Information for international students

Admission and language requirements

The procedure you should follow in order to apply to a Master’s degree programme at VU Amsterdam is dependent upon whether you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree outside or within the Netherlands.

International degree holders

The following procedure applies if you are applying on the basis of a non-Dutch university degree. You can start your application from the 1st of October 2016 onwards.

StepsDeadlines for EU/EEA or Dutch students who do not wish to apply for university housingDeadlines for non-EU/EEA students who do not need study visa and/or residence permit or university housingDeadlines for students who need study visa and/or residence permit (do I need a study visa?) (also advised deadline if you want to apply for university housing (strongly recommended)
1. Create an enrolment application1 June 20171 June 20171 April 2017
2. Pay the application fee
1 June 2017
As soon as possible after applying in Studielink (we can only process your application once we have received the fee)As soon as possible after applying in Studielink (we can only process your application once we have received the fee)
3. Complete your application in VUnet1 June 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink)1 June 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink)1 April 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink)
4. Wait for admission by the Examination Board of the facultyAdmission board will decide within 6 weeksAdmission board will decide within 6 weeksAdmission board will decide within 6 weeks

Step 1: Create an enrolment application in Studielink (the Dutch national education application system)

Please note: Only if you already live in the Netherlands, you will need a DigiD. DigiD applications take up to two weeks: apply for DigiD .

Check out our handy guide for the studielink procedure here

Log in to Studielink and create a new enrolment application for the study programme you wish to follow.

Important points when creating an enrolment application

  • When using login details for creating an enrolment application in Studielink, please select Apply for username and password.
  • Make sure that the e-mail address you fill in in Studielink (My details) is correct: you will receive important notices concerning your enrolment via this address.
  • Please enter your prior education (on the basis of which your application will be judged) correctly.
  • Select the study programme of choice with (Master) at the end from the list in Studielink.
  • Enter your payment details so that the correct tuition fee can be calculated. This does not generate and automatic payment. The deadline for payment is 31 August 2017.
  • Please be aware that your enrolment must be fully completed on 31 August 2017 in order to start your study programme on 1 September 2017. If your enrolment is not complete on this date, you will have to postpone your study programme until the following academic year.

Step 2: Pay the application fee
All students with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable, €100 application fee.

After we have received the application fee, we will start processing your application immediately.

Once you have completed your enrolment application in Studielink, you will receive an e-mail (sent to the address you supply in Studielink) with information on how you can pay the fee. Please do not delay paying the fee as this will delay your application.

  • Application fee procedure

Step 3: Complete your application in VUnet
In order to upload the required documents and complete your application, you will need to log into VUnet, the university's student portal. We advise you to do this as soon as possible after applying in Studielink.

Please note: you do not need to send original documents when applying, but you will need to send these if you are admitted by which time you will be informed about the requirements in more detail.

After you complete your enrolment application in Studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID (username and password) in two separate e-mails sent to the address you entered in Studielink. This may take up to two working days.

Once you have received these login details, log in to VUnet, answer the questions asked and upload documents as requested.

If you can prove to be a top student then you may want to apply for a VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP) scholarship and/or a Holland Scholarship Programme scholarship. You can select these scholarships during the application process in VUnet.

If you have not received your login details, please first check your spam. If you are still unable to locate them, then contact the UCIT service desk on or +31 (0)20 598 0000.

Step 4: Wait for decision on application
Once your file is complete it will be handed over to the faculty. The faculty may contact you about any additional requirements. The Admission Board of the faculty will make a decision within six weeks.

For all questions about the evaluation of your application, please contact your International Student Advisor, whose contact details can be found on the contact page your chosen study programme.

If you are informed that your application has been successful, congratulations! A number of additional steps must now be taken.

  • What happens after admission?
Alternative starting dates
Academic year 2016-2017

The following (partly Dutch taught) master's degree programmes offer a second start date on 1 February in the academic year 2016-2017 as well as 2017-2018.

  • Part-time master's programme Accounting and Control
  • Master Business Analytics
  • Master Chemistry (joint degree)
  • Master Computer Science (joint degree)
  • Master Drug Discovery and Safety
  • Master Tax law
  • Teacher-training programmes
  • Master Mathematics
  • Master Law
  • Master Stochastics and Financial Mathematics
  • Master Dentistry

For the Dutch taught Master's programme in Medicine, there's a starting date at each first day of the month.

Please note: Always consult the contact persons noted in the contact page of the programme you're interested in, to find out about the programme and the possibilities of a February starting date.

