TU/e to apply soft cut measure more strictly

In the upcoming academic year, students will again be permitted to start with a master’s program even though they haven’t fully completed their bachelor’s or pre-master’s degrees. This flexible admission rule, or ‘soft cut,’ will however be applied more strictly at TU/e than it had been in September of last year, when it was implemented due to the corona crisis. Policy advisor Jim Bergmans explains why this decision was made.

photo Barbro Bergfeldt / Shutterstock

In the upcoming academic year, students will again be allowed to enroll in a master’s program without having fully completed their bachelor’s or pre-master’s degree. The so-called bachelor’s-before-master’s rule (or ‘hard cut’) didn’t apply during this academic year either. The ministry of education came to this decision after the corona pandemic broke out, forcing universities to move their educational activities onto online platforms.

Practically all teaching activities take place online this academic year, and institutions are free to determine their own conditions for the soft cut measure. Bergmans: “This academic year, bachelor’s students needed 160 credits in September before they could start with their master’s program, because the pandemic caught them by surprise in the middle of their academic year and because all teaching activities immediately had to be moved online. Pre-master’s only needed 20 credits in September. We’ve now almost had a full academic year of online education, which is by no means the most optimal form, but our students are better prepared for it. Students haven’t fallen behind significantly and continue to successfully obtain their credits.”


That is why the university decided, Bergmans says, to apply the soft cut measure a bit stricter next academic year: this time around, students need to have obtained a minimum of 170 credits before they can start with a master’s program. Pre-master’s students are required to obtain 25 credits.

Bergmans says that the 270 students who made use of this rule this academic year are being followed closely by academic advisors. “Many of them only needed to finish their final project, but some of them still had to take exams from the third and fourth quartiles.” Bergmans can’t say at this point exactly how many of the 270 students have by now obtained their diplomas. “The results from the exams in Q3 haven’t all come in yet and still need to be analyzed. Naturally, our starting point is to allow the largest possible number of students to whom this soft cut applied to eventually obtain their diplomas.”

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