Solving the challenges of tomorrow

The master's in Economics has been developed for the prospective professional economist who aims to pursue a career either in the public or the private sector. It teaches you the essentials of modern economic theory and data analysis and how to apply them to everyday problems. Areas of focus include poverty and inequality, financial markets, economic growth and the environment. As a Master’s student, you will become a versatile, all-round economist with the ability to independently tackle important economic issues. This is reflected in the jobs that our students accept. Our faculty was ranked number one in the 2015 accreditation of Dutch economic departments and the Msc programme was ranked number one by the students in the “nationale studenten enquête”.


Taking a specialization (consisting of a specific combination of elective courses and a related thesis) is optional. The possible specializations are

Students with a strong interest in public policy, may consider applying for the Economics Programme in Public Policy.

Students can also decide to freely pick and mix from our extended list of elective courses. In addition, students can choose one elective course from outside the programme (subject to prior approval from the examination board).

The master's in Economics is a high-quality one-year programme. The first part of the programme consists of three compulsory core courses focusing on the foundations of the discipline at an advanced level. You will also take three elective courses that can be combined into a specialization. Two pieces of independent academic work, a research project and a final thesis, complete the programme requirements. Thanks to the compact, personal nature of the programme there is plenty of interaction with the teaching staff.

The programme is highly esteemed by its students and is one of the top Economics programmes in the Netherlands. The academic year is divided into six teaching periods: four periods of eight weeks and two periods of four weeks. The programme’s study load is 60 credits. Credits are expressed in EC: European Credit (Transfer System). Each credit amounts to circa of 28 hours studying.

Three compulsory Economics core courses (6 EC):

  • Advanced Methods for Applied Economic Research
  • Advanced Microeconomics
  • Advanced Macroeconomics

Two specialization courses (6 EC):

  • Economics of Climate Change
  • Economics of the Welfare State
  • Globalization, Growth and Development
  • Industrial Organization and Competition Policy
  • Macroeconomic Policy in the EU
  • Microeconomics for Development
  • Urban Economics Challenges
  • Labour Economics
  • Human Development (UvA)
  • Time Series Econometrics
  • Macro and International Finance

One elective course can be substituted by a course outside the programme, but only after prior approval from the examination board. Specialization courses could be subject to change.

Research Project (6 EC)

Thesis (18 EC): an in-depth study on a topic in Macro, International Economics or related subjects

A graduate of the Master’s programme in Economics is a well-trained economist, with extensive knowledge of economic modelling, quantitative techniques and economic policy.

Graduates become policy economists at consultancy firms or with government agencies, or work in various positions in financial and non-financial industries. Others start working as market analysts at, for example, the Netherlands Competition Authority, or De Nederlandsche Bank. Still others go to work for multinationals such as banks and insurance companies. Some graduates work at economic research institutes or join PhD programmes at highly competitive research universities before continuing with their academic career.

Apart from focusing on high-profile job opportunities, programme participants develop an eye for economic issues of societal and scientific relevance, and develop a critical attitude for analysing and judging these issues. Economics is at the very heart of the social sciences. Economists are therefore involved and committed members of society.

The programme has a relatively small scale, with a large range of elective courses. Since many teachers are involved, there is a lot of personal interaction between students and teachers. The teachers are associated to the economics department at the VU Amsterdam, which is the best economics department in the Netherlands. Therefore, the teachers are internationally well-known specialists in their field. The programme is highly esteemed by its students and is one of the top Economics programmes in the Netherlands. Finally, the programme provides excellent job opportunities and many different sectors.

Josephine de Vries

Graduated in 2008, Lead Corporate Strategy Office at Deloitte

Josephine de Vries

"The MSc Economics at the VU has a quantitative focus and this is a big plus in most professional areas, including mine. Watching the world through the lense of an economist is very useful for many types of business problems. None of this however, was a reason for me to choose economics. I just thought it amazingly interesting to understand why the EU exists, whether I should vote left or right wing and why it was impossible to find a descent rental apartment in Amsterdam. In short, I just wanted to understand the world a bit better. "

MSc Economics at VU Amsterdam

Overview Economics

Language of instruction



1 year

Tuition fee

Application deadline

1 May via / VU-students with direct admission: 15 July / International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may apply to other category students)

Start date

1 September

Study type


Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law

Study in Holland

Raphie Hayat

Graduated in 2007, Macro Economist at Rabobank

Raphie Hayat

"The Master in Economics is of great value. It is rigorous, taught by an excellent and internationally recognized faculty and attracts students from all over the world. The degree definitely helped me in getting my current job as a macro economist at Rabobank (which I love), but it opens up opportunities in the public sector as well." 

Sabine de Bruijn

Graduated in 2012, International Labour Organization, Geneva

Sabine de Bruijn

"It is with great enthusiasm that I look back at my time as a student at the MSc in Economics programme at the VU. Struggling with formulas, working hard for the exams; it was all worth it and I would not hesitate to do it again. Without my MSc in economics I would not be where I am now: at the International Labour Organization (specialized agency of the UN) in Geneva. The textbook models have now turned into real life questions. I cannot think of any work that is more exiting."

