Information for incoming students

Currently,  the Islamic University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam does not accept incoming Erasmus+ students due to practical reasons.
You may check our webpage for regularly updates.

The information below contains general information about:

  • The Dutch education system;
  • IUASR’s programmes, courses and modules;
  • IUASR’s grading system;
  • Accommodation in Rotterdam;
  • Education at the IUASR;

The Dutch education system  

National higher education system in the Netherlands

The information on the national higher education system on the following pages provides a context for the qualification and the type of higher education that awarded it.

Primary and secondary education: access to higher education

Children are allowed to begin school at the age of four, but are not legally required to do so until the age of five. Primary education lasts eight years (of which seven are compulsory). During their last year, pupils are advised on which type of secondary education to pursue. Secondary education, which begins at the age of 12 and is compulsory until the age of 16, is offered in various forms and at different levels. VMBO programmes (four years) combine general and vocational education and prepare pupils to go on to senior secondary vocational education and training (MBO), lasting one to four years. There are two types of general education that grant admission to higher education: HAVO (five years) and VWO (six years). Pupils are enrolled according to their ability. The last two years of HAVO and the last three years of VWO are referred to as the second phase (tweede fase), or upper secondary education. During these years, pupils focus on one of four subject clusters (profielen), each of which emphasizes a certain field of study in addition to satisfying the general education requirements. Each cluster is designed to prepare pupils for study at the tertiary level. A pupil enrolled at a VWO or HAVO school can choose from the following subject clusters:

  • Science and Technology (Natuur en Techniek)
  • Science and Health (Natuur en Gezondheid)
  • Economics and Society (Economie en Maatschappij)
  • Culture and Society (Cultuur en Maatschappij)

Only the six-year VWO diploma grants access to bachelor programmes by research universities; the HAVO diploma and the highest level of MBO grant access to bachelor programmes offered by universities of applied sciences.

Higher education

Higher education in the Netherlands is offered at two types of institutions: research universities and universities of applied sciences. Research universities include general universities, universities specialising in engineering and agriculture, and the Open University. Universities of applied sciences include general institutions as well as institutions specialising in a specific field such as agriculture, fine and performing arts or teacher training. Whereas research universities are primarily responsible for offering research-oriented programmes, universities of applied sciences are primarily responsible for offering programmes of higher professional education, which prepare students for specific professions. These tend to be more practice oriented than programmes offered by research universities. The higher education in the Netherlands is organised around a three-cycle degree system, consisting of bachelors, master and PhD degrees. Two types of programmes are offered in higher education: research-oriented degree programmes offered primarily by research universities, and professional higher education programmes offered primarily by universities of applied sciences. In this binary, three-cycle system, bachelors, masters and PhD degrees are awarded. Short-cycle higher education leading to the Associate degree is offered by universities of applied sciences. Degree programmes and periods of study are quantified in terms of the ECTS credit system. The focus of degree programmes determines both the number of credits required to complete the programme and the degree which is awarded. A research-oriented bachelors programme requires the completion of 180 credits (3 years) and graduates obtain the degree Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science (BA/BSc) degree, depending on the discipline. A bachelors degree awarded in the applied arts and sciences requires 240 credits (4 years), and graduates obtain a degree indicating the field of study (for example, Bachelor of Engineering, B Eng, or Bachelor of Nursing, B Nursing). An associate degree in the applied arts and sciences requires 120 credits (2 years), and students who complete the 2-year programme can continue studying for a bachelors degree in the applied arts and sciences. A research-oriented masters programme requires the completion of 60, 90 or 120 credits (1, 1.5 or 2 years). In engineering, agriculture, and math and the natural sciences, 120 credits are always required. Graduates obtain a Master of Arts or Master of Science (MA/MSc). A masters degree awarded in the applied arts and sciences requires the completion of 60 to 120 credits and graduates obtain a degree indicating the field of study (for example, Master of Architecture, M Arch).  The third cycle of higher education, leading to a PhD, is offered only by research universities. The major requirement is completion of a dissertation based on original research that is publicly defended. All research universities award the PhD. In addition to doctorate, the three engineering universities offer (technological) designer programmes consisting of advanced study and a personal design assignment in a number of engineering fields. The technical designer programme requires two years of study to complete and graduates obtain the degree “Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng)”. The training of medical specialists is the responsibility of the professional group in an organisational setting at a university hospital.

