Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers hundreds of English-taught courses at both the Bachelor's and Master's level, ranging from arts & culture and social sciences, neurosciences and computer science, to economics and business administration. Below is an overview of course offerings and minor programmes available to incoming exchange students.
Exchange study guide
Note that the exchange study guide is subject to change.
Exchange students must always select courses from our exchange study guide. Selecting courses from our regular Bachelor's or Master's programmes is unfortunately not possible. However, there are a few exceptions:
- Courses taught in Dutch. If you wish to take Dutch-taught courses, you need to be sufficiently proficient in the Dutch language (C1 level). Attaining such a level of proficiency usually takes several years of study. If you wish to take courses taught in Dutch, please contact us at [email protected].
- Courses for PPE students. If you are a PPE student from one of our PPE partners, you are allowed to also choose from a total of 18 courses from our PPE Bachelor's programme. You can find the overview of courses on the programme page in the VU study guide. Note, however, that your choice is limited to the second-year courses within the Track Philosophy 2nd Year, the Track Political Science 2nd Year & the Track Economics 2nd Year.
Follow a minor programme! (first semester only)
We strongly encourage exchange students to follow one of our minor programmes rather than piecing together their own schedule. These are pre-packaged selections of approximately five related Bachelor's courses that span the entire semester. Most minors are Interdisciplinary and so are open to students from any background, however some minors do have prerequisites and can only be found under the faculty that offers it. One big advantage of selecting a minor is that you will not have overlapping classes in your schedule. Minors do show a focused area of study, so you may also choose to list them on your CV.
University minors 2021-2022 (open to all students)
- A Christian Worldview?
- American Studies
- Bible Translation in the Digital Age
- Brain and Mind
- Buddhism, Yoga and Spirituality
- Business Administration
- Development and Global Challenges
- Digital Humanities and Social Analytics
- European Urban and Cultural History
- Foreign Language Learning
- Gender and Diversity
- Law and Global Society
- Managing Digital Innovation
- Orthodox Christianity
- Peace and Conflict Studies
- Peace Theology and Anabaptist-Mennonite Traditions
- Political Science
- Psychology and the Brain
- Religion, Law and Society
- Religious Dimensions of Global Challenges
- Risk Management for Financial Institutions
- Technology, Law & Ethics
Faculty minors 2021-2022 (please note that these minor programmes have specific entry requirements)
Minors Behavioural and Human Movement Sciences
Minors Economics and Business Administration
- Applied Econometrics: A Big Data Experience for All
- E-business and Online Commerce
- Health Care Management
- Real Estate Economics and Finance
- Sustainability: Management and Innovation
- Understanding and Influencing Decisions in Business and Society
Minors Earth and Life Sciences
- Biomedical and Health Interventions
- Biomedical Topics in Health Care
- Biomolecular & Neurosciences track Biomolecular Sciences
- Biomolecular & Neurosciences track Neurosciences
- Earth Surface track Earth Sciences
- Earth Surface track Earth, Economics & Sustainability
- Evolutionary Biology and Ecology
- Five Big Issues in Health
- Geo Information minor
- Global Health
- Topics in Biomedical Sciences
Minors Social Sciences
Minor Programmes Faculty of Medicine VU
VU partner exchange students who wish to apply need to have completed at least 90 ECTS in a relevant programme, for example medicine, biomedicine, psychobiology, technical medicine, medical biology, liberal arts & sciences or biopharmaceutical sciences. Please mind that some tracks are only open to medical students, and acceptance also depends on the availability of sufficient spots. More information: https://med.vu.nl/en/Programs/International-minor-VUmc-Medical-Sciences/index.aspx
Some Bachelor’s level courses have specific entry requirements, which you can find in the exchange study guide.In addition to course specific entry requirements, students interested in following Master’s level courses must also meet the admission requirements for the Master’s degree programme to which the course belongs. This includes a copy of your Bachelor’s diploma and submitted proof of an English proficiency test result. For more information please see our nomination and application procedure.
Courses and registration deadlines
The International Office will ask you submit your course selection in advance. If approved, your course list will be made available in your VUweb account. Please note that you must still register for courses yourself in VUweb. Course registration for the first semester of each academic year will start in July. Course registration for the second semester will start in December. Any changes to your course selection must be emailed to [email protected] before the registration deadlines (see further below).
Exams and resit exams
When you register for courses in VUweb, you must also register for work groups (if applicable) and for the first exam. In the event of failing a course, you must register for the resit examination at least two weeks prior to the examination date.
Semesters & periods
At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the academic year is divided into 2 semesters. Each semester is divided into 3 periods:
Academic year 2020-2021
|1st semester (Fall)||Course registration||September - January|
|Period 1||20 July - 7 September 2020||September – October|
|Period 2||14 September - 5 October 2020||November – December|
|Period 3||23 November - 14 December 2020||January|
|2nd semester (Spring)||February – June|
|Period 4||16 December 2020 - 11 January 2021
||February – March|
|Period 5||8 February - 8 March 2021
||April – May|
|Period 6||12 April - 3 May 2021
For details about our semester dates, please consult our academic calendar:
VU Amsterdam uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) which is based on the workload students should have in order to achieve expected learning outcomes. ECTS is based on the principle that 30 ECTS credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one semester (and 60 ECTS for a full academic year). In addition, each ECTS credit is equivalent to 28 study hours (which includes both classroom hours as well as self-study). Most courses are 6 ECTS credits.
If you are nominated on a faculty contract, you are expected to follow the majority of your courses at that faculty with a minimum of 18 ECTS out of 30. Additionally, you are allowed to follow 12 ECTS at other faculties, provided you have the relevant academic background. As an exchange student, you must take a minimum of 24 ECTS credits per semester (or 48 ECTS for the whole academic year).
Dutch grades range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Grades of 5.5 and higher are passing grades. The highest grade, 10, is very rarely awarded. An 8 is considered a high mark and a 7 is more common. Grades from 1 to 3 are also quite rare.
|ECTS %||Quality Assessment||ECTS grade||Dutch grade|
|10%||Excellent/Very good||A||8.0 - 10.0|
|25%||Good||B||7.5 - 7.9|
|30%||More than satisfactory||C||7.0 - 7.4|
|25%||Satisfactory||D||6.5 - 6.9|
|10%||Sufficient||E||5.5 - 6.4|
|Fail||F||0.0 - 5.4|
Dutch language courses
The Department of Dutch as a Second Language (NT2 Academy) offers extensive Dutch language courses for exchange students. These courses cover eight weeks and take place two evenings a week. In addition to attending these class hours students are also expected to commit at least five hours of self-study per week. Exchange students can obtain 3.5 ECTS for completing this course. Please note that there are costs involved. As an (exchange) student you get a discount on the course fee.
Feel free to contact us with any remaining questions at [email protected] after reading the above information.