Students who successfully complete a Master’s programme at Delft TopTech are awarded a master of Delft University of Technology. But what is this title actually worth and how does it compare with a Master’s from a mainstream Bachelor-Master programme? The two programmes are fundamentally different in terms of target group, intake, specialisation, educational methods, and funding. The main differences are set out below
First, the Master’s title is a title which is awarded by universities and institutes of higher (professional) education (hogescholen), where students follow a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s programme. The universities of technology, including TU Delft, award the title of Master of Science (MSc), which is equivalent to the former (Dutch) title of ingenieur (ir.). Programmes that confer an MSc need accreditation from the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO) in order to qualify for government funding. Students at these institutions are usually young with no practical experience in their subject.
Secondly, there are many training institutes which offer Master’s programmes for experienced professionals, usually in a specific subject. Delft TopTech falls into this group. Institutes of higher (professional) education often call their Master’s programmes ‘Professional Master’s’, universities call them ‘Master’s’, and in Belgium they are called ‘post-Master Master’s’. There is no consistency in nomenclature. There are also several variations, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) probably being the most well-known. These programmes do not receive government funding. As the NVAO only assesses the initial Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes and as the possibilities for international education are limited, many institutes provide their own accreditation. As a result, the quality and reputation of the programme is determined by the quality of the institute.
To guarantee the quality of its degree programmes TU Delft sets high standards during the biennial internal accreditation of the Master’s programmes at Delft TopTech. The quality of the education and its practical orientation are crucial in this process. Delft TopTech is also consulting other universities on the external accreditation of Master’s programmes.
Below is a list of the titles awarded in the Netherlands. Delft TopTech programmes lead to a Postdoctoral Master’s.
Bachelor’s titles conferred by institutes of higher professional education are equivalent to the former (Dutch) titles of baccalaureus (bc.) and ingenieur (ing.). The title is followed by the name of the subject or profession e.g. BTr (Bachelor of Translation). It is not followed by Science or Arts.
Bachelor’s titles conferred by universities constitute the first phase of an academic programme, comparable with the former (Dutch) kandidaatsexamen. After three years the title of Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) is awarded.
Master’s titles conferred by institutes of higher professional education are professionally-oriented and are frequently referred to as Professional Master’s. The title is usually followed by the name of the subject or profession e.g. BTr (Bachelor of Translation). It is not followed by Science or Arts. Master’s titles conferred by universities are research-based and form the second phase of an academic programme. They may be compared with the former (Dutch) titles of doctorandus (drs.), meester (mr.) and ingenieur (ir.). Nowadays the title of Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MSc) is awarded.
Postdoctoral Master’s programmes are taken after completing a Master’s programme at a university or institute of higher professional education. The title is followed by the name of the subject or profession e.g. MBA (Master of Business Administration) or MBE (Master of Business in Energy systems). It is not followed by Science or Arts.
PhD programmes come after the completion of a Master’s programme and are always taken at a university. The former dr. title is replaced by PhD.
In this system it is customary to list titles in succession, e.g. Jan de Vries BTr MA MBA