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Psychology in the lead, Medicine at the bottom again

Psychology in the lead, Medicine at the bottom again

MAASTRICHT. In the latest Elsevier ranking, the best and the worst bachelor’s programmes in Maastricht are exactly the same as last year: University College and Psychology come out as best in the country and Medicine as one of the worst, just like Biomedical Sciences. The best UM master’s in the country are: Psychology, Media Studies and Fiscal Economics.

Just like last year, UM students regarded five Maastricht bachelor’s programmes as the crème de la crème in the Netherlands: Psychology (out of 10), Fiscal Law (out of 5), European Studies (out of 2) and European Law School (out of 2). Again, University College takes the lead with flying colours, with a score of 82 – followed closely by the College in Venlo in second place. Many students were also satisfied with the two science bachelor’s programmes of Knowledge Engineering and, to a slightly lesser degree, the Maastricht Science Programme, both of which are the only ones in their category in the Netherlands. Economics and Business Administration was third out of a total of ten.

Medicine (in 6th place out of 8) and Biomedical Sciences (in 6th place out of 7), which have been revising the programme for years, still find themselves in the bottom ranks. Where professor Mirjam Oude Egbrink, scientific director, saw the first signs of change in the fields of testing and organisation/communication last year, these are now the very the parts that students criticise. At Biomedical Sciences it appears that all areas are below average except for the facilities.

It is in this area that several Maastricht programmes do well. This is remarkable because in the past there used to be many complaints about workspaces and printers. Psychology students have much praise for their facilities too, but also for teaching and lecturers. In fact, nowhere is the study of Psychology rated as high as in Maastricht.

Among the Maastricht master’s programmes, there are also a few that take first place: Psychology (out of 9), Media Studies (out of 6), Fiscal Economics (out of 5), Dutch Law (out of 4) and European Studies (out of 4). Psychology clearly separates itself from the rest; the Maastricht programme scores considerably higher in almost all areas than its sister programmes. The master’s of Management of Learning (SBE) is the only one of its kind, but invariably receives a high score (80), which means that 80 per cent of the students are satisfied or very satisfied.

The opposite is true in the case of the master’s of Arts and Cultural Sciences, which - with a score of 47 - comes last of all nine programmes. What is the problem here? That is not yet clear, says Jan de Roder, director of studies for two of the three programmes that constitute the master’s of Art and Social Sciences. “We take the results very seriously and will study them thoroughly, also to see if the yellow cards [that were issued to the faculty a few years ago] have anything to do with it.”

The master’s of Medicine is not up to scratch either, ending up in seventh place out of eight. The set-up of the programme is valued greatly, but the lecturers, testing and organisation/communication are well below expectations. Matters are even worse at Movement Sciences; the facilities may be excellent according to the students, the rest is pitiful. The lecturers were given a score of 17.

 “Firstly, some lecturers have been ill for long periods,” says Jascha de Nooijer, director of studies at Health since September. “This caused a considerable increase of the pressure of work for immediate colleagues. Another reason is that many students from institutes of higher professional education have been admitted, with hugely different levels of knowledge. The only thing that was tested beforehand was their knowledge of statistics and methodology. Lastly, the students felt that there was too little theory in the programme, and that some lecturers were too inclined to promote their own ‘hobby’. We are now making plans to revise the master’s programme.”

The two master’s programmes in Venlo also had poor to mediocre performance. Global Supply Chain Management and Change obtained a final score of 49, while Health Food Innovation Management ended up with 58.

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