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VU University Amsterdam offers about 300 English-taught Bachelor’s courses in a variety of subjects, ranging from arts & culture and social sciences, neurosciences and computer science, to economics and business administration.

At some (but not all) faculties you are allowed to take Master's courses as well. If you wish to take Master's courses you are required to submit additional documents, for instance an English proficiency test.

Note that some Bachelor’s courses and all of the Master’s courses have entry requirements, which means that you must have a relevant academic background in order to be allowed to take these courses.

Courses in Dutch

Courses taught in Dutch are only accessible for students who are sufficiently proficient in the Dutch language (at least C1 level is required). Attaining such a level of proficiency will usually take several years at least, and as such it is not possible to combine the study of Dutch during your exchange programme with courses taught in Dutch. If you wish to take courses taught in Dutch, please contact us at

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 for completing this course. Note that there are costs involved in taking the Dutch language course.

Semesters & periods

At VU University, the academic year is divided into 2 semesters. These semesters, in turn, are divided into 6 periods:

Semester 1September - January
Period 1September – October
Period 2November – December
Period 3 January
Semester 2February – June
Period 4February – March
Period 5April – May
Period 6June

Credits (ECTS)

VU University Amsterdam uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), which is based on the workload students need in order to achieve expected learning outcomes. ECTS is based on the principle that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. In addition, each ECTS credit is equivalent to 28 study hours (both contact hours as well as self-study hours).

Please note that we expect you to choose courses worth a minimum of 24 ECTS for one semester or 48 ECTS for the whole academic year. A full workload consists of 30 ECTS for one semester and 60 ECTS for a full year.

Grading system

Dutch grades range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Grades of 5.5 and higher are passing grades. The highest grade 10 is only rarely awarded to a student's work. An 8 is considered a high mark, a 7 is more common. Grades from 1 (very poor) to 3 are rare.

ECTS %Quality AssessmentECTS gradeDutch grade  
10%Excellent/Very goodA8.0 - 10.0
25%GoodB7.5 - 7.9
30%More than satisfactoryC7.0 - 7.4
25%SatisfactoryD6.5 - 6.9
10%SufficientE6.0 - 6.4
 FailF0.0 - 5.0


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