FHML Board: intake restriction for Biomedical Sciences is essential

FHML Board: intake restriction for Biomedical Sciences is essential

Staff can just about manage current number of students


The board of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences wants the bachelor’s of Biomedical Sciences (BMS) to have an intake restriction. Interest in this study programme has increased exponentially the last few years. Now that the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam has announced that they will introduce a quota, the Maastricht BMS programme is the only one in the Netherlands with an unlimited number of places. The fear is that this will cause the number of students to grow even faster here.

About 400 students started BMS last year. In 2015, before the introduction of the English track, the number was 173. “We can just about manage that,” said Mirjam Oude Egbrink, responsible for education, during the last faculty council meeting. “If, for example, 450 first-year students were to arrive, that would be too much for what we currently have to offer. We would then have to have classes in the evening or reduce the number of practicals, which is something that no one wants.”

The VU received 520 students last year, but wants to set the maximum for September at 300. “They think that the other 200 students will partly opt for their study programme of Health and Life, which is in the same domain,” Oude Egbrink said. “But we still fear that they will come to Maastricht. In addition, that study programme in Amsterdam will also start selecting students from 2023/24. If we have an intake restriction, that concern will disappear for staff. They are already worried about the work pressure, the number of classrooms, especially when it comes to lab capacity.”

Council member for academic staff, Martijn Brouwers, wanted to know whether the programme attracts mainly international students. Last week, universities called upon politicians to provide them with more possibilities to manage the influx of international students. But that is not the case here, according to Oude Egbrink. “At the VU, they have actually seen an increase in the number of Dutch students.”

She says that we do have to keep an eye on the overspill to Health Sciences. BMS is a well-known ‘biding one’s time study’ for people who are waiting for a new chance to be selected for Medicine. Those students could now opt for Health Sciences.

Should the expected influx ultimately fail to occur – an entry restriction, which according to national regulations must be accompanied by a selection procedure, sometimes has an inhibiting effect – the measure can always be abolished, Oude Egbrink assured the council.

If the University Council approves the plan, the intake restriction will be introduced in the 2023/24 academic year. With 400 places, the Maastricht BMS programme will still be the largest in the Netherlands.

Author: Cleo Freriks

Photo: Shutterstock

Tags: biomedical sciences,FHML,numerus fixus

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