"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.
The main rule for the BSc before MSc system is that all courses for which you have registered for the exam in Osiris and which have an examination date before the final Bachelor's evaluation date are part of your Bachelor's programme. You cannot register for courses from your chosen Master’s study programme during your Bachelor’s programme; not even to “test it out”.

The examination date of a course is uniformly on the last Friday in a term, but if the examination is scheduled earlier, it may also be the day on which the final assessment of the course takes place. Your final Bachelor’s evaluation date is the date on which you achieved a satisfactory grade for the final course from your study programme, or, if this date is later: the date on which your individual Bachelor’s examination programme (standard or modified) was approved in Osiris (PlanApp).

A course for which you registered for the exam before your final Bachelor's evaluation cannot be included in your Master’s course package at a later date. This also applies if you did not achieve a satisfactory grade during your Bachelor's programme. The course will not be part of the BSc before MSc system if you disenroll from the examination for the course on time (no later than halfway through the term) (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 Osiris. 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 Osiris before the application deadline for courses. You can even register for master’s courses if your last sufficient bachelor's grade is registred in Osiris before the halfway point of the new period (see also 5). But only register for master’s courses if you are almost certain that your last grade 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). Make sure you disenroll from the course and the exam no later than halfway through the term and inform the course coordinator that you have disenrolled yourself. If you fail to do so, then these courses will be included in the BSc before MSc system and you can no longer include them in your Master’s course package at a later date.     

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. I do not want to include a course in my bachelor course package, what should I do?
All courses for which you register via Osiris and with which you start before you have passed your bachelor's examination are in principle seen as a bachelor course and part of your bachelor study program. You will then no longer be able to include these courses in your Master's course package. Not even if you did not pass the course during your bachelor's degree!

If you decide within two weeks of the start of a course that the course would be more suitable for your Master’s course package, then you can disenroll yourself from the course and the exam by contacting the course coordinator. If you have disenrolled from the exam before the halfway point of the term, then you can include the course in your Master’s course package at a later date. You will receive an e-mail confirmation after you disenroll from the course.

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.