Edition 2022

Foto omschrijving: MBO students or metal technology and electrical engineering apprentices carrying out assignments. The teacher keeps a close eye on the process.

What are the most popular majors?

During the 2021/’22 academic year, 1.3 million Dutch students and foreign students were enrolled at senior secondary vocational education (MBO), higher vocational education (HBO) or at a university in the Netherlands. MBO students formed the largest group of students at 38 percent. University students formed the smallest group of students at 26 percent. The most popular disciplines include Law and administration and Health care and welfare.

Gezondheidszorg en welzijnHealth care and welfare135 339DienstverleningServices112 555Techniek, industrie en bouwkundeTechnology, industrial design, construction 95 975hboRecht, administratie, handel en zakelijke dienstverleningLaw, administration, trade, business services 128 546Gezondheidszorg en welzijnHealth care and welfare99 387OnderwijsEducation71 863woRecht, administratie, handel en zakelijke dienstverleningLaw, administration, trade, business services96 508Journalistiek, gedrag en maatschappijJournalism, social and behavioural sciences77 231Wiskunde, natuurwetenschappenMathematics, natural sciences39 356Welke studierichting volgen studenten?What are the most popular majors?mbo

Traditionally, the term students referred to those enrolled in higher vocational education (HBO) and university education (WO, university). As of the 2020/’21 academic year, participants in senior secondary vocational education (MBO) are also referred to as students. The figures used for the 2021/’22 academic year are provisional.

The most popular disciplines include Law, administration, trade and business services. Of all students in the 2021/’22 academic year, 22 percent were following a study programme in these disciplines. Particularly, HBO students and students at university opted for a major in any of these disciplines. These were followed by study programmes in the area of Health and welfare, at 20 percent. These are particularly popular among MBO and HBO students. Technology, industrial design and construction majors are particularly popular at MBO level, ranking third at 13 percent.

Student population by discipline, 2021/'22*
Studierichting MBO HBO University
Law, administration, trade, business services 77806 128546 96508
Health care and welfare 135339 99387 33878
Technology, industrial design, construction 95975 43799 37396
Services 112555 40664 2511
Journalism, social and behavioural sciences 1380 27014 77231
Design, art, languages and history 32478 40572 25541
Education 13635 71863 10610
Computer science 21144 26879 16981
Mathematics, natural sciences 2060 7867 39356
Agriculture, veterinary medicine and animal care 18241 4908 4297
* Provisional figures

In addition, study programmes within the area of Services (12 percent) were especially sought-after among MBO students, and study programmes in Journalism, social and behavioural sciences especially among university students. The Education track mainly concerns teacher training programmes, which are often study programmes at HBO level.

Health Care study programme chosen by 1 in 3 women

Slightly more women (51 percent) than men followed a study programme in the 2021/’22 academic year. Health care and welfare is particularly popular among women; almost a third of all female students (31 percent) attended a study programme within that field. The majors in Education, Services and Journalism, social and behavioural sciences each attracted about 10 percent of female students. In addition, Law, administration, trade and business services appealed to many female students (19 percent), however these disciplines were even more popular among male students: over a quarter (26 percent) followed a study programme within these fields. Furthermore, a lot of men (22 percent) chose a programme in the area of Technology, industrial design and construction.

Almost 9 in 10 computer science students were men

Consequently, the proportion of men and women is not evenly distributed within the disciplines. Men are by far the majority in computer science (88 percent) and the study programmes in the area of Technology, industrial design and construction, at 82 percent. Women are the majority in Health and welfare (80 percent), Education (71 percent) and Journalism, social and behavioural sciences (68 percent).

Male and female students by chosen discipline, 2021/'22*
Studierichting Male Female
Law, administration, trade, business services 171710 131150
Health care and welfare 54899 213705
Technology, industrial design, construction 145680 31490
Services 83043 72687
Journalism, social and behavioural sciences 33494 72131
Design, art, languages and history 41659 56932
Education 27560 68548
Computer science 57290 7714
Mathematics, natural sciences 25886 23397
Agriculture, veterinary medicine and animal care 14201 13245
* Provisional figures

The questions


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Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

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