Coronavirus: Carefully returning to campus

Read the latest update of Monday 25 May.

05/25/2020 | 12:00 PM

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- Frequently asked questions
- Contact points
- Information for international students (current and prospective)
- Working from home
- Study from home
- Updates: archive
- Exams with online proctoring



Student exchange upcoming semester (fall 2020)
The Executive Board of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has established the guidelines regarding student exchange for the upcoming semester. In ensuring the security and health of all our students, VU Amsterdam has decided that, under the current circumstances, advice as put forward by the Ministry of Foreign affairs will be the primary source in deciding whether student exchange can take place. The decision to cancel student exchange with our partners will be made two months before the start of the semester at the partner university and cancelled in case the following scenarios apply:

  1. If the country has a travel warning (corona related yellow, orange or red), AND 
  2. In case the partner university does not offer online education in the first semester of academic year 2020/2021 or if this option has not been announced yet. 

You can find more information on VUnet.



From 15 June, we will be allowed to teach and do research again on our campus. This is a great development, in addition to the ongoing online education. We will start with location-based education such as practicals and location-based research. This news will ensure that some of our students and researchers will be able to return to the campus to get started again.

For teaching on location, lecture times are rescheduled, so that students do not have to travel during the morning and afternoon rush hour. This has been done to reduce crowds in the streets and in public transport, so that keeping a distance remains possible and the virus has as little chance of spreading again.

We will start to provide location-based education between 11:00 and 15:00 hrs. Students who need to come to VU Amsterdam by public transport will only have to start their journey after the morning rush hour. Education may, according to national guidelines, end before 15:00 or after 20:00 hrs. This is to ensure that the return journey by public transport is not rush hour either. In exceptional cases, location-based education can also be provided after 20.00 hrs. Students who are again able to follow education on campus, will be informed via Canvas in the coming period.
Working on campus
We want to be careful with the room we’re getting at the moment. We have decided to initially focus on location-based activities, particularly teaching and research. In addition to these activities, we will continue to work from home as much as possible.

Within the available room, we are currently working on scenarios in which, in addition to location-based activities, other activities can also be started in phases and to a limited extent. We understand that everyone wants to return to VU Amsterdam, and we are convinced that there are certainly possibilities within the limitations. However, defining a one-and-a-half-meter university is a huge logistical puzzle. We expect that from 2 June more people will be able to get back to work on campus. This will be further elaborated next week, managers will also be informed.

On campus, if we can. Online, because we can
We expect a 'hybrid' form of education for a longer period of time: online, and where possible, on campus. What that will look like in daily practice from 1 September is still a complex puzzle. Much will also depend on the expected crowds in public transport.

During the corona crisis, you may expect high-quality education from VU Amsterdam that students can fully participate in. On campus, if we can. Online, because we can. Even if education on campus continues step by step and there are students who cannot or are not yet allowed to come to campus, alternative online opportunities are offered. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to offer an online alternative for location-based education.

Teachers, educational staff and students will receive further information by email about the development of education in the summer period and the coming academic year. 



Conditions for going from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s published today

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam have therefore examined how an exception to the rule can be made possible for the 2020-2021 academic year, so that students do not get stuck in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s because of the corona crisis. For each programme it has been examined how students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses, under certain conditions, can start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2020-2021 academic year, in other words no later than 1 September 2021.

Some Master's programmes with multiple start dates have chosen to recommend a start date later in the 2020-2021 academic year. For a number of other Master's programmes, an exception to the rule turned out not to be feasible after all.

Today, students can find the specific conditions for starting on a Master’s programme on the relevant page at

International students

  • All EEA students are subject to the same admission conditions. However, completing a Bachelor’s in your home country while starting an intensive programme of study here will be very difficult, and we do not recommend it.
  • This rule does not apply to non-EEA students. Non-EEA students must have obtained their Bachelor’s degree (when studying outside of the Netherlands) before starting a Master’s degree at VU Amsterdam. For questions, please contact the International Office at [email protected].



Contact and frequently asked questions
What are the consequences of the coronavirus for working and studying at VU Amsterdam? Read our frequently asked questions. The FAQ will be updated as soon as there is new information to share. If your question is not listed, employees and students of VU Amsterdam can contact their information points

Information about the new coronavirus
You can find the most up-to-date information about the new coronavirus on the website of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The RIVM is monitoring the situation in the Netherlands and has a questions & answers page available about the coronavirus. VU Amsterdam is following the advice of the RIVM closely, together with other Dutch universities.

Travelling abroad
Under the current circumstances, business trips and trips for study, internships and research abroad are not considered necessary by VU Amsterdam and must be postponed or cancelled. Employees can contact their manager for advice and students can contact the International Office ([email protected]).

What can people do to prevent the spread of coronavirus?
The most important measures that people can implement to prevent the spread of coronavirus are quite simple. It is important to implement them, as they apply to all viruses related to the flu or cold:

  • Wash your hands with soap regularly
  • Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
  • Use paper handkerchiefs
  • Don't shake hands
  • Keep a good distance from other people (at least 1.5 metres)