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Law climbs from eighth to first place, UCM unrivalled leader

Law climbs from eighth to first place, UCM unrivalled leader

KeuzeGids 2014

MAASTRICHT. University College Maastricht may call itself the best Liberal Arts studies in the Netherlands, based on the latest edition of the KeuzeGids Universiteiten 2014 (2014 University Guide), which was published today. The Maastricht experts in knowledge engineering, law, fiscal economics, international business administration and econometrics also collected first places by the dozen.

Ten Maastricht University programmes ended in first place, against only seven last year. Again, a total of sixteen UM bachelor’s programmes were scrutinised by the KeuzeGids, which ranks them every year on the basis of assessments from students and experts.

With a result of 9.4 (on a 10-point scale), UCM towers above all others. This is the case in a comparison of the ten University Colleges in this country (number two was Utrecht, with only 8.4), or where the bachelor’s programmes at the UM are concerned. Students find “every aspect of the study excellent”, says the guide. This applies equally to the level of the subject matter, the programme, and the way of testing. “This is a result to which many people have contributed: both supporting as well as academic staff from all faculties. It is a compliment to us all,” is dean Harm Hospers’ reaction.

Knowledge Engineering, with a 7.8, comes closest to the UCM, leaving its nearest competitor Groningen (number one last year) far behind (6.4). The programme received a lot of praise, but also its ample attention for academic training.

The study of Law is a remarkable rising star, going from eighth place in 2012 to first in 2013. “Real compliments are given only to Maastricht, the newcomer at the top,” KeuzeGids writes. Maastricht University distinguishes itself when it comes to study content, but its lecturers also receive a lot of praise. Fiscal Law also rises from fifth to first place, European Law School from third to first. In the recently published Elsevier survey, students placed these three law studies in first place too. Dean Hildegard Schneider about the big leap forward: “It is often the small things that do it: longer opening hours of the desk, timely information about exam dates. You have to listen really well to students, find out where their difficulties lie. The human elements are important. And of course, constant evaluation.”

Whereas Medicine – often the undisputed leader in the past – ended up in second place again (with 7.4, Rotterdam doing marginally better), Psychology slips further and further back. Last year, it was number six, now in ninth place. Students are dissatisfied with the content, lecturers, practical orientation, and communication. Facilities and academic training, however, were praised. The experts, on the other hand, were positive about Psychology. “Information and communication were weak points indeed,” says Carolien Martijn, responsible for education at Psychology. “Since the beginning of 2013, we have made adjustments. There is also more clarity about timetables, the opening hours of the Education Office have been doubled, and we can see an upward trend in ‘survival after the first year’. As far as all that is concerned, I look forward to next year’s KeuzeGids.” The fact that the faculty scored below average on ‘contact hours’, Martijn considers odd. “We have an average of 12.8 contact hours a week. We top the list both on a national level and within the UM.”

Arts and Culture (CW) has also dropped a few places, from first to fourth. Students are positive about academic training and the programme, but less so about the number of contact hours. That brings CW a result of 6.4. Still, this is higher than European Studies, which is in first place with 5.6.

The UM as a whole was in fourth place in the category ‘other universities’. Wageningen, the Open University and Eindhoven University of Technology do better.

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