Once you have been admitted to VU Amsterdam, you must take the following steps:

1. Confirm your participation in VUnet and complete application1 July 2017
2. Pay the tuition fee31 August 2017
3. Arrange practical matters (with help from the International Office)During the VU Amsterdam Arrival Days
4. Check your enrolment31 August 2017

Step 1: Confirm Participation in VUnet & complete application
Once you've been admitted you can confirm participation in your application in VUnet. In the process of doing this, you can select the services applicable to yourself like housing- and/or visa services.

In most cases students still need to send a few documents to complete application. Often those are a certified* copy of the diploma + English language test result (the latter can be sent per email):

*Certified copy of your diploma

Certified means that the copy of the bachelor’s diploma (the original as well as the English translation) has original stamps (not copied) and signatures, made by your home university or other official institute as proof that they are copies of the original document.
This document can be sent to the following address:
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Central Student Administration
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Deadline receipt: 31 August at the very latest. We prefer to receive your documents before August 1st so we can prepare your registration as a student on time.

If you've met all requirements to graduate but are still waiting for the diploma certificate, alternatively you can ask your university to provide a statement of graduation. This statement needs to note that you've met all requirements to graduate before the 1st of September. It needs an original signature, date and university stamp.

English test result (TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate)
An English test certificate that meets the set minima for the study programme you're applying for (check your admission letter).
This test result can be sent to your international student advisor per email who can check the scores online.

Deadline receipt: EU/Dutch: 31 August, for visa students: 1 June.

Please note : If you need to apply for a visa , make sure that you send all required documents to the International Office before1 June .Also, until we've received all documents, you will not be able to register for courses.

Step 2: Pay the tuition fee
Transfer the fee or arrange direct debit authorization in Studielink. The latter is only possible if you have a bank account from a bank in the SEPA area. The fee must be paid before 31 August 2017.

Please note : once you have entered your payment details in Studielink (step 1), it may take up to 24 hours before the correct tuition fee amount is calculated. Once this is done, you will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm payment. This confirmation will authorize the actual payment which should be made on or before 31 August 2017 . Please contact the Central Student Desk if you require assistance.


Step 3: Arrange practical matters during the Arrival Days
The Arrival Days will take place mid August (dates are still to be set). During the Arrival Days in August the International Office will help you to arrange practical matters such as picking up the keys to your new room, opening a Dutch bank account, picking up your residence permit and registering at the municipality. This is also a chance to meet your fellow students for the first time.

If you have any questions, either now or when you arrive, then you can contact the International Service Desk.


Step 4: Check if your enrolment is complete
You will receive a notice from Studielink when your student registration is complete. Only after having received this notice, you'll know you've met all requirements for a full student registration. Your status in Studielink will change to 'enrolled'. The deadline for a full enrollment is the 31st of August. If you are not yet enrolled and do not know why, please contact the Central Student Desk for advice.

Within one month of the enrollment being completed you will receive:

  • A declaration of registration
  • A student card (if you have uploaded a jpeg. documement of your passport format photo on VUnet under Home/My Study Administration)

Please note : being in the possession of these two documents is not required in order to follow classes. However, having a valid enrolment is required. To confirm your ID at an exam you can either use your student card or your ID/passport in combination with a paper version of the Declaration of Registration (available from the Central Student Desk once your status is enrolled).


Other Important things to think about
Once you're all ready to start your studies at our university, there is always a few things that are handy to know about. Here are a few tip:

  • Application and Registration Regulations 2015-2016
  • Apply for student finance (only applicable for Dutch / in some cases EU students)

Other handy documents:
- The Getting started brochure is full of practical information about your stay here like insurance, medical care, etc.
- Check the VU navigator (with your VUnet-ID) on VUnet for an overview of all the important, practical and fun matters that will help you get your studies off to a great start! E.g: course registration deadlines, exam re-sit options, etc.

After you’ve applied for the programme of your choice via Studielink, you will receive your log in details for VUnet, where you can upload the required documents. Every study programme may have a different set of required documents that you need to upload. For this reason you will need to check the programme page to find out which documents you need to prepare. Below a description of the documents that may be asked for.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID = only for EU residents)
    A clear scan of the pages in your passport that contain your personal data. A copy of a passport (or ID) that is no longer valid cannot not be accepted.

  • Curriculum Vitae
    A curriculum vitae that includes your personal details and lists your previous education and relevant work experience. An Europass CV template could be used, however other formats will be accepted too.

  • 2 Letters of recommendation
    Letters written by members of the academic staff at the educational institute where you studied (or are studying). Digital copies, uploaded in VUnet are preferred. If referees prefer providing their references directly to the university, please let them email your contact person in the international office .

  • Letter of Motivation
    A 1-2 page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme. Also, if applicable, please specify in this letter, the name of the specialization you are applying for.

