Corporate Law: Law, Markets and Behavior

The modern lawyer: not just the law, but finance and behavior as well

The modern lawyer: not just the law, but finance and behavior as well

Lawyers used to only deal with the law. Advise your client on the rules, if need be litigate, and you do a good job. In our changing world, this is no longer true. For lawyers to live up to the expectations of clients and society, they need to have broader skills. Lawyers also have to understand the underlying economic principles of transactions and procedures they are involved in. Behavioral perspectives are key in dynamics such as the governance of a company, mergers and acquisitions and the formation of contracts. Global economic shockwaves have demonstrated that rules alone do not suffice; we need to think about ethics as well. In other words: lawyers will fall short by just knowing the legal rules, even if they know them well.

This Master’s programme delivers lawyers who know their way in the wider arena of the future. The law still is pivotal. Tort law, contract law, corporate law, regulatory law and insolvency law; the anatomy of these fields is explored in depth. But further perspectives are added. We will examine the legal side of corporate finance, but also delve into the underlying balance sheets and profit and loss accounts; we will examine the regulatory framework in which banks operate, but also question their role in society as a whole; we will examine the structure of contract law, but also focus on the psychology behind contract-negotiations and dispute resolution. In short, we offer a multidisciplinary master’s programme that both deepens our understanding of the law and fosters our knowledge of the fields with which the law interacts, such as finance, psychology and ethics.

A unique VU-UvA joint venture: leading institutions and academics on board

Academically, this programme is a joint venture. The law faculties of the VU Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit) and the UvA (University of Amsterdam) have combined their expertise to cover the wide range of the programme. And given the multidisciplinary nature of the programme, it could not be lawyers alone: scholars from faculties such as Economics and Psychology play a key role in the program. They will share with you the latest scholarly insights.

Furthermore, studying law in a broader context requires a window on real legal-financial life. We have therefore teamed up with leading institutions from the field to take the law out of the books and see it in action. The programme is designed and executed in close cooperation with mayor players such as the Dutch Financial Regulator, leading banks such as ABN and ING, and a number of Dutch law firms from the highest league.

This high-profile network offers you, as a student, a range of advantages. The curriculum reflects the needs of your future employers. Frequent guest lectures by leading experts from the affiliated institutions bring you up to date with the latest developments. You will come to speak to those who are in the driving seat of your field – and thus be enabled to start building your network.

Focus and intensity: only small number of students

Focus is key in our master's programme. The relatively small number of students in class guarantees a highly interactive character of the courses. Students as well as lecturers coming from different countries and different legal cultures strongly contribute to a special and a truly global character of the programme. It all offers a unique intellectual atmosphere for group discussions, presentation of views and exchange of ideas that are enriched by diverse national perspectives.

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LMB_Jan_Testimonial

When I found the ‘Law, Markets and Behavior’ programme during an internet research, it intrigued me by promising the combination of law, economics and psychology. My law studies in Germany were focussed on teaching black letter law, without revealing its relations to other disciplines. The motivation for choosing this master was its interdisciplinary approach since I wanted to acquire a deeper understanding of the interplay of law, economics and psychology.
The master itself has surpassed my expectations. We are a small, diverse group of Dutch and international students from all over the world which gives me the opportunity to discover the challenges that different legal backgrounds can evoke. The classes provide room for active participation in discussions, presentations and team assignments in order to develop and improve the necessary skills for being a lawyer. Regarding the content, lectures like ‘Law and Behavioral Economics’ give an understanding of the relationship of law and other disciplines, in this case economics. As many of the lectures are related to each other, my understanding of the mutual effects has increased a lot. Finally, the city of Amsterdam is not only one of the most wonderful cities for me, but it also offers lots of opportunities for my career as well as free time activities. Just take a walk inside the picturesque centre with its canals, narrow streets and beautiful houses and you will see! 
Jan Schlöter, Student Law, Markets and Behavior

 

