How to apply

  • Students from universities that do not already have an existing exchange partnership with VU Amsterdam. Not sure? Please contact your home university.
  • Students who are for any reason not eligible to participate in their university's exchange programme with VU Amsterdam.
  • Students from providers and partner universities who have an official study abroad partnership with VU Amsterdam.
  • Students from universities that do not have any agreement with VU Amsterdam, but are allowed to participate in direct enrolment.
  • Individuals not currently enrolled at a university but seeking academic or professional development opportunities.

Before applying, please make sure you have read the Semester in Amsterdam General Terms and Conditions.

  • All applicants must have completed at least one year of university studies in order to be admissible to the programme.  If you have completed less than 1 year of university studies, please see the VU Amsterdam Gap Year Experience instead.
  • Applicants must have completed at least 2 years of university-level coursework before arrival.  In special circumstances, we may be able to consider applicants who have only completed 1 year of university-level courses, but these applicants will be limited to 100 and 200 level courses.  Applicants with less than one year of university-level experience should apply to the Gap Year Experience Programme instead.
  • Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) based on the 4.0 American scale (comparable to a 7.5 average on the ECTS system).
  • All applicants should have a minimum B2-C1 level English.  While English language test scores are only required of Master-level applicants, all applicants are expected to possess an adequate level of English before arrival.

While students are admitted to the programme based on the general admission requirements outlined above, students are also expected to meet the background requirements for each of the courses they wish to take. Please pay special attention to any recommended or required background knowledge listed in the course descriptions for each of your chosen courses. While some courses are open to be taken as elective courses by students with all different kinds of academic backgrounds, other courses require you to have more specific background knowledge in a specific field. 

Please make sure to only choose courses from the options listed here. 

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme does not require English language test scores from Bachelor-level applicants. 

Master-level Applicants

Applicants who have completed their (English-taught) education in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia are exempted from this requirement, as are those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only), or Surinam VWO diploma.  If you have completed a full bachelor degree programme in English, you are also exempt from this requirement.

Please note that you can apply before taking this test and/or submitting your results. 

Deadline for English language test submissions: 

  • 1 June for students who require a study visa
  • 31 August for students with the EU/EEA nationality and other student who do not require a study visa

Please be aware that it may take longer than expected to receive your English language test results. It is therefore best to take the test far in advance. We accept the following tests and minimum scores:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (only the Academic IELTS test is accepted)
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test: 92
  • VU TOEFL ITP: 580 (only the TOEFL ITP test from VU Amsterdam is accepted)
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): Grade A, B or C/ minimum score of 176
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade A, B or C/ minimum score of 176

Tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the current academic year.

If you will be participating in the Semester in Amsterdam Programme through a provider, please apply directly through your provider.

Our staff will check the following:

  • Your application is complete and includes all required documents
  • You meet our standard admission criteria
  • You meet all of the entry requirements for your chosen courses

Please Note:

  • You will not be asked for course selections until your application is complete.
  • Courses are finalised after the course lists and timetables for the current academic year are posted online. The course lists for each academic year are posted in July and the timetables are posted a few months before the start of each semester.  This means that for the fall semester you will apply using courses from the previous academic year.
  • Until the course lists and timetables for the current academic year are posted online, your course choices are considered provisional and subject to change. Once the course lists and timetables for the current academic year are posted online, we will send instructions for how to check if your pre-approved selections are still on offer and if they overlap in the timetable. In some cases you may need to use a back-up course or choose new course(s) if your pre-approved selection(s) are no longer on offer or if they overlap.

The 2021/2022 costs for the Semester in Amsterdam programme can be found below. Please be aware that Semester in Amsterdam is a non-government funded study abroad program which serves as the alternative to the Exchange Program at VU Amsterdam.  For this reason, there is no EU tuition fee. All Semester in Amsterdam fees are standardized and cannot be modified or changed in any way.

Tuition Fall 2021€6.995
Tuition Spring 2022€6.995
Tuition Academic Year 2021-2022€13.490
Housing Costs Per Semester 2021-2022 are not included in tuition*:
  • Our Campus/ Our Domain: Off-campus private studio with bathroom and kitchen
  • Hotel Jansen: Off-campus with private bathroom and shared kitchen
  • Homestay Program (*Placement Not Guaranteed)
  • Our Campus/Our Domain: €4.500 per semester (€9.000 per academic year)
  • Hotel Jansen: €4.800 per semester  (€9.600 per academic year)
  • Homestay Program: €3.500 per semester  (not available for academic year)
Visa/residence permit costs, not included in tuition**€275

**Depending on your nationality, you may not need a visa and may be excused from this cost.

In addition to the above costs, experience shows that living in the Netherlands costs €1000-€1300 per month:

