News - November 6, 2013

Limited enrolment system takes shape

Rob Ramaker

Nutrition & Health first Wageningen programme to introduce selection.
Selection rather than a lottery.

Nutrition & Health will be the first Wageningen Bachelor’s degree to introduce a numerous fixus setting a limit to the number of students admitted. The system needs to be worked out quickly as the first open day is on 16 November.

The university is opting for selection of students rather than a lottery, which has been the usual Dutch way of limiting numbers on a degree programme in the past. Applicants will be ranked according to their suitability for the programme and the top 130 will be admitted to Wageningen. The ranking will be done on the basis of four criteria: exam grade in biology and chemistry plus scores on two tests, one on motivation and one on knowledge. These tests will be conducted on a selection and orientation day held on 30 May. High school students who score an average of 8 or higher in their final exams will be welcome in any case.

These are the broad lines of the plan, but there are many details still to be worked out. After all, this is the first time a ceiling has been set to admission to a Wageningen degree course. Who is going to decide on borderline cases? How will the grades of foreign students be calculated? And what if you really cannot attend on 30 May? ‘It’s a lot of work,’ says Rolf Marteijn, programme director at Nutrition & Health, ‘you come up against a lot of new issues.’ He hopes to submit a draft proposal very soon.


There is considerable time pres­sure on the introduction of the measure. At the end of August the maximum number of students was approved just before the DUO deadline, with the employees’ council voting by email in the end. ‘It is not ideal for the council to ­take a decision this way,’ says coun­cil member Klaas Swart, ‘because there isn’t any real discussion.’ ­Nevertheless, he is convinced the right decision was made.

The number of first years in Nutrition & Health this year is now at a record 183. One possible reason for this was the threatened withdrawal of the basic grant. It is expected that there will be fewer preliminary enrolments for next year.

Besides, the new limit on numbers will exclude students from applying whose first choice is a subject like medicine, where students are selected by lottery. This is because of a rule that high school students may only apply for one programme to which admissions arelimited.