Three TU/e programs will keep intake restrictions next academic year

The list of university bachelor programs with a restricted intake of first-year students is longer than last academic year. Three of the programs were taken off the list, including TU/e's restricted intake program Industrial Design, and five were added. Three TU/e programs will keep their current intake restrictions in the upcoming academic year. However, for two of these programs, the number of students allowed to enroll will increase.

photo Roman Bykhalets / iStock

Last year, there were 59 restricted intake programs on the list; now there are 61. New to the list is the University of Amsterdam’s Political Science program, for example. Although the university had actually only wanted to limit the intake of international students, this is not yet legally possible. Therefore, the new intake restriction applies to both international and Dutch students. Other newcomers to the list are the science programs Biomedical Sciences at Maastricht University, Pharmacy at the University of Groningen and Computer Science and Health & Life Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

TU/e will have three restricted intake programs in the upcoming academic year: the highly popular Computer Science and Engineering (where the limit has been set at 375 students, 50 more than for the current year), Architecture, Urbanism & Building Sciences (with an unchanged limit of 325 students) and Mechanical Engineering (where the limit has been increased from 360 students for the current year to a maximum of 500 for the upcoming academic year).

Three letters

This year, 319 first-years started the ME bachelor’s program, says Professor Hans Kuerten, program director at ME. When asked whether raising the intake limit to 500 students is not too big a leap, he answers in the negative. “No, because this academic year, we’ve also been very flexible with the limit of 360 students. We sent three different letters to the people who had participated in the decentralized test. One congratulating them because they had been admitted, a second telling them that they had not yet been admitted, but that they would receive another letter the next day informing them that they had been admitted after all, and a third letter telling them that they had not been admitted, but that their admission had not yet been completely ruled out. In the end, that resulted in 319 first-year students, but the department can now accommodate at least 400. That’s also the reason why we set the intake limit at 500. There’s a demand from the wider region for the engineers that we eventually deliver, and through substantial growth in both our academic staff and technical support services, we will be able to satisfy that ever-increasing demand by admitting more first-year students.”

The renovation of Gemini (ME’s department building), which is already underway – forcing staff and students to temporarily relocate elsewhere on campus – won’t get in the way of an increase in the number of first-year students either, says Kuerten. “We may be scattered all over campus due to that renovation, but there’s no shortage of available space. And once the Neuron building on Laplaceplein is completed in February, additional space will become available. We’re currently housed in Traverse, among other places, and that building will later be connected to Neuron via a walkway. One thing we do sorely miss is having a home base of our own, and that will probably be the case until the completion of the entire renovation project in 2027. So students who are starting next academic year and achieve nominal study progress will miss out on the chance to move into the fully renovated Gemini building, unfortunately.”


On the other hand, some intake restrictions have been lifted, for example for the Artificial Intelligence program in Nijmegen, Bio-pharmaceutical Sciences in Leiden and Industrial Design in Eindhoven.

For TU/e’s Industrial Design program, an intake restriction came into effect for the first time in the academic year 2018-2019, and then-Dean Aarnout Brombacher said at the time that his department’s aim in cutting back the intake for the coming years was to create room in order to set up a coherent research program. With the introduction of an intake restriction that set the limit at 150 students, the intake fell from 246 first-years in the previous year to only 130 first-year students in 2018. In subsequent years, the ID bachelor’s intake figures fluctuated around 140 students, but at the beginning of the current academic year, only 109 first-years started their studies, even though the intake limit had been raised to 200 students, according to the BI Portal. But now, prospective students will no longer have to apply for this program before January 15, 2023, and students who are not admitted elsewhere and those who are late in deciding on a course of study will get the opportunity to apply for this program too.

Criticism of selection system

In recent years, there has been growing criticism of the at-the-gate selections made by programs that cannot handle the large intake numbers. In 2017, the Inspectorate of Education found that this selection system works to the detriment of men in particular and of candidates with non-Western migration backgrounds. In September of this year, the Inspectorate published a new report on self-selection: some prospective students are deterred by such an admission procedure, and opt for another program for that reason alone.

For the sake of equal opportunities, a political majority wants to reinstate the lottery system. Drawing lots has been prohibited since 2017 and restricted intake programs are required to select their students one by one. As far as Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf is concerned, restricted intake programs should once again be allowed to choose between drawing lots or selection. If the legislative amendment is adopted, the new rules will come into effect in 2024, starting with the application for the academic year 2024-2025.

Psychology and Medicine

The bachelor’s program Psychology still counts the most admission freezes: combined, the ten programs admit a maximum of 5,800 students. The eight Medicine programs may admit a total of 2,790 first-years next year.

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