Requirements for access to higher education

For access to research-oriented bachelors programmes, students are required to have a VWO diploma or to have completed the first year (60 credits) of a bachelors programme at a university of applied sciences. The minimum access requirement to universities of applied sciences is either a HAVO diploma or a diploma of secondary vocational education (MBO diploma), provided certain conditions are met. The VWO diplomas also grants access to universities of applied sciences. For access to both types of higher education, pupils are required to have completed at least one of the subject clusters that fulfils the requirements for the higher education programme in question. A quota, or numerus fixus, applies for access to certain programmes, primarily in the medical sciences, and places are allocated mainly using a weighted lottery. Potential students older than 21 years who do not possess one of the qualifications mentioned above can qualify for access to higher education based on the basis of an entrance examination and assessment (recognition of prior learning). For access to certain programmes, particularly those in the fine arts, students must have to demonstrate the required artistic abilities. The only access requirement for the Open University is that applicants be at least 18 years of age. For access to all masters programme, a bachelor degree in one or more specific disciplines is required, in some cases in combination with other requirements. Graduates with a bachelor degree in the applied arts and sciences may have to complete additional requirements for access to a research-oriented master programme.

Credit system and grading

A student workload is measured in ECTS credits. According to Dutch law, one credit represents 28 hours of work and 60 credits represents one year of full-time study. The grading system mostly used in the Netherlands is on a scale from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding). The lowest passing grade is 6; 9s are seldom given and 10s are extremely rare. Grades 1-3 are hardly ever used. The academic year is 42 weeks long.

Quality assurance and accreditation

A guaranteed standard of higher education, and alignment with the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area, is maintained through a system of legal regulation and quality assurance, in the form of accreditation. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for legislation pertaining to education and the agriculture and public health ministry play an important role in monitoring the content of study programmes in their respective fields. Quality assurance is carried out through a system of accreditation, administered by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). According to the Dutch Higher Education Act, all degree programmes offered by research universities and universities of applied sciences must be evaluated according to established criteria. Programmes that meet the criteria are accredited: i.e. recognized for a period of six years. Only accredited programmes are eligible for government funding; students receive financial aid and graduate with a recognized degree only when enrolled in, and after having completed, an accredited degree programme. All accredited programmes is listed in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes (CROHO). Besides the accreditation of degree programmes, the Netherlands has a system by which the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science recognises higher education institutions by conferring on them the status of either funded or approved. Funded indicates the the institution is fully financed by the government. Approved indicates that the institution does not receive funds from the government and has to rely on its own sources of funding. Whether a degree programme is offered by a funded or an approved institution, it must be accredited and registered in CROHO to be considered recognized.

N.B. If a bachelor or master degree programme is not registered in the CROHO, the quality is not assured by the Dutch quality assurance system. The quality may however be assured by another system.

National Qualifications Framework

An important outcome of the Bologna Process is the development of a Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area. This overarching framework provides a general and common structure for qualifications awarded in countries signatory to the Bologna Declaration, and offers recommendations and guidelines for the development of mutual understandable qualifications frameworks at national level. By the year 2010, all countries in the European Higher Education Area should have a national qualifications framework in place that complies with the goals and criteria of the European framework while describing the specific elements of each individual system. The Netherlands is one of the first countries in the European Higher Education Area to complete the national qualifications framework, which has subsequently been evaluated by the Verification Committee and found to be compatible with the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA). The National Qualifications Framework of the Netherlands describes in detail the various levels and learning outcomes associated with higher education qualifications, in terms that are internationally compatible. The responsibility for overseeing the framework and updating it when necessary has been allocated to the NVAO. Further information on the framework can be obtained on the NVAO website: For an overview of the Dutch educational system see diagram below from

The Islamic University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam is a Dutch University of Applied Sciences; do you want to learn more about the Dutch educational system? Read the information on the website of the Dutch National Agency (Nuffic):
Scroll down on the page for downloading the factsheet ‘Education system in the Netherlands. For more details about the grading system in the Netherlands you can also have a look at:

Course Catalogue

Here you can find the course catalogue of the offered programs.

Bachelor Islamic Theology

Study Guide Spiritual Care

Courses offered and Credit System

The academic credit system is based on the European Credit Transfer System in which one credit corresponds at the average to 28 hours of workload. This work includes all the activities of the student such as following the lectures attending instruction classes and the time spent for doing homework. Each year consists of a total workload of 60 credits with a total of 240 credits for the whole programme. A year consists of four quarters.

Our Bachelor Theology faculty consists of 240 EC spread over a period of four years. Our Master programme Islamic Spiritual Care programme consists of 120 EC which is spread over a period of two years. Our academic year consists of 40 weeks, excluding the weeks for the retakes. The academic year is divided into two semesters with two quarters.

