Policy on Master’s Degree Programmes

At VU University our master’s programmes are strongly linked to research. Students who do not aspire to an academic career should nevertheless have a clear understanding of what academic research is and what its possibilities and limitations are. To this end, all master’s students execute their own research project which terminates in a master’s thesis, or do academic work placement. The close link between research and teaching and learning also means that we do not offer master’s programmes in areas without internationally visible research.

Most of the master’s programmes educate for academic professional practice. In addition, we offer qualified students the possibility to prepare for a university career by doing a so-called research master’s programme.

As is the case with bachelor’s programmes, the rules with which the master’s programmes should comply are set out in a guideline. In order to be admitted to a master’s degree programme at our university, a relevant bachelor’s certificate is required, the so-called harde knip or the bachelor-before-master rule. In addition, we have chosen for a cohort approach, in which students not only start a programme together but also complete it together. Therefore, barring motivated exceptions, there is no second influx of students during the academic year. This enhances study discipline. For master’s programmes the nominal study duration is the norm.

Besides the bachelor’s certificate, (selective) study programmes may demand additional admission requirements. These requirements may concern motivation, talent, knowledge, skills, academic level, and language mastery. In order to obtain the desired international intake of students and to make VU University attractive for international academic staff, a large number of master’s programmes are offered in English. Proven English language proficiency, therefore, is a requirement for students and, naturally, for lecturers as well.

At VU University the relation between university and student does not end after graduation. We aspire to maintaining an active bond with all our graduates and to stimulating the bond between alumni. One way this is achieved is through Public Science. Public Science is a virtual network and represents the social image of VU University. It is a community in which alumni, students, and other socially interested parties are invited to discuss social issues related to their fields of study and professional practice. Besides, all programmes have a Professional Field Advisory Council or are in the process of establishing such a Council. Through this Council, a study programme maintains contact with the professional field for which it is educating and it monitors whether the attainment targets of the programme connect sufficiently to the needs of the consuming professional fields.