2018 Master's Keuzegids: UM in second place for ‘general universities’
MAASTRICHT. Eleven Maastricht master's courses are among the very best in the Netherlands, is the opinion of the Keuzegids Masters 2018, which took a close look at 43 UM master's. The research master's programme of European Studies with a grade of nine is the very best. At the very bottom are Movement Sciences and Epidemiology. Those curricula have been completely revised as of September 2017.
The 2018 Masters Study Guide bases it rankings on student assessments for 80 per cent (National Student Survey 2015 until 2017) and on the expert opinion of the national inspectorate NVAO for 20 per cent. Just like last year, Maastricht University shares second place with Tilburg in the category of ‘general universities’, which consists of nine institutes and is headed by Groningen.
Eleven Maastricht master's programmes may call themselves top courses (grades of 7.5 and higher) and receive a so-called mark of quality from the guide. The programmes concerned are the research master's of European Studies (9.0) and Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (8.4), the two-year master's of Data Science for Decision Making (Transnationale Universiteit Limburg, together with Hasselt, Belgium,: 8.8) and Forensic Psychology (8.2), and the one-year master's programmes of Human Decision Science (8.8), Management of Learning (8.2), Health Professions Education (8.2), Governance and Leadership in European Public Health (7.8), Global Supply Chain Management and Change (UM Campus Venlo: 8.6), European Studies (8.6) and research master Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (8,6).
Students from the master's programme of Movement Sciences (this of course concerns the previous batch of students, of which the majority has graduated by now) are far less positive about their course. They only gave the facilities provided a plus, but there was great dissatisfaction with matters such as the programme, testing, practical orientation and supervision. The students gave their course a 2.8, against a four last year. Their colleagues in Amsterdam (the only other city with a comparable master's programme) were also not jumping for joy either, but they at least gave their course a five. In the case of Epidemiology (grade of 4.6) there is a great deal of criticism, mainly about testing and lecturers.
“I recognise the problem, we have had a difficult time,” says Leo Schouten, co-ordinator of the master's programme of Epidemiology since March 2017. The academic year of 2015-2016 (the score of which is also included in the Study Guide to increase reliability of the measurement; it concerns small groups of students) was especially difficult because a key lecturer was ill (“we had to take emergency measures all the time”), but also because the modules had to serve our own students as well as interested parties from elsewhere. ”This appeared to be an unfortunate choice,” says Schouten. Nevertheless, the master's programme obtained a 7.3 during an internal student evaluation. Last year the programme even received an 8.1 during the internal evaluation. “We often see great differences between our internal evaluation and the Study Guide. We don't know why that is. I wonder on how many students the Study Guide assessment is based.”
A new curriculum has started this academic year at both Epidemiology and Movement Sciences, in the latter case with a largely new team of lecturers. “A lot of hard work has gone into making these programmes attractive and more up to date,” says Jascha de Nooijer, director of Education for Health. “In the HMS master's programme (Movement Sciences) we ask for extensive feedback from students through focus groups after every block. A review panel has been set up at Epidemiology; this is a group of students who evaluate every block in depth. In short, we are doing everything we can to improve the education programme. The block evaluations from this year show that we have succeeded, they are looking good.”
The master's programme of Medicine doesn't get much more than a 5.2 either, but in doing so ends up in the middle bracket. Medical students throughout the country are grumbling (Groningen takes the lead with a 5.6), among others about the lack of academic training and testing. Only the practice-oriented aspect – which is logical with all those internships - receives a solid pass. In Maastricht the students also complained about supervision and lecturers.
Another striking fact is that the master's of Arts Klinisch Onderzoeker (AKO) has dropped from first to second place. Dutch Law is also no longer in the lead and has dropped to fifth place (with a grade of 5.2, against 5.8 last year).