Keuzegids Universiteiten doesn’t see any top programs in Eindhoven

TU/e currently has to do without a ‘top program.’ This is the conclusion drawn by the compilers of the Keuzegids 2020, the annual guide to Dutch higher education that was published today. TU/e is ranked joined eighth with a score of 59.5. None of the assessed Bachelor’s programs in Eindhoven are considered best of their kind in the Netherlands this year.

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TU/e’s overall score has dropped with one point compared to last year; the university scores slightly better in the ranking than its traditional rival TU Delft (58.5 points), but TU/e is ranked far behind the University of Twente (68.6). The fourth member of the 4TU Federation, Wageningen, leads the ranking of Dutch universities with a score of 74 points.

Of all TU/e Bachelor’s programs in the Keuzegids, not one scores higher than competing programs elsewhere in the Netherlands. Also, not one single Bachelor’s program scores the 75 points needed to receive the ‘top program’ designation. Chemical Engineering and Applied Physics received the top program honor last year, and Applied Mathematics was still on that list two years ago as well.

Lex Lemmens, dean of the Bachelor College, doesn’t expect the unfavourable assessment in the Keuzegids to be of much influence. “Our experience is that having, or not having, a Keuzegids ‘top program’ designation doesn’t much affect student inflow. That doesn’t mean that we will not seriously study the underlying data of the Keuzegids as input for the direction of the quality of our education.”

Best technical university

Until the edition of 2017, the compilers of the Keuzegids Universiteiten had considered TU/e the best technical university of the Netherlands for years, a title to which, incidentally, the even better performing ‘agricultural university’ Wageningen did not lay claim. The university also ranked among the top three Dutch universities for a few years. In the Keuzegids of 2015, seven programs in Eindhoven still received the designation ‘top program.’

TU/e has moved down several places in the ranking since then, and the strong growth of student numbers is seen as the main culprit for this trend. It is not without reason that a number of programs have been limiting inflow since a couple of years by applying a ceiling on student numbers.

“Globally, the Keuzegids shows a steady trend for TU/e compared to last year,” according to Lemmens’ assessment. “Our position in the ranking is the same, with a similar total score.” Nevertheless, the dean says, the university is working hard to improve the quality of education of its Bachelor’s programs. “Since recently, we have more elbow room to work on the improvement of quality, thanks to the student loan resources, among other things.” The current measures he cites include recruiting extra academic staff, using extra student assistants, extra study areas and work places, and ICT innovations to personalize and make education more flexible.


Incidentally, compared to last year, Keuzegids did make some small adjustments to the methodology: a scale score was introduced for ‘degree after 4 years,’ and the category ‘number of contact hours’ has been removed. Both changes turn out to be disadvantageous to TU/e, since the university scored well on contact hours and now has a negative average score on the percentage of students who graduate after four years.

Notable programs whose scores declined are Electrical Engineering (54 points this year against 66 last year) and Biomedical Engineering (54 this year as well, whereas it was still 70 points last year). Architecture, Building and Planning, Industrial Design, and Industrial Engineering, however, each climbed to a score of 60 points. These Bachelor’s programs scored 52, 54 and 58 points respectively last year. The highest scoring programs currently at TU/e according to the Keuzegids are Chemical Engineering (72 points) and Applied Physics (70 points).

The compilers of the Keuzegids make use of educational statistics provided by the VSNU, datafrom WO-monitor(conducted by the IVA research institute, commissioned by the VSNU) and accreditation data from the NVAO. Use is also made of the results of the National Students Survey and the national Study Choice Database.

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