 Grading schedule Bachelor programme Islamic Theology

Foundation year credits grade
Standard Arabic I 2.5
Standard Arabic II 2.5
Standard Arabic III 2.5
Standard Arabic IV 2.5
Introduction to the Qoran 5
Sirah 5
History of the Islam I 2.5
History of the Islam II 2.5
Introduction to Doctrine of Faith 5
Introduction to the Hadith 5
Study Skills 5
Learning path counselling 5
Introduction to Fiqh 5
Fiqh of Worship I 5
Tafsir of the Qoran I 5
Second Year credits grade
Standard Arabic V 2.5
Standard Arabic VI 2.5
Standard Arabic VII 2.5
Standard Arabic VIII 2.5
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid I 2.5
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid II 2.5
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid III 2.5
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid IV 2.5
Fiqh of Worship II 5
Methods of Fiqh 5
Philosophy of Religion 5
Tafsir of the Qoran II 5
Important texts from the Hadith 5
Social and communication skills 5
Denominations of faith within the Qalaam 5
Exploratory Internship 5
Third Year credits grade
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid V 2.5
Recitation of the Qoran and Tadjwid VI 2.5
Methods and Techniques 5
Fiqh of Family matters 5
Prescriptions of Islam 5
Psychology 5
Speaking Training 5
Pedagogy 5
Introduction to Comparative Theology 5
Sufism: Doctrine and Practice 5
Major Internship I 10
Capita Selecta 5
Fourth year credits grade
Bachelor Thesis 15
Elective 1 5
Elective 2 5
Elective 3 5
Elective 4 5
Major Internship II 20
Current Islamic Movements 5
Total ECTS:  240

Grading schedule Master programme Islamic Spiritual Care

First year    
Code name credits grade
M-GV01 Spiritual care as a profession 5
M-GV11 Competencies of spiritual caretakers 5
M-GV03 Psychology in Islam 5
M-GV06 Islam and ethics in healthcare 5
M-GV02 Fundamentals of Islamic spiritual care  5
M-GV12 Communicative skills for spiritual care takers 5
M-GV04 Personality psychology 5
M-GV07 Ethics in healthcare 5
M-GV09 Spiritual care in custodial institutions at the army and the police 5
M-GV05 Psychopathology 5
M-GV08 Mediation 5
M-GV10 Spiritual care in institution for care 5
Second Year    
M-GV16 Methods and Techniques 5
M-GV17 Master Thesis 20
M-GV18 Internship and supervision 20
M-GV13 Counseling 5
M-GV15 Capita Selecta 5
M-GV14 Society and spiritual care 5
Total ECTS:  120

Each programme has goals which are translated into end qualifications. In formulating these end qualifications the Dublin Descriptors are the leading factors. These end qualifications are populated in a balanced way with a number of modules which are determined by the programme management in which the teaching staff and external stakeholders are involved.

The modules are mostly in multiples of 5 EC based on the fact that too small modules would make the programme too fragmented while too large modules would make it inflexible. After assigning the modules to the programme, learning outcomes are formulated for each module. The determination of the learning outcomes for each module is done by the faculty and the teaching staff. These learning outcomes are essentially an expansion of the end qualification at module level. After each exam period, the examination board monitors 25% of the exams. The purpose of these evaluations is mainly to find out whether the learning outcomes can be found back in the exam questions. The workload of module is periodically assessed against the assigned credits. This is both done with the results of the exams and on statistically representative student populations. The idea behind this twofold assessment is to base the credit assignments on results obtained in a stressful and relaxed situation. The statistical method is performed in the following way: A group of students are asked to study a certain amount of text from a compulsory textbook in a given timeframe. After the study they are asked two answer questions based on the studied text. The scores of the students are then used to evaluate the credit of the module in a twofold scaling process. First the timeframe is converted to the total amount of time reserved for the module. Secondly the average score of the students is converted to the pass mark. Furthermore, the time allocated for the contact hours and all other kind of learning activities are included in the estimation of the credits.

In order to ease the credit transfer between other programmes, both nationally and internationally, while maintaining the quality the modules are assessed on the basis of learning outcomes. A reasonable amount of overlap of the learning outcomes between the home module and the host module is sought after rather than a perfect match.

The courses in English language to be offered in the future to incoming students are as follows:

name of module ECTS
Standard Arabic I (Beginner)  2.5
Standard Arabic II (Intermediate)  2.5
Standard Arabic III (Upper Intermediate)  2.5
Standard Arabic IV (Advanced)  2.5
Quran Recitation and Tajwied  5
Introduction to Fiqh  5
Study Skills and Research Methods  5
Methods of Fiqh  5
Psychopathology 10
Ethics in Health Care 10

Accommodation in Rotterdam

Students coming to the Islamic University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam will encounter a vibrant city. They obviously will have many possibilities for accommodation in the city;  this vibrant metropolis has to offer many possibilities to incoming students.

The IUASR is situated in the north of Rotterdam, near the city centre. The IUASR has no housing facilities to offer for incoming students. Thus as an incoming student you should search for a room or (shared) house in Rotterdam or the municipalities in the near.

In Holland, students usually do not live on campus but have their own room. There are many options for arranging the accommodation that suits you best, but make sure you start looking for a room as soon as possible.

What to expect

You may have to share the shower, toilet, kitchen and living room with other students. Also, the rooms may be quite small (15-24 m2) in comparison to what you are used to.

