TU/e limits intake from 2018/2019 to secure quality

Student intake at Eindhoven University of Technology has doubled in the past decade. In order to secure the quality of the education and manage the growth, TU/e has decided to prepare the way for introducing an upper limit to student intake combined with student selection criteria for four Bachelor study programs, to take force as of the academic year 2018/2019. By setting upper limits TU/e will ensure that the ratio of students to academic staff is maintained at the right level and that the essential relationship between research and education remains intact.

TU/e is growing faster than planned. The growth target set in 2011 for 2020, from around 7500 to 11000 students, has almost been reached already. It is a figure that makes the university proud, all the more given the consistently high quality scores that the university receives from the students themselves and from industry, among others. But to retain this high level of quality, measures have to be taken. Management of this growth will enable the university to secure this level and continue to produce top engineering graduates. This is part of the societal task of the university.

The upper limits are being prepared for four Bachelor study programs, namely Industrial Design, Biomedical Engineering (including the variant Medical Sciences and Technology), Industrial Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering (with two variants: Software Science and Web Science).

“We want to respond to the need for more engineers, and we are going to our utmost to achieve that,” rector Frank Baaijens explains. “However, in our view small-scale education with intensive contact between lecturer and student is an absolute necessity to educate the engineers that society and industry need. In some of our studies the number of students per academic is threatening to become excessive and this is why we are introducing upper limits. We are also discussing this issue with business and industry in the Brainport region.” As Baaijens notes, simply accommodating extra growth with extra academic staff is not an option. “Government funding trails behind the growth in student numbers. Moreover, it doesn’t cover the costs of the research that new academics would have to undertake in order to properly bind science and education together.”

Implementing the upper limits is quite an operation. During the preparation period TU/e will be monitoring the development of student numbers. The intake limit will only be introduced if really necessary and no earlier than 2018/2019.

Since the growth targets for 2020 have already been achieved, and the growth appears set to continue, TU/e is currently updating its strategy that is based on principles like excellence, small-scale education, the interrelationship between and quality of research and education, and investment by the university in people rather than in bricks and mortar.