Food€150-300: This depends on how much you cook or eat out. You can reduce this price by shopping at discount supermarkets such as ALDI or LIDL, or shopping at one of the local markets.
Insurance€50-100:  All students are required to have health insurance. You can sign up for discounted student insurance during the arrival days if your home insurance does not cover you in the Netherlands.
Public transportation€25-100: This depends on how much you bike and walk. Cycling will greatly reduce your public transportation costs.
Books and supplies€0-150: Most professors make their reading materials available online.  
Other Costs

This depends entirely on you and your personal lifestyle and preferences. If you want to go out to bars, clubs, or events every weekend you can expect to spend much more than if you prefer cheaper alternatives. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Amsterdam! We also highly recommend getting a museum card for anyone that plans to spend their weekends at one of the many world famous museums!  Below is a general estimate of average costs to help you budget for your semester.

You can find more information about how to budget for student life in Amsterdam here.

Restaurants, Museums, and Culture:

  • Coffee: €2,50 - €3,50
  • Soup: €5,00 - 6,00
  • Sandwich: €6,00 - 12,00
  • Main course: €12,00 - €25,00
  • Beer/house wine: €3,00 - €6,00
  • Cocktails: €9,00 - €20,00
  • Museum Card: €64,90
  • Entrance to Rijksmuseum: €20,00
  • Entrance to the Anne Frank House: €14,00
  • Entrance to nightclubs: €10,00 - 20,00
  • Haircut: €15,00 - €35,00
  • Cinema ticket: €10,00 - €15,00
Payment Options: 

Type of applicantPayment plan
Applying via a partner university or providerYour payment may be coordinated by your university or provider. Unless you are an individual applicant, please verify your payment plan with your provider or university.
IndividualOption 1: One payment. Students will receive the invoice after registration for all programme costs, due one month after the application deadline.Option 2: Two payments. Students applying for one semester will receive the first invoice in the amount of € 4.000,00 due one month after the application deadline. The second invoice will include all remaining costs and is due at least one month prior to arrival.

Cancellation Fees and Deadlines:

Spring 2021 SemesterFall 2021 Semester
Before 1 December: No Cancellation Fee (all previously made payments will be refunded).Before 1 May: No Cancellation Fee (all previously made payments will be refunded).
After 1 December: 1000.00 Cancellation Fee.  After 1 May: 1000.00 Cancellation Fee.  
After Arrival: No Refunds.After Arrival: No Refunds.

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme offers three scholarships in the amount of €2.500 each (to be subtracted from tuition costs) to prospective Semester in Amsterdam students. Please note that the scholarships do not cover all expenses and scholarships cannot be combined. You can choose to apply for more than one scholarship to increase your chances, but you will only receive one.

Application Deadlines for All Scholarships:

Fall 2020This deadline has passed. We are no longer accepting scholarship applications.
Spring 2021This deadline has passed.  We are no longer accepting scholarship applications.
Fall 20211 April, 2021

Blogger Scholarship 

We offer one scholarship to a talented and motivated student blogger! Need some ideas? Check out our current VU Amsterdam student bloggers!  

Photographer and Videographer Scholarship  

More into video and photography? We offer one scholarship to a talented and motivated student videographer and photographer! Need some ideas? Check out this photographer/videographer on Instagram!  

Academic Excellence Scholarship  

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme offers one scholarship to a motivated student who has a minimum grade point average of 85% and has demonstrated academic excellence. For example, if the highest possible mark is a 10, you must have a GPA of at least an 8.5. We will take into account the differences in grading cultures. While no official language certificate is required, applicants must have mastered approximately B2-C1 level English.  

For more information, please visit our scholarships page.

If you are applying individually as a student whose university does not have an official partnership with VU Amsterdam or you have been specifically directed by your home university or provider to fill out the Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application, you will find the link to the application form here.

Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application Form:  Applications will open on Monday, 25 January 2021.  Please check back next week for a link to our new online programme application!

You should NOT fill out the Semester in Amsterdam application form if:

  • You are a student of another Dutch university wishing to follow a minor programme. In this case, please follow the steps listed for non-VU students here.
  • You wish to apply to a full degree programme. Semester in Amsterdam is not a degree programme. Please follow the application procedure listed on the degree programme page.
  • You have been nominated by your home university to participate in Exchange and your university is a partner university of VU Amsterdam. Please contact the Exchange Team at [email protected] if you have questions about your application.
  • You are participating in Semester in Amsterdam through a provider such as IES Abroad, CIEE, CEA, or ISA and you have not yet been directed to submit a Semester in Amsterdam application. **Only after you have been accepted by your provider should you complete the Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application.  If you're not sure, please contact your provider before submitting an application.

Fall 2021 Semester      1 April - Payment Deadline: 1 May
Spring 2022 Semester1 October - Payment Deadline: 1 November