International Crimes and Criminology

Gain a true understanding of international crimes

Gain a true understanding of international crimes

Why did 21 year old US army reservist Lynndie England torture Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib?  Daughter of a rail worker, Lynndie was raised in a small town in West Virginia. Prior to being sent to Iraq, she worked as a supermarket cashier and in a chicken processing factory. Her reason for going to Iraq: earn money to go to college. What transformed this shy young woman into a cold blooded perpetrator of crimes against humanity inflicting psychological, sexual and physical abuse? How can we prevent such practices to happen in the future?

Is justice done if the International Criminal Court prosecutes LRA-rebel Dominic Ongwen?
Kidnapped at the age of nine by Joseph Kony’s rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army, Ugandan Dominic Ongwen can by all means be considered a victim. However, years later he himself is suspected of abducting children, pillaging villages and killing and maiming its residents. That is the very reason he is currently prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Would criminal prosecution in The Hague mean that justice is done? Or are traditional and local modes of dealing with his actions more suitable?

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Criminology of International Crimes

Answering the above questions is far from easy, yet extremely important. War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide harm individuals, disrupt societies and pose a threat to international peace and security. The international community has over the past decades clearly expressed the need to prevent and stop these international crimes from taking place and to prosecute the world’s most responsible perpetrators. Yet, effective action is often hampered by a lack of will or knowledge. Preventive strategies cannot be effectively set up without a thorough understanding of the root causes of these crimes. A call for action to stop crimes from taking place can only take place if effective monitoring systems are in place, while successful prosecution of orchestrators or organizers of these crimes can only take place if they can be clearly linked to atrocities that have taken place on the ground. Designing these strategies and executing these tasks can only be done by means of taking a multi- and interdisciplinary approach.

The unique Master’s programme in International Crimes and Criminology teaches a small group of approximately 25 students the necessary intellectual skills to take this approach and trains them how to apply the knowledge and expertise to real-world situations.

International Crimes and Criminology is a one-year, full time programme. It is taught fully in English. The programme deals with international crimes in a broad framework. The focus is on the role of individuals, groups, states and the international community. You will gain insight into the psychology of perpetrators, get acquainted with criminological theories on organisational processes and discuss political issues in the international arena. In class we often talk about subjects like torture, rape and genocide. This can be emotionally demanding, but the ultimate aim is to take an academic approach to these topics and to try and understand why and in what contexts such acts take place.

You learn to analyse what makes people commit international crimes (etiology), are trained how to measure and investigate these crimes (prevalence) and challenged to critically reflect on various modes of transitional justice (reaction). You do so by discussing important concepts of international criminal law and by applying criminological, sociological and psychological theories and methods to international crimes.

The programme trains students to become both academics and professionals. After finishing the programme, you will be able to objectively assess empirical data and critically comment on theoretical notions on the one hand, and draft policies, develop preventive strategies and do field work on the other. 

PROGRAMME

The goals of this Master’s programme are:

  • To measure and map international crimes;
  • To define and conceptualize international crimes;
  • To map the consequences and measure the costs of international crimes;
  • To study the causes of international crimes;
  • To analyse ways  to effectively prevent, stop and react to this type of criminality.

The following subjects are covered in the programme:

  • Violence in Sudan, the genocide in Rwanda, Syria, Libya, Iraq
  • The War on Terror and Abu Ghraib
  • The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Social psychology: Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments
  • Corporations as perpetrators of international crimes: the oil and mining industry
  • Modern bureaucracy and Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil;
  • The history and political context of the ad-hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court
  • Geneva Conventions, Convention Against Torture, Genocide Convention
  • Command responsibility, superior orders, joint criminal enterprise;
  • Case law: Nuremberg trials, Milošević, Taylor, Karadžić, Lubanga, Gbagbo

COURSES

The programme consists of five compulsory courses all students need to complete and a choice of several optional courses. You will complete the programme with a Master’s thesis which needs to be interdisciplinary in nature and focused on international crimes. 

