Students Tilburg University

Bachelor's-before-Master's rule (Harde Knip)

When applying for a (pre-)Master's program, you are legally required to have completed a Bachelor’s degree before you can start the (pre-)Master’s program. This is called the ‘Bachelor’s-before Master’s rule’ or 'Harde Knip'.

What is the Bachelor's-before-Master's rule (Harde Knip)?

Every applicant for a (pre-)Master’s program at Tilburg University is legally required to complete at least a Bachelor’s degree before being able to start the (pre-)Master’s program. This means that students are not allowed to start the (pre-)Master’s program before fulfilling all requirements of their Bachelor’s degree. This is known as the ‘Bachelor’s-before-Master’s rule’ or ‘Harde Knip’.

Current pre-Master’s students at Tilburg University will have to fulfill all requirements of the pre-Master’s program before they can start the Master’s program.

The Bachelor’s-before-Master’s rule is applied at all Dutch universities. Therefore, current Bachelor’s students of Tilburg University will have to complete their Bachelor’s program before being able to start a (pre-)Master’s program at any university in the Netherlands. If you are facing study delay as a current Bachelor’s student of Tilburg University, you are advised to discuss your study planning with your education coordinator.

Are there any exceptions?

In order to compensate for study delay due to COVID-19 and the high pressure on the well-being of our students, we have relaxed the Bachelor-before-Master-rule during the past academic years, allowing students to enroll (under certain conditions) in a Bachelor's or (pre-)Master's program while they did not yet complete their previous education. As Tilburg University, we consider the relaxation of this regulation as an important gesture towards our students and their well-being. Therefore, it has been decided that this regulation will be prolonged for students who want to start their studies in September 2022. Read more below.

Bachelor students

If you were enrolled in an academic Bachelor's program in academic year 2021/2022, you will be admitted to the corresponding Master's program per September 2022 if you have not yet completed the entire program, but still have to complete a maximum of 12 EC from your previous program. The Bachelor's thesis must be completed and you must meet the other admission requirements. This regulation applies to Tilburg University Bachelor’s students and to Bachelor’s students of other universities within the European Economic Area, EEA. This regulation does not apply to students from a university outside the EEA;

  • Bachelor’s students of a university in the Netherlands need to hand in their “completion advice” at the Student Desk before August 31, 2022. This advice must be issued by your university. Deposit your copy or copies in the white mailbox of the Student Desk at the reception of Academia building, opening hours on weekdays from 08:30 - 17:30 hrs; send your copies to: Tilburg University, Student Desk, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg or attach your copies to the Student Desk contact formThis only applies if you currently study at  another educational institution or another School within Tilburg University; when you proceed from a Bachelor's to a Master's program within the same School you do not need the completion advice);
  • Bachelor’s students from a university not in the Netherlands but in the EEA who would like to make use of this regulation should contact the Admissions Office at admissions@tilburguniversity.edu;
  • You must complete the Bachelor's program before September 1, 2023. If you do not meet this requirement, you will be de-registered from the Master's program;
  • You cannot graduate from the Master's program if you have not obtained your Bachelor's degree;
  • You have to register for both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s to be able to complete your Bachelor. When you pay the statutory fee and follow both programs at a higher education institution in the Netherlands, you only pay once for both enrollments.

PLEASE NOTE: If you were enrolled in an academic Bachelor's program in 2020/2021 and were admitted to the Master's program in 2021/2022 on the basis of this regulation, you must still have completed the Bachelor's program by September 1, 2022. You cannot use this regulation again.

Pre-Master's students

If you were  enrolled in a pre-Master’s program in academic year 2021/2022, you will be admitted to the corresponding Master’s program per September 2022 if you have not yet completed the entire pre-Master’s program, but still have to complete a maximum of 6 EC from your previous program. You must meet the other admission requirements.

  • This regulation does not apply retroactively. If your registration has already ended you cannot appeal to this regulation.
  • You cannot graduate in the Master's program if you have not completed your pre-Master’s program.
  • In order to complete your pre-Master’s program, you need to sign up for both the pre-Master’s and the Master’s program. When you pay the statutory fee, you only pay once for the master and no fee for the pre-Master. If you pay an institutional fee (non-European students), you also pay a fee for each pre-Master's course of 6 EC.
University (of applied sciences) students

If you were enrolled in a university (of applied sciences) in the academic year 2021/2022 and you have experienced a delay in the final phase of your Bachelor's program due to the corona measures, you are eligible for admission to the corresponding pre-Master’s program per September 2022 on the basis of a positive “completion advice” (afrondingsadvies). You must meet the other admission requirements;

  • Bachelor’s students of a university of applied sciences (hbo) in the Netherlands need to hand in their “completion advice” at the Student Desk before August 31, 2022. This advice must be issued by university of applied sciences (hbo);
  • Bachelor’s students from a university not in the Netherlands but in the EEA who would like to make use of this regulation should contact the Admissions Office at admissions@tilburguniversity.edu.
  • Of course you should also follow the application procedure as indicated on the website. Based on your positive "completion advice", it will be decided whether you can be admitted;
  • You must complete the Bachelor's program before September 1, 2023. If you do not meet this requirement, you will be de-registered from the Master's program.

This regulation applies to Bachelor's students at a university of applied sciences in the Netherlands and to Bachelor's students of other universities within the European Economic Area (EEA). This regulation does not apply to students from a university outside the EEA.


If you were enrolled in a university of applied sciences in academic year 2021/2022 and you have experienced a delay in the final phase of your propaedeutic year at a university of applied sciences due to the COVID-19 measures, you are eligible for admission to the corresponding Bachelor’s program per September 2022 on the basis of a positive “completion advice” (afrondingsadvies). You must meet the other admission requirements;

  • Bachelor’s students of a university of applied sciences (hbo) in the Netherlands need to hand in their "completion advice" at the Student Desk before August 31, 2022. This advice must be issued by your university of applied sciences (hbo);
  • Bachelor’s students from a university not in the Netherlands but in the EEA who would like to make use of this regulation should contact the Admissions Office at admissions@tilburguniversity.edu;
  • Of course you should also follow the application procedure as indicated on the website. Based on your positive "completion advice", it will be decided whether you can be admitted;
  • You must submit your certificate of the completed propaedeutic year (or Associate Degree) before January 1, 2023. If you do not meet this requirement, you will be de-registered from the Bachelor's program.

This regulation only applies to students following a program of study at institutions within the European Economic Area (EEA).