MAASTRICHT. The Health Sciences Research Master (HSRM) will be discontinued with effect from September 2020. The University Council approved the request for discontinuance last week. The master's didn't attract enough students to be cost-effective. The current students will be able to complete the two-year programme.
The emphasis at HSRM is on research skills, which the students can apply later as PhD candidates or researchers in businesses. “In the first year, students write a research proposal. This is submitted to an external subsidy provider, such as NWO. In some cases – of course that is to some extent down to luck – the proposal is approved and then the second year is also the start of their PhD track,” says programme co-ordinator Leo Schouten.
During the initial years of the master's, which started in 2005, HSRM students were reasonably successful. “A few good research projects came out of that. But after 2010, we experienced a decline in the number of successful applications.”
The main reason for discontinuing, however, is the drop in the number of students. “Even in our best years, we had no more than fifteen. Last year, the number dropped to four,” says Schouten. “We never quite understood why that was. We even had a hard time fuelling the interest of our own bachelor's students of Health Sciences and European Public Health. Sometimes, they gave as a reason that a one-year master's resulted in the same degree. An extra year only costs money. We couldn't show them the added value of it, for which we can hold ourselves accountable.”
This means that the only two-year research master's at Health Sciences will disappear. Schouten: “Such a great pity, these alumni were amongst our better PhD graduates.”