News - October 10, 2013

Double ‘honours’ for Biology

Rob Goossens

Wageningen programmes score well in Elsevier rankings.
Biology comes top for professors too.

Yes indeed, we’ve come top again. The education special edition of Dutch magazine Elsevier has be­come an annual tribute to Wage­ningen’s small-scale education. The weekly magazine assessed all the university degrees in the Netherlands, making use of data from the National Student Survey. Almost without exception, Wage­ningen degree programmes come out with flying colours. On average, students award their degree programmes 7.3 (Bachelor’s) or 7.5 (Master’s) out of 10, whereas the national average does not go above a 6.

The most striking achievement is possibly that of the Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Wageningen degree programmes often score highly among students, but are less highly rated by Dutch professors. But Biology has come out top this year for both students and professors.

Education director Marjolijn Coppens is happy with this result but, though she says it herself, she did see it coming. During visita­tions last year she was told that the Wageningen degree stood head and shoulders above the rest. She knows why too: small-scale educa­tion. Even though the programme, with nearly 500 students, is the biggest in Wageningen, the teacher-student ratio is the same as on the small programmes. Coppens: ‘With more students you get more funding for teachers. That is a priority for the executive board. Other Biology departments are sometimes jealous of that. They have had to reorganize in recent years.’