Some accommodation providers have more elaborate services for international students, such as transportation pick up at the airport and assistance in handling administrative procedures necessary for studying in the Holland. You can find more information about this on the websites of the various accommodation providers.

Rent and bills

An average room in Holland costs somewhere between 300 to 900 a month.

Before you take on a room, make sure you check what bills are included in the rent, as this may have a large impact on your budget. Some accommodations include gas, electricity, TV and Internet in the rent, for others you are expected to pay them separately.

Most rental contracts run for at least six months or a year when you are enrolled in a course programme.

Furnished or unfurnished?

Find out if a room is furnished or unfurnished. The quality can vary greatly and furnishings can range from just a bed and a chair to a fully-equipped room with internet. If you decide to go for an unfurnished room, you can buy cheap furniture at second-hand shops in your city.

Check your contract

Make sure you read your rental contract before signing it. Check what you are allowed to do with your room, for example, you may not be allowed to paint the walls. Also, ask who you should speak to if you have a problem, for example a blocked drain.

If you have a complaint about your accommodation, you should speak first to the person directly responsible. If you need help, you can ask the housing officer or accommodation coordinator at your university.

More information

If you want to look for accommodation yourself, you can try these websites:
The Student Hotel

Source of the information above is partially from the National Agency Nuffic website ‘Study in Holland’.

Education at the IUASR

Education styles

The education consists of lectures, seminars and self-study. Research tasks and practical training are also an important part of the education. The curriculum is made up of modules (subjects, education units or education components). With a module is meant a coherent programme of lectures, trainings, preparation time, study time, either a block or a training or (research) thesis. Each module has a certain number of credits granted. The descriptions of modules are given in the study guides. Each module has its own code and teaching style (form) and evaluation forms.

Language Policy

The level of English of Dutch students is of high level, we do offer (for equal opportunities) intensive English courses within the institution. For these purposes we use the proficiency levels of B1 – B2.

Our University does not offer any other specific training when it comes to European language studies but we can provide advice for intensive language courses for incoming exchange students who wants to improve their language skills. Even though language courses are offered the focus of learning outcomes require the English language as its main communication tool.

During the lectures, a group of students listen to the lecturer, mostly for the theoretical subjects. With the subject of such a lecture, the students get to work. A lecture is a general, oral presentation of a subject through the speaker while the students listen, make notes and at the end of the lecture can ask questions. A lecture typically takes one hour and 30 minutes with one 15- minute break. Students are expected to actively participate in colleges.

Work-lectures /seminaries
A work-lecture or seminar is followed by a small group of students. During the seminars, the students do participate in conversations and discussions. There is an active contribution expected. A seminar is an interactive, in-depth discussion of the contents of a subject between a teacher (tutor) and a small group of students. Students are expected to have an active attitude because they must hand over a piece of homework.

Self-study and study material
The student prepares the material own by self. In addition, the guidance provided in the form of meetings (contact hours) and guidance remotely via telephone or e-mail.

For the study is often made use of different materials such as readers, dictates, text books, computers, and manuals. Each material is almost always in chapters divided into the following parts:

  • A description of the module, the name of the lecturer, the objective, the skills, way of assessment, bibliographical references.
  • A brief Introduction, which indicates where the subject is about and what knowledge they use, and where the learning goals of the course material explicitly formulated;
  • The core topics in successive chapters with the actual material, from which the study guidelines are supported by references, tasks and instructions, concepts, examples, literature instructions for further study and summaries.

Research tasks
For some modules, the student has to write a piece of a research work (work piece, paper). A work piece is of limited size and includes a report of the works employed. However, a thesis usually consists of a larger text than that of a work piece. Depending on its content, the work piece and the thesis both can be written individually and in groups. In most cases, these are individual acts. Students are expected to be able to demonstrate that they have understood the subject of the module, that they have read the necessary literature, that they are able to analyse the key matters and that they themselves can express the matters on a clear and bright way.

Practical training and supervision
Some master programmes such as spiritual care and imam training obligate the students to do work experience in a relevant institution. The work experience is more of a practical training than scientific research training. It consists of a short training of 2 x 40 work hours and a large training of 200 work hours. That can be both in mental health (care) institutions, peripheral hospitals and in prisons. An additional training of 140 hours is possible. The student is provided for a consultation by the training coordinator, who helps the student about the careful selection of the training institution. The training institution must be recognized as such by the coordinator of the traineeship. The content and the level of the training are approved by the training supervisors on the spot and the training coordinator of the university.

The student finishes the training with a report. The evaluation of the training takes place according to the learning goals and skills. In the regulation of the training, the objectives and assessment methods are recorded separately. Each student is provided for a training manual and official documents as such training contract, learning goals and training rules and regulations.

Before or after the training period there is also the possibility to make use of the supervision.

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