LMB_Deborah_Testimonial

During my years as a bachelor student, I always regretted not having a more diverse curriculum with more practical modules or assignments. Law is an area that interacts with many other fields that interested me, such as psychology, economics or even politics. For this reason I chose the master Law, Markets and Behaviour. The multidisciplinary focus of the masters forces us to think beyond the black letter of the law, and resulted already in quite some lively and inspiring discussions during class. Courses like Contract Law and Dispute Resolution is a good example of how diverse the master is. After the theoretical part we could exercise our newly acquired knowledge during multiple negotiation games. Since I want to become a lawyer after this masters, I found these games very relevant and challenging. Negotiating on contracts, dispute settling or experiencing first-hand how the ‘prisoners dilemma’ works was totally new to me, and something I had missed during my bachelors. Besides the educational part it is also a lot of fun to study together with people from all over the world. The VU made us feel very welcome by organizing lots of fun activities. All in all I am very happy that I chose this track. The multidisciplinary approach makes this master very unique in its kind, and will definitely make me a better lawyer in the end. 
Deborah Binnendijk, Student Law, Markets and Behavior

 

LMB_Kevin_Testimonial When I practiced law, I learned that we have often devoted ourselves too much in the law. However, a strong advice requires understanding from a business perspective, including the behavior of persons whom we are dealing with. The Law, Markets and Behavior program provides insight from these disciplines that will benefit not only the new graduates to have an advantage, but also experienced practitioners to jump out of our comfort zone. The lectures are very unique and rich: we learn to negotiate effectively, improving our understanding of biases in human behavior. The courses are build on student interactions. We have discussions about various topics: from the functioning of markets and the economy, to laws in the corporate field. It is also very exciting learning with fellow students with various backgrounds. I give my greatest appreciation to the university for arranging the occasional dinner with them and with the lecturers. Diversity plays a great role to broaden my mind. Besides, without them, this year that feels so short, would not have been this exciting! 
Kevin Tanumihadja, Student Law, Markets and Behavior  

 

 

The law faculties of the VU (Vrije Universiteit) and the UvA (University of Amsterdam) have combined their expertise to cover the wide range of the programme. Formally, the Law, Markets and Behavior programme is a track within the VU Master's programme Corporate Law. This legal Master’s programme has deep-rooted multidisciplinary perspectives. Law is the vantage point of our thinking. Classical fields such as Contract Law, Tort Law, the Corporate Form, Insolvency Law and Regulatory Law will be taught in depth. In order for you to operate in an international context, we will focus on the principles; details of national laws will not be dealt with. 

The non-legal perspectives will be interwoven in these courses. For example: there is a course on contract law, half of which will be about the (psychological) dynamics of contract negotiations. A similar approach is taken in other subjects, where traditional legal subjects are combined with insights from other disciplines. The goal of the masters’ programme is to enhance the students understanding of the law as it functions in practice, with the ultimate goal of training better, more skillful lawyers. The student will write several papers and prepare oral presentations during the academic year.     

Master in Law (LLM) 

The degree of Master in Law (LLM) is conferred upon students who satisfactorily achieve a minimum of 60 European Credits (EC). This includes writing a Master's thesis that students will defend at the conclusion of the programme. The programme directors as well as the programme coordinator will monitor the students’ performance during the programme. In July, VU Amsterdam hosts the graduation ceremony of the programme during which the students receive their Master diploma. Families and friends are warmly invited to join this special event.

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 and hours spent on studying, writing papers and completing assignments. A full academic year is equivalent to 60 EC (two semesters).

Schedule

The regular academic year in the Netherlands runs from 1 September through the end of June, followed by the closing ceremony in July. Please notice that all schedules are subject to change!

Internship

Some students opt for a student internship at an international company or law firm located in the Netherlands. Normally, such internship is extracurricular (i.e. no ECTS credits are awarded). Although the students must arrange such internships themselves, companies sometimes provide information to VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam in this respect. In such case, relevant information will be published on Blackboard. Moreover, the directors and the coordinator of the programme can provide advice to the students with respect to an internship. 

Master's thesis

Students will complete the programme by writing and defending a Master's thesis. The student will select the topic of the Master's thesis himself/herself in cooperation with the supervisor of the Master's thesis. Many students are inspired by subjects covered in the courses when choosing the topic of their Master's thesis. Normally, a Master's thesis requires between eight and ten weeks of research work and includes approximately 12.000 words.

