Course selection process

If you choose not to take a minor, please first carefully read through the steps below before choosing courses from the Exchange Study Guide.

You can choose 1100+ English-taught Bachelor and Master-level courses. 

When choosing courses, please make sure to only choose courses listed under the Exchange programme in the study guide. Not all courses listed in degree programmes are available to be taken as a Semester in Amsterdam student. All courses listed in the Exchange Study Guide are taught in English, but you can always check the language via the details in the course description. 

Please note the following:

  • Although Semester in Amsterdam students choose from the same course list as exchange students, the Semester in Amsterdam Programme is a separate programme from the Exchange Programme at VU Amsterdam. Semester in Amsterdam students follow different procedures and use a different contact e-mail address.
  • Course lists for the new academic year are posted in June/July and the timetables are published a few months before the start of each semester. 
  • Most courses are offered each year, however, students applying for the fall semester should note that course lists for the new academic year will not be published until June/July.
  • Until the new course lists and timetables are posted, your choices are provisional and subject to change. For this reason we suggest having back-up course selections ready.

The academic year is divided into two semesters. The first (Fall) semester consists of periods 1-3 and runs from September to January. The second (Spring) semester consists of periods 4-6 and runs from February to June. Students generally take two courses in the first two periods of the semester. You can also choose to take an extra course in one period. You can also choose to skip the last period and return home in June or December.

Some courses require pre-knowledge or prior courses in a related field. The entry requirements, recommended background knowledge, and target audience will be indicated on the course description page. 

In general, you should choose courses which match your level. Undergraduate courses at VU Amsterdam range from level 100 to 300 with 100 being first year/introductory, 200 being second year/middle, and 300 being third year/advanced. If you wish to take a 200-level course, then you should at least be in your second year of Bachelor study. If you wish to take a 300-level course, then you should at least be in your third year of Bachelor study. 

Master courses range from 400 to 600. In addition to course-specific entry requirements, students interested in following Master-level courses must also meet the admission requirements for the graduate degree programme to which the course belongs. This includes submitting a copy of your Bachelor diploma and proof of an English proficiency test (for non-native speakers).

A regular workload for one semester is 30 ECTS. Most courses are 6 ECTS. VU Amsterdam requires students to take a minimum of 24 ECTS and a maximum of 30 ECTS per semester. You can choose how to divide up your credits across the semester. Students usually take two courses worth 6 ECTS each period. We do not advise students to take more than 3 courses in one period.

You may also choose to take an elective Dutch course. Our Dutch electives are offered in the evenings and are guaranteed not to overlap with your other courses. Please confirm with your home university or provider if you are required to take a Dutch course.

  • Discover the Dutch (includes language component; spans periods 1 & 2 in the fall, and 4 & 5 in the spring)
  • Imagining the Dutch: themes in Dutch Culture (spans periods 1 & 2 in the fall, and 4 & 5 in the spring)