Two examples of courses offered in the programme: 

Perpetrators and bystanders 
The central aim of this course is to achieve a thorough understanding of the psychology of the perpetrator. Who is he? Why does he commit atrocious crimes like rape, torture and genocide? Why are so many otherwise law-abiding people involved in international crimes? 

International Criminal Courts and Tribunals 
This course studies the case law of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Important trials at the International Criminal Court will also be closely scrutinized. The course includes field trips to the International Criminal Court and guest lectures from experts. VU University Amsterdam is just a 30-minute train ride from The Hague, the legal capital of the world.
     

Calendar         

Title 
The programme leads to the Master of Science (MSc) degree for all students who earn a minimum of 60 credits. Credits are listed according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This system is based on student workload, which includes hours spent in class, studying, writing papers and completing assignments. A full academic year is equivalent to 60 EC, one semester to 30 EC. 

Schedule 
The regular academic year in the Netherlands runs from September to June and is divided into a semester system. July and August are holiday months. Remember that all schedules are subject to change!

International Crimes and Criminology courses in the study guide

On completing the programme, you will be able to objectively assess empirical data, critically comment on theoretical notions and assess legal documents. On the practical side, you will be able to draft policy documents, develop preventive strategies and carry out fieldwork.

Successful graduates of the Master's programme are equipped to embark on careers in a variety of organizations such as:

  • International criminal courts and tribunals
  • Human rights organizations
  • Refugee organizations
  • Government departments
  • Universities or other research institutes
  • Intergovernmental organizations

Alumni

"Ewa Kozakiewicz with Mme Arbia (registrar of the ICC)" "I grew up and studied in Canada, I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology at Carleton University in Ottawa. After my Bachelor's degree, I decided that I wanted to get some international experience and study a unique topic that was not available at home. I then found the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme at VU Amsterdam.
The programme was extremely interesting and it exposed me to an entire new world of international criminology. This was a topic which was never brought up in any of my undergraduate courses and I found it fascinating. While finishing my Master's thesis, I interned at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for several months. Afterwards, I interned at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in Vienna and eventually at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. Shortly after my internship, I was hired at the Tribunal where I have worked ever since. I find my work in the international field of terrorism challenging and extremely interesting. The International Crimes and Criminology Master exposed me to the world of international crimes and various international institutions that deal with such crimes. I have been very fortunate to gain many wonderful experiences and opportunities over the last few years." 
Ewa Kozakiewicz, alumnus of International Crimes and Criminology

  

picture ICC alumnus Courtney Tosh"After earning a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Criminology, Law, and Psychology, I took some time to evaluate the direction I wanted my career to go. It was during this time that I discovered
the Master's programme of International Crimes and Criminology at the VU, and pursuing this path was a no-brainer. I was fortunate enough to
work at the university as a research assistant. While writing my thesis, I interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on the defence team for Radovan Karadzic. Once I graduated, I interned in the Victims and Witnesses Unit of the International Criminal Court. After two rewarding years in the Netherlands, I returned to Canada to continue my career development. Since arriving back in Ottawa, I have been working in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the Federal Government. This department has interesting programmes, such as ones specifically aimed at helping women in refugee and IDP camps. The work I do has put my international education to use, and I have discovered that there are numerous jobs which require, both directly and indirectly, the skills and knowledge I gained from the VU. For me, developing my career in international criminology is an ongoing process, one which began with my choice to take this Master's programme."
Courtney Tosh, alumnus of International Crimes and Criminology

