A pre-master's is a transfer programme for students of a Dutch University of Applied Sciences or Dutch Research University who wish to obtain a university master's degree, but who cannot be admitted directly.
A pre-master's is a transfer programme intended to bridge the gap between your current bachelor's and your future master's. It serves to prepare you for the master's of your choice. There is no general programme; every master's has its own pre-master's. Naturally, acquiring the required domain-specific knowledge is an essential part of the programme. Moreover, the pre-master's can contain a mathematical and methodological component and acquiring the necessary academic skills is important for university of applied sciences (HBO) students.
After your admittance to the (pre-)master's and after successful completion, i.e. you obtained the required number of EC credits, you can start with the master's of your choice.
Will you continue studying or will you make a start in the labour market? Take a good look at the reasons why you should continue your studies and obtain your university master's degree!
There is no real difference, the programme is identical. However, the route you choose after or during your bachelor's is different. If you follow a pre-master's in your minor space as a university of applied sciences (HBO) student, it is called a transfer minor. You save time and money with a transfer minor: the programme of (usually) 30 EC fits within your minor space and you do not incur any extra costs because you have already paid tuition fees for your bachelor's degree. An interesting option!
This is different for university students (WO), the pre-master's is tailor-made. Be sure to inquire in advance about the possibilities of doing the pre-master's in the minor of your university bachelor's.