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Praise and criticism for the UM in Keuzegids 2015

MAASTRICHT. Ten points out of ten for University College Maastricht, making it not just the best university college in the Netherlands, but also the very best programme in the Keuzegids 2015, published this week. The bachelor’s studies of Knowledge Engineering and Economics & Business Economics also did well. Medicine, Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences did less so.

The latest Keuzegids Universiteiten assessed a total of seventeen Maastricht bachelor’s studies. Nine of these took first place. But not all first places are the same level. UCM (a 10), Knowledge Engineering (an 8) truly belong to the top and received the designation ‘top-class study’ (only for studies that scored 7.6 or higher). Just like Economics & Business Economics, which reached third place with 7.8. Fiscal Economics, Econometrics and International Business achieved a first place with slightly lower marks.

Law studies have been scoring very poorly on a national level for years, but partly because of the selection of first-year students, they now appear to be experiencing a lift. Maastricht shares first place with three others, just like last year (scores between 6.6 and 6.8), and again received compliments: for its lecturers, its programmes, skills education, academic training, and facilities.

There was also a first place for European Studies, but a score of 5.6 is no reason to be joyous. Arts and Social Sciences, which just like ES received a yellow card from the education inspector NVAO and is now busy introducing improvements, ended in fifth place (6.2) out of six.

Psychology appears to be making a comeback, occupying ninth place in the previous edition, it is now in (shared) fifth place. The then portfolio holder of education, Carolien Martijn, already predicted last year that adaptations in communication, timetables and opening times of the education office would reap their rewards.

This upward trend line does not apply to Medicine – having been the best in the class for years – as it now drops from second to fifth place. Students complain about poor academic training and the supply of information on things such as study progress. Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences (BMW) are dangling at the bottom too. BMW is also reported to be in trouble in the recently published Elsevier ranking. This was a reason for the faculty to give the programme a good shake, said vice dean Nanne de Vries some weeks ago in Observant. “The structure of the curriculum is too complicated, it has too many blocks and even overlaps. We are going to streamline the programme, reduce the sizes of tutorial groups, and improve the contact between students and lecturers. We have also put out so-called student antennae. These are students who report problems to us.”

A newcomer in the Keuzegids is the still very young Maastricht Science Programme, which makes its entrance with a second place (in a group of five). There was praise for the skills and academic training, but not for the way in which information was provided.

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