  • Diploma(s)*
    A copy of the original Bachelor's degree or certificate.

    Diploma requirements: Upload in VUnet a scan of your diploma with an English, German of French translation by your university or a sworn translator.

    Please note: Before we can unconditionally accept you, we will need to you supply us with a certified copy of your diploma certificate. The certification can be provided by your home university of a public notary. Deadline for supplying: 31 August.

  • Transcript of records
    A list of grades that your previous academic study/studies.

    If you have not yet completed your educational programme, please send temporary transcripts showing the grades you have received to date. In that case, please also send us a list of courses that are not on the temporary transcripts but that you will have to take to complete your programme.

    Please note: The certified copy of your transcript must be in English, German or Dutch, or must be translated into one of these languages by your university or by a sworn translator.

  • Thesis (or alternative piece of academic writing)
    Part of a Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English). If your previous curriculum did not include the writing of a thesis, any other representable piece of academic writing will serve as an alternative.

    If you have not written anything in English during your studies, you can write a 3-5 pages abstract of a piece of academic writing including bibliography, in English. Please note, we will always check application documents for plagiarism.

  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
    A list the most relevant courses/modules that were part of your Bachelor's (and Master's, if applicable) programme, with a short description of the contents of these courses. You can either copy this from a study guide or type a 5-10 line description for each relevant course, if a study guide is not readily available.

  • A list of the main literature used during your previous higher education
    A literature list (bibliography), summing up the most relevant academic textbooks or articles used during your previous education.

  • English language test(can also be provided after conditional admission)*
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or Canada (English-speaking provinces) to provide us with an English language test score that meets the required minimum set for the programme of choice. If you cannot yet provide us with a positive score yet, please register for a recognized English language test. All faculties will accept IELTS tests, Cambridge tests, and TOEFL tests .

    Please note: Acceptable minimum scores may vary per faculty / programme.

  • Nuffic Certificate (only for Chinese students)
    Chinese students who wish to enrol in an English-taught programme at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate (former Neso Certificate). Nuffic will send the certificate directly to us, once it has been issued.

  • Valid residence permit
    If you already live in the Netherlands, a copy (front and reverse side) of your valid residence permit (if available). If your residence permit is no longer valid, please submit a copy of the expired card and an official statement from the immigration authorities (IND) acknowledging that you have applied for an extension.

* Although complete applications are preferred, both the certified copy of the diploma certificate and the English test result, can be supplied to us after you've submitted the rest of your application. For EU students, the latest deadline for supplying us with these documents is set to the 31st of August, for non-EU students, the English test result need to be supplied to be before 1 June (due to it being a requirement for the visa/residence application procedure). Course registrations are not possible until all documents have been provided.

The following deadlines apply if you are applying to a Master’s programme on the basis of a non-Dutch university degree. Applications received after the deadlines cannot be taken into consideration!

  • 1 February :

    Students with international degrees who are planning and qualified to apply for our VU FP and/or HSP scholarship programmes.

  • 1 April:

    Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who need services from the International Office (housing (optional) and visa procedure).

    EU/EEA students with an international degree who wish to secure university housing services (strongly advised upon due to housing shortage in Amsterdam).

  • 1 June :

    EU/EEA students with an international degree without services of the International Office.

    Dutch students with an international degree (no housing, no visa procedure) - please see the webpage of your own Master's programme .

    Foreign students with a Dutch degree who do not need housing, and only need a change of residence permit - please see the webpage of your own Master's programme .

* Although we can only guarantee accommodation for EU students who applied before 1 April, there is still a fair chance of being offered accommodation if you apply before the 1 June deadline.

All students seeking admission to an international Bachelor’s or Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.After applying for a programme in studielink, you will receive login details for our VUnet student portal. Before arranging payment of the application fee, you first need to confirm your programme application by answering some questions and submitting some documents in the VUnet portal. After completing the programme application the online payment tool will become available and you will be able to arrange the payment of the application fee with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or PayPal. After you have arranged your payment online you will receive a confirmation e-mail, and the payment status will change to ‘PAID’*.

If you do not wish to arrange your payment online you can also make a bank transfer using the following bank details:

Account name:Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Name of bank:Deutsche Bank
Address of bank:De Entree 99-197, 1101 HE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Please state your name and S+student number (e.g. s1234567) in the payment reference. Any banking costs are to be paid by the applicant. Please note that international transfers can take some time to be processed.

*Please note that the confirmation e-mail and status change apply only to the successful completion of the online payment module, not the actual payment.

