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MAASTRICHT. The number of first-year students at Maastricht University is expected to increase by 14 per cent this academic year. The UM now has a total of more than twenty thousand students. The majority is from abroad, about 44 per cent has Dutch nationality. These are temporary figures, dating from 1 September.
The figures from 1 September, which were compared to the October 2019 count, included the students who had already paid, but were not registered at that time.
The increase of first-year students is a university-wide phenomenon, although there are differences between faculties. Looking at the influx of first-years in the bachelor’s programmes, the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE: 33.4 per cent) had the greatest increase. This rise is largely due to the bachelor’s of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. The latter programme has over fifty per cent more first-years than last year. Registrations for the usually very popular University College Maastricht (-8 per cent) and the Maastricht Science Program (-6 per cent), on the other hand, have dropped.
At the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), as a result of the reduced entry restrictions, there are many more first-year students for the Dutch bachelor’s programme (111 compared to 76 last year; an increase of 46 per cent).
At the School of Business and Economics (SBE), the number of first-year students grew by more than 12 per cent last year; this year, there is a slight decline (-0.5 per cent). SBE is the only faculty with a smaller first-year batch than in 2019.
For the master’s programmes, FPN (+35.3 per cent) and SBE (+29.2 per cent) experienced the greatest increases. For the latter, Financial Economics is twice as large as last year and ‘Fiscal Economics’ is doing well too (+63 per cent). At FPN, the growth is due to the double degree master’s of International Joint Master of Research in Work and Organizational Psychology (+200 per cent) and Psychology (+25 per cent). The other two master’s programmes at the faculty have fewer registrations.
The master’s registrations for the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML; -1.2 per cent), FSE (-3.8 per cent) and FASoS (-8.1 per cent) have decreased. The main culprits: at FHML it is Health Sciences as it was discontinued from this year, and at FSE, Biobased Materials has declined, while at FASoS all master’s programmes are smaller than last year, except for European Studies on Society, Science and Technology.
There is no better place than Groningen
The percentage of Dutch students has declined just like in the past years. This year, a mere 44 per cent has Dutch nationality. As usual, the Dutch are followed by the Germans (20.9 per cent) and the Belgians (8 per cent).
For the bachelor’s programmes, registrations from France (+43 per cent), Poland (+26 per cent) and Bulgaria (+26 per cent) have increased the most. Remarkable detail: the number of students coming from pre-university education in the city of Groningen has increased by 1000 per cent; last year there was one, now there are eleven.
Luxembourg (+150 per cent) is a highlight among the master’s programmes. Numbers from Greece (-28 per cent) and Great Britain (-24 per cent) have dropped.
Students who have not fully completed their previous education were still allowed to start on a follow-up programme. A total of 353 students are now doing a master’s because they have availed of the so-called ‘zachte knip-regulation’. FHML is head and shoulders above the rest with 218. The binding study advice has also been relaxed, resulting in the number of second-year students being considerably higher (+11 per cent) this year than in September 2019.
Tutors and teaching rooms
In total there are over 1100 more students than last year. Can UM handle this growth? Are there enough tutors and teaching rooms? “We expect so,” says UM spokesperson Fons Elbersen. Much of the growth comes from the new bachelor's degrees "Digital Society", "Business Engineering" and "Global Studies" (a total of 338 students). “We are prepared for their arrival. There are also enough teaching rooms and tutors for the rest. There is a substantial part who choose to follow their complete education online. Faculties have also prepared themselves. Think of the teaching tent at Fasos. In addition, each faculty has already brought in new staff or has been given space to hire them.”