Get to know this medium-sized university in The Netherlands
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Looking for a university in The Netherlands with lots of opportunities for independent study? Tilburg University could be for you!
Tilburg at a glance:
Tilburg, the Netherlands. There are two other campuses: The Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) in Hertogenbosch; and Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, in Utrecht.
Undergraduate course length
The university is organised into five faculties: Economics and Management; Law; Social and Behavioural Sciences; Humanities and Digital Sciences; and Catholic Theology.
19,334 (in 2020)
Students interested in societal issues, science and technology, and enjoying live performance in their free time.
Students who prefer to be in lectures rather than conducting independent work.
Anca-Elena Costea, of Tilburg’s International Marketing and Recruitment team, explains what makes Tilburg stand out - and how to put together a strong application.
What is Tilburg?
Based in the south of the Netherlands, Tilburg is a medium-sized university of around 20,000 students. The campus is very diverse; the student body has over 100 nationalities. There are both English and Dutch-taught degrees at Tilburg. If you’re studying one of the university’s 13 degrees taught in English, you’ll notice that between 20% and 60% of your classmates are international.
Why apply to Tilburg?
One of the things students find attractive about Tilburg is its global approach to tackling issues in society. Here, you don’t have to be a social sciences student in order to give back. Thinking innovatively and applying your knowledge to current issues is a common thread across Tilburg’s degrees.
The beautiful green campus, located next to a forest, also makes for a welcoming place to study.
Who isn’t the right fit for Tilburg?
Tilburg is best for independently minded students. You’ll likely have about 20-25 weekly contact hours - those are the hours spent in lectures or seminars - but you’ll also be expected to do at least 15-20 hours of independent study. For example, this could include conducting research in the library, or meeting others for group work.
So, if you would feel more comfortable spending more time in lectures than working independently, Tilburg may not be the right fit for you.
Any application tips?
You should start by registering through Studielink, the Dutch database for university admissions, before applying through Tilburg’s internal system (called Osiris).
Depending on the programme you are applying for, this might include attaching a grade transcript, a motivation letter (or personal statement), and a CV. Use your motivation letter to explain what makes you passionate about your chosen degree. You could make this stand out by linking it to current issues in the media which have caught your attention.
You’ll need to supply an English proficiency test result if you are a non-native speaker, and an essay for programmes which require a higher level of language ability.
The only degree with an entry exam is Psychology, as there is a fixed number of students who can get into this degree at Tilburg. For Business or Econometrics, your maths ability will also be considered - so if you are applying from England, you would need an A Level in Maths.
What’s the location like?
Tilburg is not a metropolitan city, but it is a student city. 15% of Tilburg is made up of students - one of the highest student ratios in the country.
The city itself hosts lots of music festivals, concerts and carnivals, and there are plenty of cafes and cinemas which are popular with students.
In the Netherlands, there are more bikes than people, so cycling is the best way to get around!
What facilities does Tilburg have to offer?
The campus offers a range of study spaces, from shared spaces to quiet spots where you can practise presentations. One cool feature is the DAF Technology Lab, which is a virtual reality laboratory which offers expertise on both tech and behavioural sciences. You can check it out by offering your time as a research participant, even if you are not studying a related degree.
There is also a fully equipped sports centre about 10 minutes’ walk from the university, including dance classes, squash rooms, tennis courts and football fields. There is even a rowing association where you can practise as a beginner or professionally too.
In the centre of the campus is a meditation building, which is open to all students for quiet reflection.
What is the accommodation like?
In general, Dutch universities do not own their housing facilities. You could live in one of the dorms the university has a partnership with, which could be a shared apartment with several other students; or more independently, in a studio-style dorm without shared facilities. Alternatively, you could live in private rented accommodation in the city.
The most important thing to remember is that accommodation spaces are competitive - to avoid last-minute stress, start looking in the spring before you arrive, or as soon as you are offered your place.
Want to explore more European universities? Remember, Unifrog’s Shortlisting tool can help you put together a list of great potential courses.