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Mitigating the ‘harde knip’: HUM principles and how we plan to implement this

29 May 2020

Leiden University recently announced that a mitigation of the ‘bachelor’s before master’s’ (‘harde knip’) ruling will apply for many master’s programmes in 2020-2021. At HUM we have chosen two variants of what is known as the ‘zachte knip’: one month respite or one year respite. The variant that applies for master’s programmes depends on the admission criteria and selection procedure for each programme. This news item on this topic was published on the website on 15 May.

1 month or 1 year respite

These measures apply for BA students at Dutch universities and for EEA students.

This measure applies to the following master's programmes/ tracks: One month to still complete the bachelor’s. Students have to submit assignments and a final paper by Monday 28 September 2020 at the latest.

  • ResMA African Studies
  • ResMA Arts and Culture
  • ResMA Asian Studies
  • MA Asian Studies (120 EC)
  • ResMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations
  • MA Europaeum Programme European History and Civilisation (track of the MA History) 
  • MA European Politics and Society
  • ResMA History
  • MA International Relations
  • ResMA Latin American Studies
  • ResMA Linguistics
  • ResMA Literary Studies
  • ResMA Middle Eastern Studies

This measure applies to the following master's programmes/ tracks: One year to complete the bachelor’s, by 31 August 2021 at the latest. Additional requirement: if the BA final paper is part of the 15 ECs of BA subjects that have not yet been obtained, the final paper must be completed before the student starts to write the MA thesis. This condition will be included in the Teaching and Examination Regulations.

  • MA African Studies
  • MA Arts and Culture
  • MA Asian Studies (60 EC)
  • MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations
  • MA History (excl. Europaeum Programme)
  • MA Latin American Studies
  • MA Linguistics
  • MA Literary Studies
  • MA Media Studies, incl. Journalistiek en Nieuwe Media
  • MA Middle Eastern Studies
  • MA Neerlandistiek
  • MA North America Studies
  • MA Philosophy (60 and 120 EC)
  • MA Russian and Eurasian Studies
  • MA Theology and Religious Studies

The measures for mitigating the “bachelor’s before master’s” rule also apply to pre-master’s students: they may start their master’s while still having 15 ECs of pending bachelor’s subjects. If the BA final paper is part of the pre-master’s, this assignment must be completed in the current academic year. In other words, the final paper for pre-master’s students does not form part of the 15-EC extension measure.

Faculty principles on the 'zachte knip'

This measure has to be worked out separately for each bachelor’s programme. The Faculty Board has set out the Faculty principles and passed these on to the bachelor’s programmes. These principles provide a framework for how to mitigate the ‘harde knip’ at programme level.

One of the Faculty principles includes an overview of the programme components that may be extended to 28 September, including details of what precisely will still be possible in September and the points that require particular attention when registering for a master’s programme. The final assignment for the bachelor’s programmes will be the focus of extra attention. These principles have already been shared with the Programme Boards.

Programme Boards working on the BA Programmes

The boards of the BA programmes are currently discussing the consequences of these measures with BA3 teachers in the second semester and with coordinators of studies, based on the principles indicated. This also applies to minor programmes. The programme will then communicate further to BA3 and senior-year students what this means for their programme.

Study advice to students

This measure is intended to give students some leeway, but combining a master’s programme with components from the bachelor’s programme is not ideal and will be very demanding. Our advice to students is therefore to complete their bachelor’s programme on time if this is at all possible.

Next steps

The monitoring and control intervals in the coming academic year, which this arrangement entails for coordinators of studies and teaching administrations, are currently being worked on. Admissions Boards will shortly receive additional instructions about changes in the admission procedure.


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