As of September 2012, students at Wageningen University will only be able to start their Master's degree if they already have their Bachelor's degree. This so-called 'clean break' is politically sensitive. Former education minister Plasterk had incorporated it in a legislative proposal, but when the Cabinet fell the Dutch House of Representatives had the proposal declared controversial, which means it cannot be dealt with by the caretaker government.
'The Bachelor's programme and Master's programme will become two separate programmes. At present most Wageningen Bachelor's students automatically go on to take the follow-up Master's programme in Wageningen. If they had to actively make a choice, students might be more tempted to continue their studies abroad or start work straight away', says Pim Brascamp, director of the Educational Institute (OWI) on intranet.
From now on, students will be able to start the Master's programme not just in September but in February too; this is to prevent the clean break from leading to delays in completing the degree programme. According to Brascamp, in some cases it may even be possible to start the Master's programme at other times. 'The order in which the modules are taken will not be so logical then, but many students are able to cope with that.'
The Executive Board has agreed to the implementation of the clean break. The Student Council still has to give its opinion.
Wageningen University will already be switching to a semester system, which many other universities already use, in September 2010. That will make it easier for Bachelor's students to take a minor somewhere else. /HOP & ABr