There will definitely be a Science College in Maastricht, as part of University College. The Ministry of Education has given its permission, as NVAO, the agency that ensures the quality of studies, has given a positive recommendation.
The plans expressly comprise a College study programme, in which students can, to a large degree, compile their own set of courses. It is not a traditional physics, chemistry or biology study, says managing director of the institute, Fred Offerein.
Throughout the Netherlands, resistance had emerged against the UM’s attempts to enter the field of natural sciences. Technical universities and science faculties at other institutes objected to this new competitor in a field that is already struggling with declining student numbers. They consider the fact that this new programme is placed under the University College label as a trick.
The Science College is to go ahead, but not under that name. That is to say, State Secretary for Education Halbe Zijlstra is urging the UM to choose a different name; rector Gerard Mols wants to discuss this matter with the ministry.
The UM never doubted during the past few months that the bachelor of Science would go ahead. There have already been interviews with prospective students, during which the university did not mention that they were still waiting for official permission. The students, probably around forty, will start in the Kapoenstraat in September, in the former building of the School of Governance.