The transition from higher professional education to university education

If you are a higher professional education student who is contemplating a university Master’s degree, it is helpful to know more about transitioning from higher professional education to university education. There are a number of differences between the two types of education, such as the pace of study and the emphasis on critical thinking. Read about the main differences below and find out if a university Master’s degree is the right choice for you.

How does a research university differ from a university of applied sciences?

  • At a research university, the educational focus is on in-depth and theoretical knowledge. At a university of applied sciences, the education is offered from a more practice-oriented perspective;
  • Students take fewer subjects, there are fewer contact hours and there is more emphasis on individual study;
  • The study pace is higher;
  • The level of English is also higher;
  • You will be expected to think more critically and analytically: It is the ‘what’ question and not the ‘why’ question that plays a central role;
  • There is greater emphasis on research, particularly scientific research; 
  • There is greater variation between large lectures and smaller work groups, in which you will actively participate. You will either do this independently or in collaboration with several fellow students; 
  • You will develop new knowledge and major in an area that can take you in different directions. Students at a university of applied sciences are usually trained for a specific profession.

Is a research university the right choice for you?

Taking a university Master’s degree requires a great deal of discipline and responsibility. However, there is no need to worry. As long as you take your studies seriously and work hard, there is every chance that you will obtain your degree. What’s more, there will be plenty of guidance on hand if you run into problems.

It is interesting to note that pre-Master’s students often achieve better results during their Master’s programme than regular Bachelor’s students, for the simple reason that they are so highly motivated.

If you want to get the most out of your studies, then a pre-Master’s programme followed by a university Master’s programme might be just the thing for you!


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