Supervisors will encourage the student to choose an appropriate topic, and the student will learn how to write an academic Master's thesis according to the accepted standards of legal research. During the research and writing process the supervisor will provide the student with guidance by giving the student advice and by commenting on how to modify and improve the research. All students will defend their Master thesis during seminar sessions attended by academic staff and other students in June. The Master's thesis will be reviewed by a second professor (the second reader). The supervisor and the second reader will decide upon the final grade jointly.

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Corporate law: Law, Markets and Behavior courses in study guide.

We offer this multidisciplinary master's programme for good reasons. Our partners - law firms and financial institutions – have been telling us time and again that not just legal, but also financial and psychological knowledge should be in the tool kit of todays lawyer. Bear in mind: these institutions have become partner of our masters’ programme for a reason. They need the kind of people we educate. 

This is an international trend. It is, for example, not just the Dutch Central Bank who wonders why financial regulation failed to prevent the financial crises; the thought that firm “culture” it is an important factor in either undermining or enhancing the efficacy of regulation is increasingly embraced internationally. 

Therefore, be it the Dutch students or those from abroad, those who successfully completed the Master's programme Law, Markets and Behavior have a wide range of career choices. They can work as professional business lawyers, in-house legal counsels for companies, government officials, corporate executives, legal professionals for an international (intergovernmental) organization, etc.

Over the last decade, all of the Netherlands’ top international firms have moved to an area called the ‘Amsterdam Zuidas’. VU-University is located right at the heart of this area. The concentration of high-end legal activity within a five-minute walk of our faculty probably is unprecedented – a law faculty cannot have better neighbors. We have seized the opportunity with both hands. In recent years, VU-University and UvA-University have developed very fruitful partnerships with all major players. This extends to both research and teaching. And it is not law firms exclusively: leading banks, insurers and regulators have joined us as well.

Our students, we know for a fact, greatly benefit. At the high level of our master programmes, the law cannot be understood in isolation from its context. Our partnerships offer the broad view you need.

Further, to fulfill it’s international ambitions, VU is working closely with the University of Amsterdam. The masters’ programme Law, Markets and Behavior is a prime example of this new development. The sum of our specialties constitutes a world-class tandem.

Moreover, Amsterdam is the gateway to other important capitals in Europe, and students can easily travel by fast train to, for example, Brussels, Paris, London or Berlin. This offers a unique experience of studying in the neighborhood of a real international business environment.

Last but not least: Amsterdam is a good place to spend your time! The seventeenth-century canals of Amsterdam were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The area around the city's main canals - Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsensgracht - is an international icon of urban planning and architecture. Student life is as lively and rich as you want it to be. Museums and cultural life are world class. Any free hour well spent will provide you with long lasting memories.

Corporate Law: Law, Markets and Behavior

Overview Corporate Law: Law, Markets and Behavior

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April for students from outside the EU. 1 June for all other students.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

 

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

  1. Law, Behavior and the Functioning of Markets (6 credits) 
  2. Anatomy of Corporate Law (6 credits) 
  3. Insolvency Law & Corporate Finance (6 credits) 
  4. Contract Law and Dispute Resolution (6 credits) 
  5. Law and Behavioral Economics (6 credits) 
  6. Tort Law and Competition Law (6 credits) 
  7. Financial Law (6 credits) 
  8. Lawyers’ Ethics (6 credits)

1. Contract Law, Dispute Resolution and Psychology
Coordinator: Prof. mr. J.L. Smeehuijzen 

General description
This course addresses the principles of contract law and the psychological dimensions of contract negotiations. It is a course in which the legal perspective and the behavioral perspective are intertwined.

The course does not deal with the specifics of national laws of contract; instead it focuses on the universal themes of contract law. This more abstract approach provides you with a broader understanding and prepares you for a future in which you will exchange thoughts with colleagues from other national jurisdictions.

The topics analyzed in the contractual component of the course include, but are not limited to: a) the notion of contract; b) formation of contract; c) validity of contracts; d) interpretation and contents; e) supervening events in the life of contract; f) remedies for non-performance; g) third-party consequences.

