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Courses in English

As an exchange student you can follow quite a number of English taught courses at our university. We also offer several English taught minors. The minors are a cohesive package of courses with a joint theme (usually 30 ECTS credits).

In principle, you must follow the majority of your courses at the Faculty where you are registered. In most cases, it is then possible to do one or two courses per semester at another Faculty if you want. Students who come in the framework of a university wide agreement (not Erasmus) can take courses at all faculties. In all cases, the Faculty that offers the course that you wish to follow will check if you meet the prerequisites for each course (e.g. bachelor students are not allowed to follow courses at masters level). Please click on the links below to see the course offer for the Faculty of your choice.

Dutch language course

The Department of Dutch as a Second Language (NT2) offers extensive Dutch language courses for exchange students. The extensive courses cover eight weeks, and take place two evenings a week. In addition to attending these classes, you will have to spend at least 5 hours per week on self-study. Exchange students can obtain 3.5 ECTS credits for completing this course. The costs for the extensive course are approximately €275. You can find more information on the website.


VU University Amsterdam uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The ECTS credit system is based on study workload, which includes contact hours and time spent completing papers and assignments and preparing for examinations. In this system, one ECTS credit represents 28 hours of study (including class attendance). A full time student is expected to earn 60 ECTS credits in one academic year, and 30 credits in one semester.


The Dutch grading system is generally based on a mark between 1 (minimum) and 10 (maximum). A grade of 6.0 or more stands for ‘pass’, a grade of less than 6.0 for ‘fail’.

 Students generally get a grade between 5 and 8. Very few students get a 9, and practically nobody will ever get a 10. An 8 is very high. A 7 is rather usual, many students get this mark.

ECTS %ECTS gradeMarks
10%A8 - 10
F0 - 5



Exchange students are non-degree students, which means that you do not receive an academic degree or diploma from VU University Amsterdam for the courses completed while you hold exchange status. You will receive an official certificate after departure indicating the courses or minor you have followed and the ECTS credits you have earned.

Academic Calendar 2012-2013

The academic year is divided in two semesters. The first semester runs from 3 September 2012 till 1 February 2013; the second semester runs from 4 February 2013 till 28 June 2013. Each semester has three periods. Each course runs for one period and has a workload of 6 ECTS.  Students take two courses in the first two periods of a semester, and one course in the third period in order to have a full workload per semester (30 ECTS). The complete year schedule, including holidays and re-sits periods, can be found here.

Fall Semester

Introduction weeks20 August 2012 – 2 September 2012 (with arrival days on 20 and 21 August 2012)
Classes first period3 September 2012 – 19 October 2012
Examinations first period22 October 2012 – 26 October 2012
Classes second period29 October 2012 – 14 December 2012
Examinations second period17 December 2012 – 21 December 2012
Christmas break24 December 2012 – 6 January 2013
Classes third period7 January 2013 – 25 January 2013
Examinations third period28 January 2013 – 1 February 2013

Spring Semester

Arrival day (provisionally)1 February 2013
Classes fourth period4 February 2013 – 22 March 2013
Examinations fourth period25 March 2013 – 28 March 2013
Classes fifth period2 April 2013 – 24 May 2013
Examinations fifth period27 May 2013 – 31 May 2013
Classes sixth period3 June 2013 – 21 June 2013
Examinations sixth period24 June 2013 – 28 June 2013
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