News - February 13, 2014

Overwhelming interest in Honours Programme

Linda van der Nat

Wageningen first-years have registered in large numbers for the Honours Programme introduction module. As many as 114 students want to start the warming up for the programme of excellence in March.

The number of applications has exceeded expectations, says Ingrid Hijman, the Honours Programme coordinator. ‘We’re really pleased with this, but it does mean we will have to make a selection. That is quite a challenge because we will have to go through 114 letters of application.’ The programme committee wants to admit 40 to 50 students. ‘We can’t take on any more because of the supervision.’

Average grade

Most of the applicants are students who received a letter from rector Martin Kropff as they are among the top 20 per cent of first-years at Wageningen UR. Fifteen students who did not receive such a letter have also applied for the introduction module. So they have a lower average grade than their fellow applicants, but that does not mean they are excluded from the programme by definition, Hijman assures us. ‘If they can prove in their motivation letter that they are able and willing to do something extra, they have just as much ­chance of being admitted.’

In their motivation letters, the applicants had to describe the topics that appealed to them, the subjects they liked most at secondary school and what they hope to get out of the Honours Programme. Hijman: ‘We also want to see whether they are only interested in studying or do other things as well. We want students with broad interests but who are also focused.’


The orientation module is a taster for the Wageningen Honours Programme, moving rapidly through all aspects of the programme in a pressure cooker situation. Students will learn to form their own opinion about a dilemma of their choice, based on the literature, film clips, courses and master classes.

The orientation module will be followed by a second selection process and the students themselves will also be able to decide whether they really want to take part in the Honours Programme. The idea is that 25 students will be admitted to the Honours Programme. The aim is for this to grow to 50 students over the next four years.