There is an exception to the requirement of paying the application fee for non-EU/EEA candidates. If you can prove that you have applied for or have been granted the following scholarships, then you do not have to pay the fee:

  • StuNed (Verified by a letter/e-mail from NESO Jakarta stating that you are applying for the StuNed scholarship).
    VU applicants who applied for the StuNed scholarship will receive an automatic notification to pay the application fee. When you receive this notification, please send an email (with the letter from NESO attached) to your international student advisor and inform us about your StuNed scholarship application.

Please note - if you have applied for but are not awarded the scholarship, you will be asked to pay the application fee.

VU Amsterdam requires you to take an English test and to submit your score as a part of the application. You can begin your application, however, before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirement are made if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to a Master's programme at VU Amsterdam are:

  • IELTS: 6.5 - please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one!
  • TOEFL paper-based test: 580
  • TOEFL Internet-based test: 92
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C
  • Vu-test English-language proficiency: TOEFL ITP

Please note: Some programmes have higher language proficiency requirements. Please see the webpage of your programme for exact language proficiency requirements.

For TOEFL and IELTS, the test must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts.

For TOEFL and IELTS, the Test Institute can forward the results directly to our office. The institutional TOEFL code of VU is 7947.

Please note that students who need visa must submit their English test results before June 1. Students who don't need visa must submit their test results before August 30 but preferably sooner. Be aware of the fact that it can take a long time before you get the results of the English tests, so plan your test in time!

There is no specific place to upload your English language test in VUnet. After finishing uploading the other documents in the VUnet you can send a copy of the test score card per email to one of the following contacts:

• For students with a non-Dutch degree: Your International Student Advisor
• For students with a Dutch degree: Please refer to your programme’s Admissions Website

VU Amsterdam reserves the right to request an original copy of the test result.

Students living in the Netherlands can register for a TOEFL-ITP exam offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at

Useful links:

If you are a Chinese students wishing to enrol in an English-taught programme at a Dutch higher education institution, then you are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate (former Neso Certificate). Nuffic sends this certificate directly to the relevant Dutch higher education institution once it has been issued.

Have a question for a current student? Curious about everyday life in Amsterdam, from our campus to the food, music and events going on throughout the city? Want to know how much homework you will have each night, or how the Dutch educational system differs from your own? Ask one of our VU Ambassadors! They would love to answer your questions by sharing their personal experiences of living and studying at VU Amsterdam. Check below to find an ambassador from the programme you’re interested in or from your home country.

For specific questions related to VU programmes, deadlines, the application process, or diploma validity you can find information on our main website or contact your faculty's International Student Advisor (ISA).

Student Ambassadors from Europe


ToelleEleni Tölle
Bachelor PPE
AntalBelinda Antal
Bachelor IBA
DevikVictoria Devik
Bachelor IBA
HansenCamilla Hansen
Bachelor Literature &


Christopher Minnet
Bachelor Literature &
Muniz Rocio
Anquela Rocío Muñiz
Master Cardiovascular Research
PaleckyteRosita Paleckyte
Master Biomolecular
GuillenMiriam Guillen Navarro
Master Oncology

SmaragdiEleni Smaragdi
CinarÇağla Çınar
RM Social Psychology
HammersenTim Hammersen
RM Human Movement Sciences
KraiukhinaAnastasiia Kraiukhina
Master Culture, Organization &
Management (Alumna)
DykesCaitlin Dykes
Great Britain
Master International Crimes &
Jorge-PetitJamika Jorge-Petit
Master Law and Politics of
International Security

KuehnAnne Kühn
Master Business Administration
Human Resource Management

RudolfGabriella Rudolf
Master Business Administration
Human Resource Management
SpirovaDesislava Spirova
Master Business Administratio
Transport and Supply Chain -
MarimpiMaria Marimpi
Master Economics (alumna)
LazuninaOlga Lazunina
Master Finance
BaskaricMarina Baskaric
Master Marketing (alumna)
CusturaAlex Custura
Master Computer Science
TatarAndrei Tatar
Master Computer Science
TurpMisra Turp
Master Computer Science
Joint Degree

Student Ambassadors from Africa


MichaelMoseMagda Michael Mose
Eritrea / Netherlands
Bachelor IBA

GerberMelissa Gerber
South Africa
Master International Migration &
Refugee Law

Student Ambassadors from the Americas


dec Ana Luiza Kooij IBAAna Luiza Kooij
Bachelor IBA


Abello-CastiblancoClaudia Abello Castiblanco
Master Culture, Organization &
Management (alumna)
CahillPatrick Cahill
Master Culture, Organization &
Management (alumnus)


ColarussoAnnie Colarusso
Master Environment and Resource
Management (alumna)
PivaDaiane Piva
Master Environment and Resource
Hila Rotbart
Master Environment and Recourse


