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Making the difference in the world of finance

Financial decision-making touches upon all aspects of the modern economy: finding appropriate financing instruments for new companies or new business opportunities; thinking about stimulating economic growth through financial innovation and a safe regulation of the financial system; building sound investment strategies and improve risk sharing in insurance and old-age provision. Both the corporate world and financial industry are constantly on the lookout for clever, bright minds that have an academic critical attitude and can face up to the complex challenges of today’s financial world.

Core facts

  • Selected by students as the best Finance master's programme in the Netherlands, in the National Student Survey of both 2016 and 2017
  • 6 challenging courses, 2 research projects
  • Flexibility: 30% if coursework is elective, with the choice between a corporate or investments-flavoured profile
  • Academic and hands-on: academic and industry professors, career services, two active student study associations

Top Financial Programme in the Heart of Amsterdam's Financial District
The MSc Finance programme at VU Amsterdam ranked first among the finance programmes in the Netherlands (National Student Survey 2016 and 2017) and is competitive with any Finance major in the world. It has a reputation of training students in analytical and quantitative skills that are directly applicable in their business career.

  • The programme is taught by professors who publish at the academic frontier in international top, as well as professors with extensive industry experience. 
  • Our academic teaching goes hand in hand with the application of theory to complex real-life settings.
  • The programme is flexible and enables you to shape your curriculum towards your preferred job market profile.
  • Caters to a culturally and academically diverse community of faculty and students
  • In the typical Dutch fashion, we cherish the direct style of communication and a low barrier between professors and students

Programme in a nutshell

First semester
Your journey starts by deepening your knowledge in the field of Asset Pricing and Corporate Finance. You learn how to apply optimal asset allocations for investors and you gain quantitative skills to apply corporate finance concepts in real life. These first two courses are followed by Empirical Finance, which covers the empirical research methods you will need directly afterwards in your research project and academic thesis. You also take an elective in your desired field of specialization, e.g., Derivatives or Corporate Valuation. The semester ends with the Research Project in January. This is an applied project where you work in teams of three students on a topic provided by our faculty members. Some research projects are also offered in collaboration with partner firms from the financial industry.

semester 2Second semester
In February-March you take the core course on Financial Markets and Institutions and a second elective (for instance, Behavioural Finance, Institutional Investments and ALM, or Bank Management). Finally, in April you start working on your MSc thesis, which is aimed for completion end of June. The thesis can be combined with an internship (extended deadline) and is supervised by one of our faculty experts.

Your degree
Upon successful completion of the programme, students receive a VU Amsterdam Master of Finance diploma. This is an official Master of Science (MSc) Degree. The programme has been accredited by the NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders) and complies with the highest academic standards.

Further information
Did we already trigger you? Please look what more the MSc Finance at VU Amsterdam can offer you.
  • Job market activities and social events at Career Prospects
  • Course explanations and student testimonials at Study Programme
  • Meet the faculty here
  • Find more information about admission and costs at Admission & Application

Become a finance expert
The Master’s in Finance programme aims to educate you to become an expert in financial economics, employable in the corporate sector, financial industry, government sector and academia. The programme’s learning outcomes correspond with the requirements set by the finance profession and academic community, both nationally and internationally.

We link a solid training in academic theory to its application in practice, and also focus on building the proper skills to be successful in a finance career. You meet instructors that publish at the academic frontier, as well as professors with a wealth of professional expertise that help you to see where theory meets practice.

The programme consists is 60 EC, can be completed in 10 months, and comprises four core courses, a minimum of two electives, a team research project and an individual thesis.

The programme takes the following form:

Semester 1

  • Career Services - pm
  • Excel and programming bootcamp - pm
  • Asset Pricing - 6 EC
  • Advanced Corporate Finance - 6 EC
  • Empirical Finance - 6 EC
  • Elective 1 - 6 EC
  • Research Project - 6 EC

Semester 2

  • Career Services - pm
  • Financial Markets and Institutions - 6 EC
  • Elective 2 - 6 EC
  • Thesis - 21 EC

For a more complete overview of the courses, download this pdf or go to the study guide descriptions. There is a wide range of electives to choose from, including: Valuation, Derivatives, Institutional Investments and ALM, Behavioural Finance, Bank Management, Quantitative Financial Risk Management, and Real Estate Management.

