ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country

Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.
The basics
THE Netherlands: Applying to University - Must read

What is ‘Numerus Fixus’?

If you want to apply to study in the Netherlands you'll need to know what numerus fixus means and how it can affect you. Read on to find out more.

share image

What does Numerus Fixus mean?


It's a Latin term that means ‘fixed number’. Numerus Fixus is a method used in the Netherlands for limiting the number of people applying to popular courses. This is also known as either decentralized selection or limited enrolment.


Why does Numerus Fixus exist?


In the case of Dutch universities and institutions, numerus fixus is in place for courses where there is too much demand. Courses with limited places include; psychology, medicine, international business, economics and physiotherapy


How does Numerus Fixus work?

In the past, the process was typically run by the government using a lottery system, which meant that candidates had to rely on luck rather than ability to be given a place. However, the process has changed.


Now, when there is a restriction on student numbers, universities can pick the students they want based on their qualifications and overall application. So, what does this really mean?


Universities in the Netherlands select candidates based on how they feel a person will be able to cope at university and the work they will produce, rather than the grades they have achieved at high school / secondary schools. This meant that students who were previously able to register on a limited course with low grades are now less likely to be accepted.


In the past, you could only apply for one numerus fixus course at a time. This has now changed and applicants can apply for two courses.



How do you apply to university in the Netherlands?


As university and course application procedures differ so widely, there is no one rule about how to apply for a course in the Netherlands. If you are applying for a subject with limited spaces, you may have an earlier application deadline of around the 15th January.  


You could also be required to attend an assessment day if your course is numerus fixus. Applicants who achieve the necessary marks will be made an offer on Studielink (the online application platform for prospective students in the Netherlands). This offer must then be accepted or declined within two weeks. If you don't make the top grades, you might still be able to make it onto the reserved list.


If you're interested in studying in the Netherlands, you can use our course matcher tool to find the right course for you. We also have information on how to apply to study in the country.