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Universities and HBO

Are you planning to study abroad? Is Holland or the Netherlands one of your options? Then you should know the difference between Universities and HBO.


This is my 6th year living in Holland. I came here in 2002 to study Bachelor of Communication at the INHolland University in Diemen (a city near Amsterdam), which is a HBO. At that time, coming from Indonesia, I was not aware of the difference between HBO and the normal universities. I was only informed that HBO was an institution that would provide more practical knowledge to the students. If you study at HBO, you would know how to work in the real world. Instead, if you study at the universities, you would learn a lot more academic knowledge. Thus, if you study at the universities, you have the intention to pursue PhD or to be a professor in an university.

With that information, I (with some influence from my Mom) had decided to study at INHolland University. In the end of my first year, some rumours were spread among us saying that in the end of our study, we would receive the title Bachelor of Communication, instead of Bachelor of Arts. I was in my 18 when I heard that. I didn’t really care about any title. I said to myself “as long as I graduate with good grades, I would be more than happy!”

Yet, some people were furious. There were a few people that withdrew from INHolland and signed up to other proper universities.

This case has repeated itself. Recently, Saxion university of applied sciences (which is an HBO) students were upset because the university promised them Master of Arts title for the Master course in health care and social work. In the end, Saxion had to repay the whole tuition fee to the 16 students that joined that program. Read the articles here (it's in Dutch, sorry).

So, what’s the matter with title? What’s actually the difference between HBO and Universities?

Okay, let me explain to you. HBO is the short version of Hoger Beroepsonderwijs (or hogeschool). In English, you can translate it to ‘high school’, which is not exactly correct. The right translation is University of Applied Science.

HBO is at the same level as universities; however, HBO is providing applied sciences to the students. Universities teach a lot more academic knowledge to the students – thus more theoretical.

There are some titles that can only be announced by universities, such as Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Sciences, etc. The titles I received for my education are Bachelor of Communication and Master of International Communication Management.

Is HBO has lower quality than University?

In my humble opinion, not just because I graduated from HBO, I would say that HBO is NOT less credible than University. The first education I pursued was of course chosen because of some influence from my Mom. Yet, the second time I chose to study at the Hague University of Applied Sciences was my personal choice.

I experienced a lot of benefits during my study. I learned so many new thing, not only from the theories (books), but also through exchange of information with other students and the teachers. In the class, we were given so many case studies that we had to solve. We acted like the real consultants, PR managers, or journalists – just to learn how these positions really worked in the real world.

In result, I have never had any difficulties working in any companies or NGO. I can easily relate the theories to the reality. In HBO, you indeed learn less theories at school, but it would be your obligatory to self-study – like reading academic books at home or googling about interesting topics.

Do HBO graduates have good future? Will it be easy for us to look for a job or will we be discriminated?

I have never found any difficulties to find a job because of my HBO diploma – also not in Indonesia. In Holland, people see HBO diploma as valuable as University diploma. However, there are indeed a few companies that do not recruit HBO graduates. It is not because HBO graduates less valuable, but it is due to the standard set (related to accreditation) by the Headquarter in the US. The companies that do not recruit HBO are for instance Google and P&G. Yet, Unilever, Phillips, Adidas, and IBM do recruit HBO students. I have friends working in these companies.

Can I do master and/or PhD after I graduate from HBO?

Yes. In Holland (and some other European countries like Finland), there is Master of Applied Sciences. This is not academic master from the University, but it is from HBO. If you specifically want to study Master course in a university after finishing your bachelor degree in a HBO, you will be most likely asked to do a pre-master (like in Erasmus University). Yet, there could be some exceptions, especially if you have appropriate working experiences (3-5 years).

About PhD, I cannot speak for all PhD programmes, because it will be judged case by case. I heard there are some possibilities for HBO graduates to directly pursue doctorate/PhD. Yet, the interesting thing that I heard was there will be soon PhD/doctorate programmes for HBO graduates. If there is Master of Applied Sciences, why not PhD in Applied Sciences?!

So, I hope this brief sharing is useful for you.

I wish you all the best. If confused, do not hesitate to contact me.

Comments

Eunice said…
Actually, it's not really true to say that in a university, you will learn more theoretical stuff and less practical things..in HBO, I did have more presentations, because the numbers of students were less, in comparison to a university.

In uni, we did have presentations, but not much. Yet during the master (if you're taking master of science), presentations are almost never ending.

To be very honest, I prefer uni to HBO.. but in the end, it really comes down to the person himself. If you're smart, it doesn't really matter which school you're going. I have a friend who's graduating from HBO and then switched to a uni for her master. In the end, she surpassed all other regular uni students..she is just one of those people who are freaking smart.

So..don't let the title of your school limit your dreams.. =D
Oma Nia said…
true2, i write this article from the perspective of HBO students. because i encounter many people that 'embarassed' with their HBO degree or some people hesitated to enroll to HBO. (you should write from the university perspective, dit!)

I also heard of course that uni students learn a lot of 'practical' things too. Yet, i have spoken to some uni graduates at my office that regret that they didn't learn a lot of practical stuff as much as those HBO graduates. Some of them even want to go back to school taking a short course in a HBO.

But I agree with Dita, it is case by case. Some people are more comfortable in HBO, some in universities. the bottomline is, don't let your degree limit your dream. Amen, sister! :)
It was a good to visit to site...last month.here we gets lotss of information about studuies and work ......
Work And Study
jessie said…
i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month



study abroad

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