Job prospects: facts and figures
Almost 90% of our alumni obtain a job within one year after graduation. You can find VU Finance alumni in a range of different industries. Approximately 78% of the finance alumni found jobs in the financial industry, which includes the banking and financial services industry. A further 19% of our alumni work in the Industrial, Export & Transport sector. This includes for example promising careers at large international companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell.

Industry allocation Finance alumni        

Concretely, the placement record for our alumni includes organisations such as:

  • ING
  • Rabobank
  • AkzoNobel
  • EY
  • PwC
  • AMS Sourcing
  • Greenberry
  • Deloitte
  • Optiver

Average number of months till first paid job: 5.3
Job 1 year after graduation: 87%
The gross monthly income of our graduates the first year: € 2.835
(Source: WO Monitor)

Benefitting from our Career Services Center
In the master in Finance programme at VU Amsterdam you benefit from a close cooperation with the career services center. Together we organize a number of career management workshops to help you prepare for positioning yourself, building your network, preparing for job interviews, and constructing your perfect elevator pitch. While looking for the right internship or job vacancy that matches your preferences, you benefit from our online job & internship page. Also career coaching and job market information are provided by the school’s Career Services.

Two active student study associations to build your network
As an MSc Finance student at VU Amsterdam, you further benefit from two active student study associations (AUREUS and FSA). The contacts you build here with fellow students as well as with companies help you establish or extend your industry network and make a quick start with your career.







Top Financial Programme in the Heart of Amsterdam's Financial District
The MSc Finance programme ranks among the best financial programmes in the Netherlands and is competitive to any Finance major in the world. It has a reputation of training students in analytical and quantitative skills that are directly applicable in their business career.

VU Amsterdam is located in the heart of the financial district of Amsterdam, the Zuid-As, with the head offices of major banks, asset managers, pension funds and law firms. Schiphol International Airport is only 7 minutes by train, with direct flights to the major business centres of the world.

An academic training with a strong link to real-life practice
The MSc Finance programme is taught by professors who publish at the academic frontier in international top journals in their field, as well as professors with extensive industry experience. This ensures that our academic teaching goes hand in hand with the application of theory to complex real-life settings. The programme is flexible to enable you to shape your curriculum towards your preferred job market profile.

Placement and career services
As of day one, we help you to prepare for the job market and take full control of the steps towards your job interviews, internship, and job. The programme has an excellent placement record with almost 90% of our graduates finding a job within 1 year after graduation.

Studying at VU Amsterdam
VU Amsterdam is known for being clear and well-organized and catering to a culturally and academically diverse community of faculty and students. Since its founding, the university tries to be fully accountable for its responsibility to the society at large. The university takes a genuine interest in the well-being of students and follows its mission to bring out the best in students. We appreciate critical questions and discussions. In the typical Dutch fashion, we cherish the direct style of communication and a low barrier between professors and students.

Your degree
Upon successful completion of the programme, students receive a VU Master of Finance diploma. This is an official Master of Science (MSc) Degree. The programme has been accredited by the NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders) and complies with the highest academic standards.

Two active student study associations
VU Amsterdam hosts two active student associations for finance, namely AUREUS and the Financial Study Association (FSA). Both of these organize a number of different activities and are ideal for starting your network and securing the appropriate contacts for an internship and a job.

Lerby Ergun


Finance Lerby Ergun.jpg

"Finance is the Master's for everyone with the drive and daring to take up the challenge of complex financial issues."

Overview Finance

Language of instruction



1 year

Tuition fee

Application deadline

15 July via (students with direct admission) / International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students)

Start date

1 September

Study type



Various areas of finance including, but not limited to, corporate financial management and asset management. You could also opt to take the Honours programme in Quantitative Finance.

Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law

Marco Kistner


Testimonial MSc Finance - Marco Kistner

"This one year master is for anybody who likes a challenge. Taught by teaching staff with great academic and professional experience, you will gain an in depth knowledge of finance through theoretical and practical tasks, and develop skills highly relevant to a career in this field. This master allows you to specialize in a particular field of Finance and the ability to tailor the course towards your interests and career goals. Aside from this, the programme offers various other services - for example career events, workshops and external speakers which aim to prepare you for the best possible career in finance."


