The Computer Science and Engineering Bachelor program at TU Delft is no longer open to non-EU students. The university took this decision after 1100 students enrolled, forty-five percent of them coming from outside the EU.

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This is the first time that a Dutch university has imposed a stop on international students. Although a numerus clausus has been necessary for other Bachelor programs at the technical universities of Delft and Eindhoven in the past, the measure has never before been explicitly aimed at foreign students.

It is striking that a Bachelor is attracting so many foreign students. Until now, the vast majority of non-Dutch students, from both EU and non-EU countries, were following Masters degrees. This boosted the number of Masters students at TU Delft from 6600 to almost 10,000, for example.

Small-scale Master

Yet it is not the Master students who are causing the capacity problem. Master programs are often smaller in scale and require more autonomous study – theses and practical training, for example. Bachelor programs are generally larger and therefore take up more space on campus.

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (who explained the case in the university magazine Delta), the fact that Computer Science and Engineering is the first Bachelor to be stopped for non-EU students is because of the Anglicization of the Bachelor. The program is given entirely in English as of this year, although there is still a Dutch language requirement. The latter will disappear next year, resulting in many foreign students being interested in this program. TU Delft names a combination of factors responsible for the interest in Computer Science and Engineering: 'On the one hand the popularity of the subject and on the other, TU Delft's great reputation', explained a spokesperson. TU Delft is higher in the QS World University Rankings than any other (non-British) European university.


Many English-language Bachelors

Four of the sixteen Bachelor programs at TU Delft are given completely in English, according to the website. In relative terms, other technical universities have considerably more fully English Bachelors: eleven of the fifteen at Eindhoven University of Technology and sixteen of the twenty at the University of Twente. Yet these universities are not yet struggling with capacity problems due to a surplus of non-EU enrolments. 'We're simply nowhere near the ratios/numbers seen in Delft or Amsterdam. There's no issue with crowding-out by non-EU students here,’ according to a spokesperson of Eindhoven University of Technology. In fact, Eindhoven is actually encouraging internationalisation, as Board of Governors chairman Jan Mengelers welcomes the boost in quality.

Eindhoven University of Technology will however be imposing a numerus clausus for four Bachelor programs as of next year, as announced by the University in 2017. One such program with a numerus clausus is Computer Science and Engineering, though the university does not attribute the student stop to enrolments from outside the EU. 'However, we're certainly not blind to current developments. We fully understand the position of TU Delft. The same could happen to us. The limit has been 'pencilled in' at 1/3 foreign students. But we're nowhere near such figures so far.'

Image: Hcramer

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