Rotterdam, July 3 2013
Update statement Media Design and Communication course 

In line with earlier correspondence, I hereby send you an update on the situation regarding the diplomas of the Master Media Design and Communication which were handed out in the period between 2003 and 2008 and which did not meet the required formal standards.

Unfortunately, the diplomas that were handed out carried the incorrect title ‘Master of Arts’. The Piet Zwart Institute should have, according to Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, rewarded you the title ‘Master of Media Design’.

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have discussed these matters, but have not reached a common understanding. At the time, according to the Ministry, it did not concern a valid accreditation of a master course, but the accreditation of a so-called postgraduate course (in Dutch: ‘voortgezette opleiding’), which leads to a postgraduate diploma in Media Design and Communication.

Because of this difference of opinion, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences decided to consult prof. Mr. Zoontjes for expert legal advice. Prof. Mr. Zoontjes is a professor in educational law at the University of Tilburg and a former legislative lawyer of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. After a thorough analysis of the legislative framework, he has come to the conclusion that in the period concerned (before 2008) there was indeed a master course and therefore the perspective of gaining a master diploma. 

Prof. Mr. Zoontjes concludes that according to the starting point of the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), by decision of October 28 2008, the accreditation that went into force on January 1 2009 was the legal continuation of the accreditation granted by law. This was also logical in the context of the system of the law. The law only states bachelor and master courses; the so-called postgraduate courses were – in the context of transitional law – only of significance in terms of funding. This leads to the conclusion that the Media Design and Communication course automatically (by law) became and has continuously been a master course since the moment the accreditation went into force. This opinion seamlessly matches the vision of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Based on that which is stated above, Rotterdam University takes the view that the title ‘master’ was correctly awarded for the course in question in the period between 2003 and 2008. The diplomas with the incorrect title ‘Master of Arts’ will be exchanged for diplomas with the correct title ‘Master of Media Design’.

Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences will notify the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Education Executive Agency (in Dutch: ‘Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs’ or ‘DUO’), which takes care of the validation of the diplomas, of our vision and consequent actions.

Shortly, we will make former students a proposal of how they can change their old diploma for a new diploma with the correct title.

If our graduates are unexpectedly confronted by third parties with doubts about the quality of their diploma, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences offers legal support if requested.

Chairman of the Board
Hogeschool Rotterdam
M.J.G. Bormans