy".

>> Read more about Insurance for studens outside EU / EFTA