 

picture alumnus ICC Jasper de Bie"I started the Master ICC in 2009. I find ICC an interesting and renewing high quality Master, because it approaches and explains criminality in a different way. Not merely deviant, but also complying (although unethical) behaviour is being studied; a topic that is underexposed in most criminology bachelors. My interest for this topic developed during the programme, which made me decide to conduct the research for my final thesis in South Africa. An opportunity which was extensively encouraged by the staff of this programme. Besides an overwhelming experience and an (in my opinion) interesting thesis, this trip also convinced me to continue my academic career within this field of study. Hence, I started as a PhD-candidate at the University of Leiden and the Ministry of Justice and Security in September 2011. My research on Jihadi Terrorism in the Netherlands is mainly based on closed police files. Since terrorism was one of the topics within the Master's programme International Crimes and Criminology, it helped me to jump-start my research. I notice that both the theories and models, as well as the research methods learned during the programme, are applicable to my current job. Moreover, the issue of complying behaviour is recognizable with jihadi terrorists. They seem to derive certain norms, values and standards from an ideology and feel obliged to strictly live according to this set of rules. Furthermore, these values are necessary in order to justify their violent behaviour. To conclude: a more than interesting Master's programme which will hopefully lead to a successful career!"
Jasper de Bie, alumnus of International Crimes and Criminology

Interdisciplinary perspective 
The programme offers a multifaceted approach to international crimes. Insights from a variety of disciplines such as criminology, sociology, psychology, international criminal law and political science are dealt with extensively. 

Strong research links 
Scholars come to VU University with the intention of integrating knowledge, stimulating debate and conducting innovative research on international crimes. High-performing students are invited to participate in the research projects run by researchers at the Faculty's Center for International Criminal Justice.

Strong link to practice  
ICC-students visit all the important legal institutions in The Hague, while international experts regularly teach guest lectures and provide research seminars. High performing students can follow the selective course 'International Law Clinic', in which they occupy a position as Research Associate with the Netherlands Office of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG). In 2016 VU University will also send a team to participate in the yearly ICC Moot Court Competition. 

International and diverse 
The programme aims to bring together a select group of highly skilled and motivated students from various backgrounds and nationalities who wish to analyse, understand and help combat international crimes and gross human rights violations. In recent years, lawyers, journalists, criminologists, psychologists and historians have participated. We have alumni from a large variety of countries such as from Rwanda, Colombia, Afghanistan, Armenia, Sudan, the United States, Canada and the EU. The diversity of the group makes the exchange of knowledge and experiences even more stimulating.

A programme that matters 
In the rapidly developing field of supranational criminology there is a dire need for theoretically sound and empirically based knowledge. A better understanding of the underlying dynamics that lead to international crimes can help criminologists and legal experts to draft plans for effective intervention in explosive situations. VU University Amsterdam is the only university in the Netherlands and one of the few universities worldwide to offer this specialization. This means that you will possess unique skills when you successfully complete the Master's programme. 

Summerschool on International Criminal Justice 
Is a whole year too long? Many of the questions addressed in the ICC master are also discussed in the two-week Amsterdam Summerschool International Criminal Justice. It offers a challenging programme which aims to create a better understanding of the complex nature of international crimes, its perpetrators and the reaction by the international community. 

Isabella Regan

Student

Isabella Regan MSc ICC

"ICC is about addressing atrocities in its political, historical and international context."

Overview International Crimes & Criminology

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year (full-time)

Application deadline

1 April for international students and Dutch students with an international degree. 1 June for Dutch students with a Dutch degree and students from VU University Amsterdam.

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Specializations

 

Field of Interest

Economics, Business and Law/Behavioural and Social Sciences

Lisa-Claire Hutchinson

Student from Australia

Lisa-Claire_Hutchinson

“International Crimes and Criminology combines two of my passions. Prior to taking this programme, I had studied the domestic application of Criminological theory, and my exposure to International Law was confined to its legal context. Exploring the two disciplines together now is such an eye-opener! Reconciling the social science and the legal perspectives challenges students’ assumptions regarding the adequacy of past international criminal outcomes and encourages us think critically and flexibly about how the commission of international crimes might be averted in the future.

