The Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) for Master Degree

The Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) can be obtained for a selected number of master’s degree programmes. The Dutch higher education institutions offer many international master’s degree programmes. Candidates can receive a postgraduate education and earn one of the following Dutch degrees: Master of Arts, Master of Science, or a Professional Master’s degree. A Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree is an academic degree, usually awarded by traditional (researchoriented) universities on completion of a postgraduate researchoriented course of one to two years in duration. Professional Master’s degrees are awarded by different types of higher education institutions that offer more professionally-oriented programmes. Professional master’s degrees are usually of shorter duration than a research-orientedmaster’s degree programme. The duration of the programmes varies between 9 and 24 months.

A candidate applying for an NFP fellowship for a master’s degree programme must:

  • be a mid-career professional with at least three years’ relevant work experience;
  • be a national of, and working and living in one of the developing countries on the NFP country list valid at the time of application;
  • be nominated by his or her employer, who pledges to continue paying the candidate’s salary and guarantees the candidate will be able to return to the same or an equivalent position at the end of the fellowship period;
  • have been unconditionally admitted by a Dutch institution to one of the master’s degree programmes on the course list 2012-2013. This means that the candidate must have met all the requirements set by the Dutch institution;
  • not already have received an NFP master’s degree fellowship;
  • not be employed by:
    • a multinational corporation (for instance Shell, Unilever etc.) or
    • a large national and/-or commercial organisation or
    • a bilateral donor organisation (for instance USAID, DFID, Danida, Sida, FinAid, AusAid, ADC, SwissAid etc.) or
    • multilateral donor organisation, (for instance a UN organisation, the World Bank, the IMF, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, IADB, etc.) or
    • international NGO’s (for instance Oxfam, Plan, Care, etc.)
  • have completed and submitted an NFP master’s degree programme fellowship application including all the required documentation before the applicable NFP fellowship application deadline;
  • be employed in an area to which the study will make a relevant contribution;
  • have a clear-cut, functional relationship with a relevant organisation and be in a position to introduce the newly acquired skills and knowledge into that organisation;
  • be available for the entire period of the programme and be physically and mentally able to take part in the entire programme;
  • endorse the objective and the aim of the NFP. The aim of the NFP cannot be reached if the fellowship holder does not return to his or her own country. Nuffic would like to urge fellowship holders to return to their home country upon finishing the course or programme to meet the NFP aim in the most effective way.
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Fellowship application procedure
As stated above, to be eligible for an NFP fellowship, candidates need to be admitted to the master’s degree programme for which they would like an NFP fellowship.

Please note that the fellowship application procedure has two important types of deadlines:

  1. the academic admission deadline;
  2. the fellowship application deadline.

More information about these deadlines can be found below.

Obtaining academic admission to a master´s degree programme
Candidates first apply for admission directly to the Dutch institution that offers the master’s degree programme of their choice. The Dutch institution assesses the application and decides whether or not to admit the candidate to the programme. Candidates will receive a letter from the institution informing them if they have been admitted. Nuffic has no part in the admission application process. A candidate applying for an NFP fellowship must have been unconditionally admitted to a Dutch institution for the course or programme for which the candidate applies for an NFP fellowship. This means that the candidate must have met all the academic and administrative requirements set by the Dutch institution.

Candidates are strongly advised to apply as early as possible for admission to the Dutch institution to allow these institutions enough time to process all the applications for admission in time.

Academic admission deadline
This indicates the latest date that the Dutch institution will accept applications from candidates who also wish to apply for an NFP fellowship.

The academic admission deadlines for admission to master’s degree programmes vary per programme and can change throughout the year. For this reason, candidates are advised to contact the Dutch institution directly for up-to-date information. Occasionally, the Dutch institution’s deadline for applying for admission to a programme is later than the NFP deadline for fellowship applications. Nevertheless, to be eligible for an NFP fellowship, candidates need to be admitted to the master’s degree programme for which they would like an NFP fellowship at the time of the NFP fellowship applications deadline. On the master’s degree programmes overview, the academic admission deadline is listed for each entry.

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Applying for an NFP fellowship
Candidates can only apply for a fellowship for one master’s degree programme per fellowship application deadline. Being admitted to more than one programme with the same fellowship application deadline means that candidates can only apply for a fellowship for one of the short courses.

Applications have to be submitted through Scholarships Online (SOL). Through SOL candidates can apply for fellowships online and they can check the status of an application. Other parties such as the Dutch institutions, the embassies and consulates will use SOL to assess NFP fellowship applications.

SOL can be accessed through This page also contains more instructions about applying online.

What does an NFP master’s degree programme fellowship application consist of?

  • a completed online NFP fellowship application submitted via SOL3;
  • an employer’s statement nominating the candidate for an NFP fellowship;
  • a copy of a valid official identity document;
  • a Statement of Government Authority (if applicable4);
  • a motivation on why you want to pursue this master’s degree programme;
  • a motivation on the relevance for your organisation (how will your organisation benefit from the master’s degree programme you wish to follow?);
  • a motivation on the relevance for your country (how will your country benefit from the master’s degree programme you wish to follow?);
  • a plan of action (how will you put your new skills and knowledge to work when you return to your employing organisation?)

For more information and formats of the requested documents visit

Fellowship application deadline
Two deadlines have been introduced for submitting fellowship applications for master’s degree programmes. Fellowship applications for master’s degree programmes must be submitted before the following fellowship application deadlines.

  1. SOL open for online applications: 1 November 2011 | Fellowship application deadline: 7 February 2012
  2. SOL open for online applications: 1 February 2012 | Fellowship application deadline: 1 May 2012

The deadlines for paper fellowship applications are always one month before the online application deadline. The paper fellowship application deadlines are: 1 January 2012 and 1 April 2012.

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Fellowship applications received after the fellowship application deadline are not considered.

What happens after an application is submitted?
The Dutch institution that offers the programme will indicate in Scholarships Online if the candidate has been admitted. Each application will be assessed against the eligibility criteria listed above and, if formulated, against the country-specific priorities.

Selection procedure
Both the Dutch institution and the embassy or consulate will assess the fellowship application. The Dutch institutions will focus on academic qualities while the embassies and consulates will look at the relevance of the application for the development of the employing organisation or country. If applicable, the application also needs to comply with country-specific priorities. These assessments will lead to a selection.

Finally, Nuffic awards the grant covering part of the fellowship holders’ costs, including the tuition fees, to the Dutch institution. The Dutch institutions make the logistical arrangements and pay each fellowship holder a monthly allowance for the duration of the master’s degree programme. They also administer the fellowships and give guidance to the fellowship holders.

The selection procedure has a very strict time frame. Between 10 to 16 weeks after the fellowship application deadline candidates have to respond to a availability request. Indicating availability means that if selected the candidate is still available for an NFP fellowship. The candidate needs to respond within 7 days after the request has been sent.

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