The component on contract negotiations will provide you with an experiential, simulation-based introduction to the theory and practice of negotiation and help you understand how your personal background, values, feelings and personal style affect your performance as a negotiator.

The topics to be discussed in the behavioral classes on negotiations will be: a) value distribution in single-issue, two-party negotiations; b) value creation in multi-issue, two-party negotiations; c) psychological factors in dispute resolution; introduction to
counseling: the lawyer-client relationship. 

2. The Anatomy of Corporate Law
Coordinator
: Prof. mr. J.L. Smeehuijzen 

General description 
This course addresses the economics of corporate law with a focus on the role that corporate constituencies play in the running of the corporation, as well as on the relations amongst them. 

Rather than focusing on the analysis of specific legal systems, this course pays particular attention to the issue of the economic rationale behind different legal approaches to the organization of business corporations in contemporary societies. One of its main targets is to examine whether and how different institutional and economic settings justify tailored legal approaches to the regulation of business corporations. 

The topics analyzed in the course include, but are not limited to: a) the economics of shareholder behavior; b) collective action problems and the rationale of the separation of ownership and control in business corporations; c) the team production framework of corporate law; d) the duties of the directors of the corporation; e) the role of executive compensation on director’s performance f) the law and economics of debt governance; g) the position of employees within the corporate structure; h) the relationships between corporations and third parties. 

3. Insolvency Law & Corporate Finance 
Coordinators: Prof. R.J. de Weijs, J. de Vries 

General description 
Lawyers increasingly have to deal with financial information. Without a thorough understanding of financial information, they can often still do their job, but they do not really understand what the larger project they are involved in means for their clients and third parties. So they end up only executing instructions from their clients, without providing them with proper advice. 

This course starts with basic corporate finance: the interpretation and analysis of a company’s balance sheet and the profit and loss statement, and how they interrelate. It also includes company valuation methods, such as Discounted Cash Flow. 

The second part of the course provides a working knowledge of the interrelation of basic corporate finance and law, for example how the concepts of equity and debt translate into legal concepts for shareholders and creditors, and what the litmus test of insolvency has to say about these concepts. Students will learn about how corporate finance concepts such as solvency ratios, liquidity and leverage relate to legal rules on directors’ liability. Also, a critical analysis will be provided of the assumptions underlying the traditional debtor-creditor relationship, and whether these assumptions still hold in the light of the great variety of creditors, ranging from professional hedge funds to unsecured trade creditors and tort victims. Additionally, we will discuss more sophisticated methods of finance such as a Leveraged Buy-Outs. These will be discussed in the light of the law’s struggle to provide a suitable framework for leveraged forms of finance. Furthermore, different forms of shareholder finance will be discussed, including financing by way of secured loans and guarantees instead of equity. 

Goals 
After completing the course, students will have developed the following capacities:

  • Students will understand the working of a balance sheet and its relation to a profit and loss statement.
  • Students will be able to perform a basic company valuation.
  • Students will have an understanding and working knowledge of basic corporate finance concepts such as debt vs equity, tax benefits related to debt, leverage ratios, basic risk allocation and net present value tests. 
  • Students will be able to apply private law rules from different jurisdictions regarding the ranking of creditors (unsecured, secured and preferred) to different corporate finance cases.
  • Students will understand the different methods of debt finance and be able to reflect on them. 
  • Students will be able to evaluate different rules for shareholder finance and the liberty of stakeholders to determine the capital structure of a firm. Students will also be capable of evaluating current finance practices against the background of basic corporate law principles of limited liability.
  • Students will be able to assess the implications of different capital structures on the risk profile of a company and how this creates different incentives for management and shareholders.

4. Law, Behavior and the Functioning of Markets
Coordinator: Prof. dr. G. Davies 

General description 
One of the major developments of the past three decades has been the increasing financialization of the global economy. This phenomenon has exhibited the full range of regulatory mechanisms, from deregulation, self-regulation, regulation by public/private partnerships, domestic regulation by state actors, and cross-border cooperation within transnational regulatory networks. To start to understand the regulatory challenges of bringing some stability to the “global financial markets”, in this introductory course we will step back and think and read more generally about markets, law, norms and behavior. 