The teaching staff regularly recruits research assistants to engage in academic research. in the context of CICJ-research lab ICC students can intern with CICJ-projects such as: When Justice is Done, Escaping Justice and Criminal Careers of Dutch War Criminals. Students assist in gathering data e.g. by means of file analysis, discourse analysis or taking interviews. They furthermore analyse this information and possibly publish in academic journals.  

In addition, VU University has many contacts in the professional field and regularly facilitates students to obtain internships at relevant institutions based in or outside The Hague. Our students have in the past years interned at many institutions, including: 

  • the International Criminal Court
  • the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia
  • the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda 
  • the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Tribunal
  • the United Nations
  • the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
  • Human Rights Watch 
  • Amnesty International
  • Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement
  • Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’ 

 

Teaching staff of the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme conduct research at the Center for International Criminal Justice (CICJ).

CICJ is a university-based organization dedicated to interdisciplinary study, debate and research relating to the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, the crime of aggression and other gross human rights violations. In the search for effective means to study, prevent and react to such violence, the CICJ conducts legal and empirical research projects within an interdisciplinary environment.

As a Master’s student, you will be the first to hear about the outcomes of the research carried out, since the results will be incorporated in your lectures. High performing students are given the opportunity to assist as interns in ongoing research projects.

Teaching staff of the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme is highly qualified and engaged in ongoing research on international crimes. All staff members regularly publish in well known peer-reviewed academic journals. Workshops and occasional lectures are taught by assistant professors or PHD-candidates.

Staff members coordinating and teaching courses include:

  • Associate professor Joris van Wijk, International Crimes and Criminology and director of the Master's Programme
  • Professor Catrien Bijleveld, Research Methodology of International Crimes
  • Professor Elies van Sliedregt, International Criminal Courts and Tribunals
  • Professor Wim Huisman, Corporations and International Crimes
  • Assistant professor Barbora Hola, Perpetrators and Bystanders (optional course) 

Each year a number of guest lecturers is also invited to teach in the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme. They either provide a single lecture or a number of lectures in the context of a research seminar or an expert course.
Overview of past and future guest lectures

Throughout the year students of the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme can participate in interesting activities, such as guest lectures, excursions or other extracurricular activities such as documentary nights and study trips. More information about past activities can be found on our Facebook page. These activities are either organized by teaching staff or students who participate in the social committee.

The International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme is a full time programme. Over the past years, this has not stopped a number of professionals to join our programme during their sabbatical leave or as a start of a ‘career change’. For professionals who have an interest to follow parts of the programme the following options exist:

  • Contract education (paying per course). Practitioners can expand their personal and professional knowledge and expertise by following specific individual courses (subjects) offered within the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme. For practicing laywers who want to improve their understanding on methodological issues following the course ‘Research Methodology’. Diplomats or journalists who want to increase their knowledge on the workings of the legal institutions in The Hague may especially benefit from following the course ‘International Criminal Courts and Tribunals’. For more information on the tuition fees, conditions and possibilities, please contact: j.van.wijk@vu.nl.
  • In-company courses. When a group of professionals are interested to learn more about the topics covered in the International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme VU University also offers the possibility to provide ‘in-company’ modules or working groups within your institution. For more information, please contact: j.van.wijk@vu.nl

Below you find answers to frequently asked questions from international and national students.

Non-pertinent academic background (other than law, psychology, sociology, political sciences)
Q: I have a non-pertinent background, but do have a Bachelor’s degree. Is there a chance to be admitted?
A: In case of students with a non-pertinent academic background, we are looking for indications that they are really motivated and able to do the program. Such indications include the motivation letter but also possible extracurricular activities, internships and the like. Also, if you lack a pertinent background, you should score very well on other pertinent indicators such as grades, TOEFL, reference letters.

HBO (university of Applied Sciences) students
Q: Can I apply for this programme with an HBO diploma?
A: No, only students with a bachelor degree from a research university can be considered.