Asset pricing 
Deepen your knowledge in the field of asset pricing and asset allocation.

ZwinkelsDr. R.C.J. Zwinkels is associate professor of finance. His main research interests include behavioural finance, with a focus on behavioural investments.

Student evaluation 2014/2015: "Good insight into important research in the industry and practice in doing research for the research project/thesis.”

Advanced Corporate Finance
Develop a thorough understanding of advanced theoretical concepts and applying these to solving practical complex cases.

RijkenProf. dr. ir. H.A. Rijken is a full professor of finance, with research interests in corporate finance, valuation, credit modelling and default risk.

Student evaluation 2014/2015: "Very good overview of the world of corporate finance and a strong link between theory and practice. The professor makes you think about all the concepts and draws links between them"

Financial Market and Institutions
Develop your understanding of the economics underlying financial intermediation, financial markets and banking, with a particular focus on the recent financial crisis and its consequences.

Van LelyveldDr. I. van Lelyveld is associate professor of Banking and Financial Markets, with research interests in banking, networks, systemic risk, insurance, and financial intermediation.

Student evaluation 2013/2014:"This course was very up-to-date and I learned a lot about the new regulations and supervisory objectives for the financial sector."
Empirical finance
Learn the key research methods in finance, their theoretical foundations, appropriate selection, limitations, implementation, and correct use and interpretation.

LucasProf. dr. A. Lucas is professor of finance and programme director of the MSc Finance programme. His research interests include financial econometrics, systemic risk, credit risk and risk management.


Student 2014/2015: "The subjects discussed in this course are essential for students and a real contribution to our academic knowledge."


Research project 
Apply all your knowledge and skills to a research question in the field of Finance with a team of peer students, supervised by a member of our faculty experts. 

Student evaluation 2014/2015: "The knowledge gained in previous courses is used in practice during this project." 

An important part of your academic training where all the previous elements come together: knowledge, skills, attitude, and creativity, individually guided by one of our faculty researchers. 

Student evaluation 2013/2014: "The supervisor was very enthusiastic and has a lot of expertise in his field of knowledge. Always available for questions and advice, all in all I am really positive about his supervision during my thesis writing."


Acquire a thorough understanding of derivatives, their theoretical underpinnings and their use in practice.

SeegerDr. N.J. Seeger is an assistant professor of finance. His main research areas are asset pricing, financial econometrics, derivatives, commodities, international macroeconomics and finance.

Student evaluation 2014/2015: "I think the topics in the course were interesting and well structured. Moreover, Dr. Seeger linked this course with examples about jobs, the real world but also how the course is valuable to us."

Valuation and Corporate governance
Learn the different aspects of the valuation business, cash flow valuation techniques (theory and practice) and pricing models for equity investments and debt investments.

RijkenProf. dr. ir. H.A. Rijken is a full professor of finance, with research interests in corporate finance, valuation, credit modelling and default risk.



Student evaluation 2014/2015: "The cases gave a very good insight in how the theory is applied in real life."

Institutional Investments and ALM
Learn the novelties of fixed income markets after the crisis, institutional investors’ investment processes, and the balance sheet (Asset and Liability Management) perspective of large institutional investors.

BoesDr. M.J. Boes is head of investment risk management at ABN Amro Pension Fund and assistant professor of finance.



Student evaluation 2013/2014: "This course clearly explained how pension funds and other institutional investors can use different financial products to generate returns and safeguard their investments. The teacher linked the course material to practice via his own experience."

Behavioural finance
Discover the key behavioural phenomena that influence financial decision making of investors, managers and corporations.

WipplingerDr. E. Wipplinger is an assistant professor of finance. His research focus is in the area of empirical corporate finance.

Student evaluation 2013/2014: "The course gave an alternative view on traditional finance literature."

Bank Management
All about the bank business model and business process management within a bank.

BoonstraProf. dr. W. Boonstra is head of the economic research division and chief economist of Rabobank Netherlands. He is also professor of monetary economics at VU.



