Research activities in the first two cycles of European Biosystems engineering university studies - Situation in the Netherlands


Wageningen University has implemented the bachelor – master model by 2003. The biosystems related programmes of Wageningen University are the BSc Agrotechnology and the MSc Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. The bachelor programme has a size of 180 credits and the master programme a size of 120 credits. Both 1st and 2nd cycle programmes have a strong focus on research. A thesis is part of both programmes; the size is 12 credits for the bachelor thesis (to be increased to 24 by 2010) and 36 for the master thesis. An important difference between the bachelor and the master thesis is the level of independence. The bachelor thesis work is more structured than the master thesis work. Most of the thesis work is related to ongoing research projects. In the bachelor programme there are several courses that confront students with research and in which they learn research and academic skills. In this way the students gradually learn what research is and how to do it. In the master programme there are only a few courses related to the research skills; the students that start with the master are supposed to posses these skills. The BSc degree is not considered as an end point but is a pivot point for choosing a master. Therefore there are no research positions for persons having only BSc degree. Research positions in industry require at least a MSc degree but the trend is that more and more a PhD is required. Senior research positions within the research organizations require in most cased a PhD and within the university it is a basic requirement

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