Emilie Berkhout

Graduated in 2015, Junior Researcher at AIID

Emilie Berkhout

"During my Bachelor at the University of Amsterdam I became interested in Development Economics and the Master in Economics at VU Amsterdam taught me the right knowledge and skills to work in this sector. It is a challenging programme, but after graduation you will have great analytical skills and a broad range of job opportunities. The degree provided me the opportunity to work as a Junior Researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for International Development (AIID), which fits perfectly with my interests."

Dutch students

The MSc Economics welcomes students with a university degree at either a Dutch or international university with interest in economics. Also students with a HBO degree in economics related fields can enroll in the MSc Economics, but only after completing a transfer programme.

Students from the Vrije Universiteit are directly admitted if they hold a

  • Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Economics, and if they successfully completed the courses Quantitative Research Methods III (version Economics and Finance), Microeconomics II, and Macroeconomics II
  • Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics
  • Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE): Economics track

If you have direct admission to the Master's programme of your choice you need a new enrollment in Studielink.

All other students must apply for admission, after which the Admission Board makes a decision. Approval is in most cases given to students from Dutch or international universities who hold a

  • Bachelor’s degree in economics or econometrics
  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, social sciences and sciences with sufficient elective courses in economics
  • Bachelor’s degree from a University College with a specialization in sciences or social sciences and sufficient economics courses
  • Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) with sufficient economics and quantitative courses
  • Bachelor’s degree and who completed the Minor Economics at the Vrije Universiteit with an average grade of at least 7.5

To apply for admission a student should send a request to the admissions board. You should fill out the Form Evaluation Admission Master, supported by the following documents: a description of the courses and modules you passed, your transcript, the study load and a list of the literature studied.

You can send your request per email until 15 June to

The Admission board then decides whether you can be admitted directly to the MSc Economics or whether you first need to compensate for any mismatches between your qualification and our admission requirements.

The criteria for direct admission are based on having sufficient knowledge of both microeconomics and macroeconomics and a solid background in mathematics and statistics for economists. Specifically, students ought to be familiar with mathematics (calculus and algebra), intermediate economics and econometrics at a level commensurate with all of the following texts:

MicroeconomicsVarian, H.R., Intermediate Microeconomics, Norton, 9th ed., 2014
MacroeconomicsGärtner, M., Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016
Econometrics and StatisticsStock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7)
Mathematics for EconomistsSydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al., Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016

Students who do not meet the admission criteria can be

  • admitted conditional on passing one or more Bachelor’s courses
  • requested to take an admission test after self-study of the literature
  • admitted to the transfer programme

The admission test takes place in June at the Vrije Universiteit.

Students wishing to attend the transfer programme may be required to submit scores from a recent GRE test prior to start and admission may be conditional on achieving a set of minimal scores (information is available on request). For example, students who completed the Minor Economics are exempted from this requirement. Note that participation in the transfer programme may substantially increase the time to completion.

Applicants with a Dutch higher vocational (HBO) degree need to enroll in a transfer programme, which is specifically designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university-level education.

Students wishing to attend the transfer programme may be required to submit scores from a recent GRE test prior to start and admission may be conditional on achieving a set of minimal scores (information is available on request). Note that participation in the transfer programme may substantially increase the time to completion.

Deadline for an admission request is 15 June.

Information days and activities
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Other questions

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International students

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

International degree holders from Universities of Applied Sciences (polytechnics, vocational colleges, etc.) cannot be admitted.

If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Admission requirements for the MSc programme Economics:

Applicants normally need to minimally have successfully completed intermediate level courses covering the following topics; relevant material is covered in the indicated textbooks.

Varian, H.R., Intermediate Microeconomics, Norton, 9th ed., 2014
Gärtner, M., Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016
Econometrics and Statistics
Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7)
Mathematics for Economists
Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al., Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016

Applications not providing proof of having passed course work at the minimally required level may be rejected, or applicants may be requested to make up for deficiencies by means of self-study.

Good students with technical backgrounds (Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, and possibly Engineering) are encouraged to apply.

English language proficiency
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all applicants to submit results of an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores:

IELTS (academic)

  • Minimum general score 6.5
  • Minimum writing score 6.0


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93

Cambridge English

  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the application fee, a non-refundable €100 application fee applies. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education
  • Motivation letter
  • Reference letter (one or two)

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. Should we have additional queries, please be responsive to our requests. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. What to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Further information about:
Tuition fees

As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. 

Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on or

Contact a student ambassador
Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed on the webpage below. Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Information for international students > International degree holders > Contact our student ambassadors

Visit our information days
More information about Master's programmes
Visit our information days

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Foto Leanne Schrijver Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032




Foto Paul SteemanPaul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739




Foto Floris KorbeeFloris Korbee
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 3944



For general information about VU Amsterdam:
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00).
You may also e-mail us at

Sjoerd ten Wolde

Graduated in 2011, Policy Officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sjoerd ten Wolde

"I’m glad I used my resources on the MSc Economics at VU Amsterdam. I was afraid I was ill prepared for this programme. Despite its demanding nature, however, the professors were always willing to help out. I thrived in the programme, graduated cum laude in 2011, and learned the building blocks for my current occupation as a policy economist for the Dutch Ministry of the Interior. I still use the knowledge I got in the MSc Economics every day, and highly recommend it."

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