Student evaluation 2013/2014: "I enjoyed the combination of theory and practice, as we worked on a case which resembled real life to a large extent. I think we've gained valuable insights in the way a bank works, earns money and the (regulatory) challenges it faces."

Quantitative Financial Risk Management
Develop a deep understanding of modern quantitative risk measurement and management techniques and an ability to apply these techniques to settings of practical interest.

BorovkovaDr. S.A. Borovkova is associate professor of finance. Her research interests include mathematical finance, exotic and commodity derivatives.

Van HaastrechtDr. A. van Haastrecht is an assistant professor of finance. His research interests include quantitative risk management, ALM, and interest rate derivatives.


Student evaluation 2013/2014: "The course material was interesting and reflected the practical problems faced by banks, companies and other institutions when dealing with risks."

Real Estate Management
Study the economics and the finance of real estate markets and the investment alternatives available to both debt and equity investors.

HamelinkDr. F. Hamelink is Associated Professor of Finance at the VU and a Fiduciary Manager with a Lombard Odier Asset Management in Geneva, where he oversees large pension funds’ portfolios.

RouwendalProf. dr. J. Rouwendal is Professor at the Department of Spatial Economics. His research interests are the economic evaluation of cultural heritage, economic analysis of spatial planning, aging and housing.


Student evaluation 2013/2014: "Great subject, learned a lot from this lecturer and how he connected the theory with real life situations."


If you would like to know even more about the courses and electives. Please find an in-depth overview of all the courses in the following [pdf], or consider the study guide.

Finance courses in the study guide.

I want to send my application form to apply for a Master's programme before the first of April. I expect to graduate before the end of this academic year. Is it possible to apply without having my Bachelor's diploma yet?
Yes, that is possible. Your eligibility can be assessed without the actual diploma. After (conditional) admission to one of our MSc programmes, we will contact you and ask for the original and official documents for registration at the university. One of these documents is the official diploma (or certified copy of it).

I have graduated from a Dutch HBO. Is it possible for me to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
Unfortunately, if you hold a HBO BSc diploma you cannot get direct admission to one of our Master's programmes. We have a specific Premaster’s programme for some of our Master’s programmes. The Premaster’s programmes are entirely Dutch taught, you need a NT2-2 certificate to get admission and your GMAT score has to be at least 550. Some Master’s programmes have other entry requirements if you hold a Dutch HBO. Please check ‘admission and application’ on the Master’s page to see if there is a specific Premaster’s programme available.

Is it possible to study one of the Master's programmes part-time?
All Master's programmes open to international students are full time programmes, which means that you are expected to spend at least 4 days a week at the university. There are two part-time Master's programmes both taught in Dutch.

Can I apply for a MSc programme starting in February?
No, all our Master's programmes start in September.

Can I apply online?
International students can apply online. See the webpage "Admission and application" of your respective master's programme for more information.

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: Admission request before 1 May, application in Studielink before 1 June.

Do you require work experience to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?
No, we do not require work experience. Sometimes it might help to have some work experience to get admission if your Bachelor's diploma does not cover all the academic requirements (see admission requirements in the left menu).

Do you require GMAT or GRE to get admission to one of the Master's programmes?       
In some cases we might require a GRE or GMAT. For the Master’s programmes in Economics and Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics a GRE might be required. The admission board will let you know if a GRE is required. At other Master’s programmes a GMAT or GRE is not required. This does not mean that we do not pay any attention to your grades. If you have obtained a good GMAT or GRE score it is recommended to mention this in your application and to enclose a copy of the results. 
Please note: To be admitted to one of our specific Dutch taught pre-master's programmes you have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. 

Is it possible to pay the tuition fee in installments?
Yes, that is possible. The registration period is in August after your arrival in the Netherlands. You can pay the tuition fee either at once before 1 September or you can choose to sign a contract that you will pay it in installments during the academic year.

Albert Menkveld - Universiteit van Nederland

Hoe kan de aandelenmarkt in een milliseconde onderuit gaan?