CardosoDiego Cardoso Nitta
Master Finance
LassondeJordan Elizabeth Lassonde
Master Literary Studies


BrownKari Brown
Master Oncology
Damascena-AntunesLaila Damascena Antunes
Law: Transnational Legal Studies


OhlroggeErik Ohlrogge
Semester Biology / Pre-med
PetersenChristina Peterson
Semester Business-Marketing
deSouzaLozanoMilena De Souza Lozano Monteiro
Semester Law
JahnsenKatherine Jahnsen
Semester Psychology

Student Ambassadors from Asia


MohammadSarah Mohammad
Pakistan / The Netherlands
Bachelor IBA
RizkaIca Rizka Safitri Wartono
Master Human Movement Sciences


LinHung-Chien Lin
Master Chemistry (joint degree)
AdhikariMandira Adhikari
Research Master Global Health

SanjayaSienna Sanjaya
Master Health Sciences
Ristya RahmaniNada Ristya Rahmani
Master Biomedical Sciences


Bin IftikharMuhammad Bin Iftikhar
Master Business Administration
Human Resource Management
LeonitaLea Leonita
Master Business Administration
Information and Knowledge -
Management (alumna)
KorohamaMaria Korohama
Master Economics
BoldkhuyagKate Boldkhuyag
Master Entrepreneurship
Tong-WanTong Wan
Master Business Administration
Human Resource Management
Dec ChaoZhuoying Chao

Dec Michael Willy

Michael Willy Patawala
Master Theology and Religious Studies
Dec Wang Bingwen
Bingwen Wang
Master Cardiovascular Research


PayawalIvan Payawal
Master Computer Sciences
(joint degree)
SarkarReshmi Sarkar
Master Information Sciences


BudiyonoYus Budiyono
PhD Water & Climate Risk
NurmalaN Nurmala
PhD Economics and Business


KedarGireesh Kedar
PhD Neuroscience
Junhui-WuJunhui Wu
PhD Social Psychology
Dec ZhaochunZhaochun Liu
PhD Energy Storage
Dec Shan GaoShan Gao
PhD Organisation Science


HuCaroline Hu
Semester Law

Dutch university degree holders

If you hold a Bachelor’s degree obtained at an institution in the Netherlands, then you may be admitted to a Master’s programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The examination board will determine whether your qualification is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The examination board may however impose additional requirements, which must be met before gaining admission to the programme.

You can apply in Studielink. For the academic year 2017-2018, the absolute deadline for application is 31 May 2017. Please contact the coordinator of the Master’s programme you want to follow on time. Coordinators and procedures can be found on the web page of the relevant Master’s programme. If you require a residence permit, then you also need to contact regarding the procedure for changing your residence permit.

You cannot enrol retroactively. This means that if your enrolment is not completed on 31 August 2017, you cannot be enrolled as of 1 September 2017. So please make sure you start and complete your application on time! When you are fully enrolled your status in Studielink will be 'enrolled'.

VU Amsterdam is not able to provide accommodation to foreign students who apply on the basis of a Dutch degree. You will therefore need to arrange your own accommodation.

Dutch HBO degree holders

If you hold a Bachelor’s degree obtained from a university of applied sciences (HBO diploma) in the Netherlands, then you may be admitted to a Master’s programme at VU Amsterdam. In most cases you will have to follow a preparatory Premaster’s programme first. This usually takes one year.

In the academic year 2017-2018 all (except Computer Science) Premaster’s programmes are taught in Dutch. In order to follow all other Premaster’s you must therefore be proficient in Dutch. Go to Dutch premaster pages.

The examination board will determine whether your qualification is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The board may place additional requirements on you before granting admission to the programme.


If you have non-Dutch nationality and a Dutch degree then you can apply up until 31 May 2017. Because of the procedure for changing the residence permit (if applicable), applications received later than 31 May 2017 cannot be processed.

You need to apply via Studielink and contact the coordinator of the Master’s programme before 31 May 2017. Coordinators and procedures can be found at the website of the relevant Master’s programme. You must also contact for the procedure to change your residence permit if you are a non-EU/EEA student.

Premasters Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration (FEWEB)
The Faculty of Economic Sciences and Business Administration offers premaster's programmes with a start date of 1 February 2018. The deadline for application for these programmes is 31 January 2018. Your diploma must state an examination date before 1 February 2018.

Premaster Faculty of Law
Application for the transfer programme of Law (Schakelzone Recht) is possible all year round.

VU Amsterdam is not able to provide accommodation to foreign students who apply on the basis of a Dutch degree. Therefore, you will need to arrange your own accommodation.