17-month MSc not long enough
Only just over half of international MSc students graduate on time - that is, within 17 months - according to figures from the last three years' classes. Between 50 and 56% of international students manage to graduate in January of their second year, the rest usually graduating a few months later in March, and sometimes in June. According to Evert Kamphuis, Admissions Officer, the average percentage of January graduates would come closer to 80% if Dutch MSc students were also counted. The reasons for extensions vary greatly: some students arrive late, others fall ill, and then there are different cases of personal problems, not passing exams on time, or research-related problems. It is Kamphuis' role to facilitate the funding for students to extend their stay beyond their scholarships. I first have to obtain permission from sponsors for students to stay longer, but usually the university ends up paying for the extended time.
Tailor-made seemed to be the buzz-word throughout a comment made by Bert Speelman, head of Education, although he found it too early to be specific about the length of future international MSc programmes: My idea of tailor-made will be to consider students on an individual basis so as to best fit their needs. While keeping in mind a maximum length of two years, the more experience they have, the fewer extra courses they will need, and the shorter their MSc will be. Speelman also added that the possibilities offered by computerised distance learning are being investigated. This should allow students to stay home during part of their MSc, thereby reducing costs. Am.S