Patricia Arranz

Student from Spain

Finance Patricia Arranz.jpg

"The Master's in Finance provides the optimal combination of theory and practical application. Plenty of individual assignments and teamwork, and the chance to develop multiple skills required in the real world make the programme especially challenging and interesting."

Admission for Dutch students

The deadline for admission requests is 15 June.

Specific admission requirements Master's programme Finance:

  • Applicants must have completed courses in corporate finance, investments, quantitative methods and statistics, witnessed by thorough knowledge of the standard literature listed below (or its equivalent). Students should clearly indicate how Finance courses, followed in their previous program, have brought them up to the level of the textbooks below.
  • As a Master's student in Finance, you need to have a genuine interest in the area of finance, an inquiring mind, the capacity to cope with the rapid pace of work, an aptitude for picking out key points from large volumes of material, the ability to work accurately under pressure, good communication skills and a critical attitude towards your own results and those of others.
  • Applicants must have completed the following subjects:
    Corporate FinanceBerk & DeMarzo (2013): Corporate Finance, Pearson, or equivalent
    InvestmentsBodie, Kane, and Marcus (2013): Investments [integral] VU-course: Investments 3.4, or equivalent
    MathematicsSydsaeter, Hammond and Strom (2012, Prentice Hall): Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, or equivalent
    Business StatisticsBerenson, Levine, Szabat (2014): Basic Business Statistics, or equivalent

This entry level is assumed known in all of our Master's courses.

Experience in writing a financial research paper is required, for example in a seminar class or thesis project. For VU-students this entails the Corporate Finance Tutorial or Bachelor Thesis.

If you did not take your Economic or (international) Business Administration Bachelor's degree at VU Amsterdam you must submit a request for admission to the admission board. You have to fill out the Form Evaluation admission Master and add to it the following documents: a description of the subjects 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 will then decide whether you can be admitted directly to the Master's or whether you first need to compensate for any mismatches between your qualification and our admission requirements. Possible outcomes of your application are direct admission to the Master's programme, admission under the condition that you must also pass one or more Bachelor's courses, admission to one of the pre-Master's programmes or admission to one of our Bachelor's programmes.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors (in Dutch).

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

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit
When you are planning to continue your studies at VU Amsterdam after your IBA, please contact the Central Admission’s Support Team of VU Amsterdam for further information and specific questions about the offered services for international students like extending your residence permit. You will need to apply for extension of your residence permit if you continue your studies at VU Amsterdam.

Depending on your higher vocational qualifications (Dutch HBO or equivalent) you can gain admission to one of our Pre-master's programmes. In order to do so, you also have to score at least 550 on the GMAT. These Pre-master’s programmes are designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university level.

Please note: these Pre-master's programmes are taught in Dutch only. For more information about the Pre-master's programmes see 'Master na HBO'.

Students who have successfully completed the VU premaster’s programme in Finance are automatically entitled to admission to the master’s programme.

More information regarding registration HBO-bachelors (in Dutch).

Information days and activities
Admission requests, admission requirements and admission questions
(can only be reached by e-mail)
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Other questions

Visit our information days

Master’s Evening7 December 2017
Master's DaySpring 2018

Admission for 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. 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.

Admission and application

Step 1: Meet admission criteria
In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, 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.

Specific admission requirements for the MSc programme Finance:

Applicants need to have successfully completed the following courses and studied the corresponding literature (or its equivalent):

  • Quantitative methods
    Sydsaeter and Hammond (2006, Prentice Hall): Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis
  • Statistics
    Berenson, Levine, Krehbiel (2002): Basic Business Statistics
  • Corporate finance
    Berk & DeMarzo (2013): Corporate Finance, Pearson
  • Investments
    Bodie, Kane, and Marcus (1996): Investments [integral] VU-course: Investments 3.4, or equivalent

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take 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:

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum general score 6,5
  • Minimum score speaking 6,5
  • Minimum score listening 6,5
  • Minimum score writing 6,0
  • Minimum score reading 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

VU-test English-language proficiency: 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.

  • Motivation letter
  • 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

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. 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 and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU 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

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
T +31 20 59 83032




Foto Paul SteemanPaul Steeman
T +31 20 59 88739




Foto Floris KorbeeFloris Korbee
T + 31 20 598 3944



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

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