Q: Can my application be considered with a relevant pre-Master’s  programme?
A: Yes, but the chances of admission are very small. Only if you have excellent results and considerable experience in the field, your application will be considered. Note that every year there are more applicants than there are places available. The admission board gives preference to students with a Bachelor’s degree from a research university. The faculty does not offer pre-Master’s programmes for this specific Master’s programme.

English proficiency
Q: I have not yet done an English proficiency test. Can I apply without the test result?
A: Yes you can. You will have to hand in a test result that meets the minimum before the end of August.

Q: My Bachelor's/Master's programme was taught in English / I have obtained an IB-certificate (International Baccalaureate)  – do I still have to hand in an English test result?
A: No, not if your Bachelor's/Master's programme was taught in the EU or an English speaking country outside the EU or if you have obtained an English IB-certificate. 

Q: I have completed part of my bachelor studies in English (e.g. I’ve been on an exchange programmethat was taught in English). Do I still have to hand in an English proficiency test result?

A: Yes, unless your entire bachelor's programme was taught in English, you still have to include an English proficiency test result. Also, applicants who have obtained an English IB-certificate (International Baccalaureate) do not have to hand in the results of an English proficiency test. Please note that this explanation is not applicable to international students who have obtained one of their degrees (Master's / Bachelor's / IB-certificate) in English, in a non-EU, non-English speaking country. If this is your case, please contact your International Student Advisor.

Literature list and Course Descriptions
Q: What are these?
A: This a list of the most relevant books and/or articles used during my Bachelor (or other) studies and the most relevant courses including descriptions that your prior education consisted of. Please note, if you have these documents readily available add them to your application. If not, you can leave them out.

Original (hard copy) documents
Q: Do I have to send original documents per postal mail?
A: Not for the initial application. If you get admitted based on the digitally uploaded documents, we will inform you about which original documents we will need you to send and by when.

Part-time
Q: Is it possible to study for a Master's course part-time?
A: No. The programme is clearly designed for full time students. In almost all courses, attendance is expected.

Deadlines
Q: What are the application deadlines?
A: For non-EU students: 1 April, for EU (including NL students): 1 June. Please note though that we strongly advise an early application as only a limited number of places are available for which we will start admitting people from mid November. Starting from April the competition for the last available slots will be high.

Required Grade Average
Q: Can I apply when my overall grade average is lower than the set minimum?
A: A lower grade average does lower your chances of being accepted but with a relevant background and excellent motivation, admission is still possible.

Tuition Fees
Q: I have a question about tuition fees, where can I find the answer?
A: Please check this website. If you cannot find the answer here, please contact the Central Student Desk.

If  you did not find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us.

Mohammed Khater

Student from Sudan

Mohammed_Khatir

“I am from Sudan and I worked for several years for the International Committee of the Red Cross. The programme in International Crimes and Criminology gives me the unique opportunity to compare the practical side of the work that I have done for the Red Cross with its theoretical component. The subjects in the programme reflect reality and they give me a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on the field. It requires quite some effort, intellectually as well as emotionally, but it’s so valuable that I can recommend it to anyone."

Student experiences

Federica D'Alessandra"Before enrolling in the ICC Master's programme, I had been conducting research on genocide and mass atrocities for four years, including field research in Northern India, the DR Congo, Northern Uganda and Rwanda. The programme constitutes a great opportunity to penetrate the core of international crimes, whether from a victim, perpetrator or bystander’s prospective. Active participation is encouraged, so I organized a guest lecture about the International Community as a Bystander with colleague Dr. Knauss, associate to the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. The Master's programme gave me the chance to conduct a research parallel to my own, including an independent field trip to Somalia, resulting in an interesting work on transitional justice. The programme also gave me the chance to expand my network and develop important intellectual connection, as well as to meet some of the dearest friends I have today in my life. It is an enriching and unique experience, and I recommend you to take up the challenge." 

