Students Tilburg University

Binding Study Advice (BSA)

Students who are enrolled for the first time for a program must earn 42 credits in the first year in order to receive a positive binding study advice (bsa) and be allowed to continue their studies. On this page you'll find the rules, and what to do if you are unable to earn those credits due to circumstances.

What is a binding study advice?

All Bachelor’s degree programs are required by law to provide their students with advice regarding the continuation of their studies at the conclusion of their first year. The advice provided is of a binding nature.

This means that you will receive a BSA at the end of your first year. Your BSA will determine whether or not you may continue on your program based on the grades and credits you have earned. If you have done well, then you may move on to the second year of your program. If your academic performance is lacking, then you will receive a negative BSA. In short, this means you are being expelled from your program. You may not register for the same program for a period of three years, nor may you register for another program sharing the same first-year curriculum.

Please note:  the bsa standard is only required in your first year of a specific program. Non-European students also have to meet a study progress standard of 50% each year. More information.

How many credits must you earn?

Each year of your program is worth 60 European credits (credits). However, you may continue in your second year if you have earned at least 42 credits from the first-year of your program.

If you have exemptions or credits earned earlier, then you will be required to earn 42 credits, including the exemptions.  For example: if you have exemptions for 12 ec, you need to gain at least 30 credits to get a positive BSA. In case you registered on or after October 1st, then you do not have to meet the minimum BSA threshold. However, in your second year you must complete all coursework from the first year (60 credits) of your program. Get in touch with your education coordinator for further information on your specific circumstances.

You will receive a negative BSA if you have earned fewer than 42 credits by the end of your first year of studies. This is a clear indication that you do not have what it takes to succeed in your chosen program.

What is the process behind the BSA?

We will keep you apprised of your progress at various points throughout your first year of studies. You will receive a preliminary BSA halfway through the year based on your grades and credits earned up to that point. You will receive your definite BSA in August. You can discuss your academic progress (poor grades, your method of study, and any extenuating personal circumstances) with your education coordinator at any time throughout the year.

If you discover for yourself halfway through the year that your studies are not going very well, then you may always terminate your registration. If you do so prior to 1 March, then you will not receive a BSA. You may then re-enroll in September.  If you are not sure if you should stop or continue,  read this letter.

You may also switch to another degree program at Tilburg University or at another institution of higher education. Some programs have a February start date. Make sure you register in Studielink in time.

What should you do if you receive a negative BSA?

If you have earned less than 42 credits, you will receive a negative BSA. This BSA is binding, and means that you will not be allowed to register for the same program for the next three years, nor may you register for a program that shares the same first-year curriculum. Look at the page related bachelor’s programs for the programs to which the BSA also refers.

The BSA norm applies to each program individually. You are therefore required to meet the first-year BSA norm for each program in which you are registered.


If you perform below par during the first two teaching blocks due to extenuating circumstances, do not fool yourself into thinking that you’ll easily make up lost ground in the second semester. You might make it, but, like so much in life, nothing is certain. Be sure to notify a dean of students ( of your extenuating circumstances! She may be able to give you some tips or recommend a training course to help you get your academic progress back on track. If you wait till after the last round of exams, it will already be too late.

Required reporting of extenuating circumstances

You must inform your dean of students of circumstances leading to (or that could potentially lead to) a delay in your studies within at least two months of the circumstances arising and in any case prior to 1 July. The dean of students can then take your situation into consideration when presenting her recommendation to the examination board, who will eventually takes the definite decision.

You will likely know well in advance if you are going to run into difficulties (since all students receive a preliminary BSA halfway through their first year). We therefore recommend notifying your dean of students of any possible delay in your studies as soon as possible, but in any case before July 1. Do not wait until the final resits to bring it to their attention.

The university defines extenuating circumstances as force majeure (unforeseen circumstances beyond your control) such as illness or family problems. You must always provide written evidence (such as a medical certificate) of the extenuating circumstances.

Deferred BSA

If it is clear that you have not met the BSA norm due to extenuating circumstances that you have reported, then the dean of students may provide the examining board with a recommendation to defer your BSA. If the examining board accepts the recommendation, then you may continue your studies provisionally.

You will receive a new BSA at the end of your second year. The BSA norm in this case will depend on the number of credits you earned in your first year of studies. For example, if you got 30 credits and the bsa has been postponed, you should get another 12 credits to get a positive bsa. This only applies to first-year coursework! Second-year subjects do not count toward the first-year BSA norm. In the example shown here, if you earn 6 first-year credits and 20 second-year credits, you will still receive a negative BSA. The requirement was 12 first-year credits, after all.

If you have a deferred BSA, make sure you get in touch with the education coordinator at the beginning of the academic year to discuss which second-year subjects you will be allowed to take. You are not allowed to take exams in second-year subjects until you have earned at least 42 credits from the first year. At TSB, TLS, TSHD and TST the examination board should explicitly give permission to follow second-year subjects. At TiSEM you can get this permission from the education coordinator.

Proposed BSA

You will receive an email with the proposed BSA in August. It is possible that not all of your grades have been registered by that point, or that you have reported extenuating circumstances that have not been taken into consideration when preparing your BSA. Similarly, written evidence may be lacking. The letter accompanying your proposed BSA will explain the steps you can then take. Some schools will invite you for a hearing with the examining board prior to issuing your final BSA.

When the examination board has not adopted a positive recommendation from the dean of students, and you disagree with the intended BSA, you can appeal. You will be invited to a hearing with the examination board, where you can explain your arguments. You will then receive the final BSA.

Appeal procedures

You will receive your final BSA at the end of August. If you do not agree with your BSA, you may lodge an online appeal with the Examination Appeals Board.

To make an appointment

If you would like to make an appointment with a dean of students, please send an e-mail to You can make an appointment with the Dual Career Officer through the Student Desk. In case you want to consult the student psychologist, you need to fill out the online application form

For appointments with the education coordinator, see the web page per School.

Do you want to stop before March or not?

If you deregister from Studielink before March 1, you will not receive a BSA and you may start again in September. You can read whether it is wise to do so, or whether it is better to just continue.

See also