Federica D'Alessandra (Italy), International Crimes and Criminology student


Jelmer Brouwer"What I liked most about the International Crimes and Criminology Master’s programme is that the group of students is small but very diverse and that the classes are truly interactive. The study has been demanding but definitely worth the effort, as it provided me with great opportunities outside the classroom as well. I have conducted a six-month internship at the human rights division of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where I was able to see the daily realities and practical aspects of my study. Afterwards I spent several months in Burma and Thailand, where I did research for my Master's thesis on ethnic conflict in Southeast Burma. I interviewed numerous staff members of embassies, NGOs and international organizations and was even able to interview the leader of the ethnic rebel group that my thesis focuses on. Besides that, I visited Burmese refugee camps in Thailand where I spoke with some of the 150.000 people that live there. The internship and fieldwork were the perfect contemplation of the theoretical courses and made the whole experience into the most enriching and educational of my life." 

Jelmer Brouwer (The Netherlands), International Crimes and Criminology student  

Isabella Regan MSc ICC"During my exchange to Oslo I attended classes in both human rights and international humanitarian law my attention was drawn to International Crimes and Criminology (ICC). ICC is unique in the Netherlands, not only because of its programme, but also because of the students participating. With different backgrounds like law, sociology, psychology or criminology and coming from different nationalities each student contributes a different vision or context on the subject. Therefore, you learn to not only observe international crimes, but include history and political events in your analysis as well. "  

Isabella Regan, International Crimes and Criminology student 

Former and current students have created a Facebook group and a LinkedIn group for exchanging news, experiences and professional opportunities. Here you can see what students and alumni are up to.

Dutch students

The Master's programme International Crimes and Criminology is open to both Dutch and international students. This Master's programme is selective, meaning that all applicants (including Bachelor students of VU University Amsterdam) need to apply by uploading additional application documents (see below: applicable application procedure). The International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme is open to a limited number of students only. The Admission Board of this Master's programme will make a merit based selection of students.

The admission requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree in Criminology, Law, Social Sciences, Political Science or Psychology.
  • Applicants who do not meet the abovementioned requirement(s) are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background and a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of international crimes.
  • Language proficiency requirements: VU University Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. For Dutch students or students already residing in the Netherlands it’s possible to take the institutional TOEFL test that the VU University Amsterdam offers.

Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this Master's programme and their application could result in a rejection. The Faculty of Law does not offer any pre-Master's programmes.

Focus of the programme
The Admission Board would like to stress that the Master's programme focuses specifically and explicitly on the international crimes genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This means that topics like human trafficking, drug trafficking and gangs will not be dealt with. Please take this into consideration before you apply.

The Admission Board will need to receive your complete file at all times in order to maintain a good overview of all applicants and to be able to make a good comparison between applicants. In addition, when in doubt the Admission Board can factor the other documents in the application to make a final decision. Incomplete files and files handed in after the deadline cannot be taken into consideration.

Criteria for selection
The main focus of selection will be on GPA or an overall grade average. Students should at least have a B or 7.3 as an overall average or a GPA of at least 3.

Other factors which will be taken into account in addition to the GPA:

  • A student’s level of interdisciplinarity
  • Mark and content of the bachelor or master thesis
  • Relevant experience (internship and work)
  • General impression of the candidate such as shown interest in international crimes, letter of motivation, letter of recommendation, proof of academic writing
     

For both Dutch and international students, it is possible to send in an application from as early as November in the academic year preceding the academic year you would like to start with the programme. The ICC Admission Board starts reviewing applications and accepting students in January and continues to do so until all available places are filled. Therefore early application is strongly advised.

The deadlines for application are:

  • 1 April for students from outside the EU.
  • 1 June for all other students. Please note: if international students apply after 1 April, we cannot guarantee accommodation for you.

Please note that the deadline for applying for the VU Fellowship scholarship programme is usually set to 1 March. If you wish to apply for the scholarship, both the scholarship application and the application for the programme should be completed simultaneously.

If you have any questions regarding the application for this master's programme, please contact the Admission Officer.


Please select the applicable application procedure:

Questions on admission and application
If you are a student with a Dutch degree and you have any questions on admission or application, please contact toelatingscommissie.rechten@vu.nl.

If you have an international degree, please contact our Admission Officer, ms. Laura Smit: admissionsfl@vu.nl.

General questions
If you have any general questions after reading the website, please contact our Communications department: info.law@vu.nl.

International students

The Master's programme International Crimes and Criminology is open to both Dutch and international students. This Master's programme is selective, meaning that all applicants (including Bachelor students of VU University Amsterdam) need to apply by uploading additional application documents (see below: applicable application procedure). The International Crimes and Criminology Master's programme is open to a limited number of students only. The Admission Board of this Master's programme will make a merit based selection of students.

The admission requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree in Criminology, Law, Social Sciences, Political Science or Psychology.
  • Applicants who do not meet the abovementioned requirement(s) are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background and a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of international crimes.
  • Language proficiency requirements: VU University Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. For Dutch students or students already residing in the Netherlands it’s possible to take the institutional TOEFL test that the VU University Amsterdam offers.

Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this Master's programme and their application could result in a rejection. The Faculty of Law does not offer any pre-Master's programmes.

Focus of the programme
The Admission Board would like to stress that the Master's programme focuses specifically and explicitly on the international crimes genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This means that topics like human trafficking, drug trafficking and gangs will not be dealt with. Please take this into consideration before you apply.

The Admission Board will need to receive your complete file at all times in order to maintain a good overview of all applicants and to be able to make a good comparison between applicants. In addition, when in doubt the Admission Board can factor the other documents in the application to make a final decision. Incomplete files and files handed in after the deadline cannot be taken into consideration.

Criteria for selection
The main focus of selection will be on GPA or an overall grade average. Students should at least have a B or 7.3 as an overall average or a GPA of at least 3.

Other factors which will be taken into account in addition to the GPA:

  • A student’s level of interdisciplinarity
  • Mark and content of the bachelor or master thesis
  • Relevant experience (internship and work)
  • General impression of the candidate such as shown interest in international crimes, letter of motivation, letter of recommendation, proof of academic writing
     

For both Dutch and international students, it is possible to send in an application from as early as November in the academic year preceding the academic year you would like to start with the programme. The ICC Admission Board starts reviewing applications and accepting students in January and continues to do so until all available places are filled. Therefore early application is strongly advised.

The deadlines for application are:

  • 1 April for students from outside the EU.
  • 1 June for all other students. Please note: if international students apply after 1 April, we cannot guarantee accommodation for you.

Please note that the deadline for applying for the VU Fellowship scholarship programme is usually set to 1 March. If you wish to apply for the scholarship, both the scholarship application and the application for the programme should be completed simultaneously.

If you have any questions regarding the application for this master's programme, please contact the Admission Officer.


Please select the applicable application procedure:

VU Amsterdam offers various scholarships to international Master's students. 

Visa/Residence permit

Students from non-EU/EEA and Visa required countries who will stay for a period longer than 3 months, are required to obtain a permit for temporary stay (MVV- Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) in order to enter the Netherlands. The university applies for this visa by a so-called ‘accelerated visa procedure’. Students can not apply for a MVV themselves. 
More information on the application for your residence permit 

Insurance

Before you come to the Netherlands, you should inquire whether your current health insurance will suffice in the Netherlands or if you need a supplementary cover. If you are insured with your own company for your stay in the Netherlands, take a proof with you that you are. 
More information on insurances

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 

Questions on admission and application 
If you are a student with a Dutch degree and you have any questions on admission or application, please contact toelatingscommissie.rechten@vu.nl.

If you have an international degree, please contact our Admission Officer, ms. Laura Smit: admissionsfl@vu.nl.

General questions 
If you have any general questions after reading the website, please contact our Communications department: info.law@vu.nl