Some of the topics we will consider are: How do we understand markets: as a phenomenon apart from social and ethical constraints, or as embedded in social relationships and norms? What kinds of ‘market failures’ have traditional economic theories used to justify regulation? Are these the only failures that could be or should be used to justify regulation? What regulatory theories and approaches have been used to address the problems of the global financial crisis to date? How could more comprehensive thinking about social norms, about human psychology, about how to produce cultural change within organizations, and about the social embedded nature of markets improve regulation and outcomes in global financial markets? 

5. Law and Behavioral Economics
Coordinator: Dr. J.J. van der Weele 

General description 
Over the last few decades, behavioral economics has become one of the main new research areas in economics. By testing predictions of traditional economics and merging them with insights from psychology, behavioral economics yields more accurate models of human decision-making. Insights from this vibrant new field are relevant for policy makers in many fields of inquiry, including the formation and implementation of legal rules. 

This course provides an introduction to behavioral economics, and shows the relevance of an appropriate model of human decision-making for the analysis of legal rules. To provide an appropriate benchmark, the course first introduces the basic building blocks of economic decision theory. We discuss the tenets of rationality underlying the theory of utility maximization under uncertainty and rational information processing. We discuss applications to the economics of crime and bargaining. 

We then discuss deviations from rationality, including such phenomena as the endowment effect and loss aversion, and we discuss improved models of decision-making such as prospect theory. We analyze the importance of such models for the design of regulation, with a specific emphasis on the effectiveness of deterrence and the possibilities of `benevolent paternalism’ or ‘nudging’. 

The last component of the course deals with strategic interactions between individuals, and provides an introduction to game theory and the analysis of social dilemmas. We use simple games to investigate the origins of social order and the interactions between formal law enforcement mechanisms and informal social norms. We explore how such norms can strengthen or weaken legal enforcement depending on the social context. 

Goals 
After completing the course, students will have developed the following capacities:

  • Students will have an understanding of economic decision theory, and will be able to define the components of rationality and Bayesian updating.
  • Students will be able to formulate the main tenets and implications of the economic theory of deterrence.
  • Students will know how different biases affect decision-making under certain conditions and in negotiations, and will be able to elucidate the main behavioral theories of decision-making when facing risk.
  • Students will understand the basic concepts of game theory, such as the Nash equilibrium, and will be able to use these concepts to analyze social dilemma problems.

6. Tort Law, Competition Law & Law and Economics
Coordinators: Prof. R. Wesseling, Prof. J.S. Kortmann 

General description 
In Europe, law enforcement has traditionally been regarded as a public task. The State’s monopoly on prosecution and punishment is part of the fabric of our constitutional state. To ensure that public authorities charged with law enforcement are independent and unbiased, their conduct is subject to judicial review. By contrast, private law does not typically charge citizens with the task of enforcing the law. Within the limits of private law, citizens are entitled to enforce their own rights for their own benefit, not for the benefit of the general public. Furthermore, the remedies granted to private individuals are typically focused on compensation and/or restitution, not punishment and/or deterrence. 

However, in some areas of the law there appears to be a renewed interest in the notion of ‘private enforcement’. Rather than ask what needs to be done to provide individual justice to the civil claimant, some prefer to focus on what needs to be done to deter wrongful and/or illegal conduct, even in the context of private law disputes. In this view, private law remedies can contribute generally to the ‘enforcement’ of legal standards. This raises important and interesting questions regarding the coexistence of – and potential overlap between – public and private enforcement models. 

This course will address these questions by examining existing public and private enforcement models in their historical, political, economic and legal context. The perspectives applied are those of public enforcers and of private actors. After a general and historical introduction of key aspects and assumptions underlying these enforcement models, we will use competition law enforcement as a ‘test case’ to identify the synergies and potential frictions between the two models. 

Goals 
After completing the course, students will have developed an understanding of the following:

  • the general aspects of public and private enforcement models;
  • the interplay between public and private enforcement models, both in terms of how private enforcement can provide a positive contribution towards enforcement of the law, and how it can having an ‘undermining effect’; 
  • the inherent tension between the goals of law enforcement and the fundamental principles  of private law; and
  • the specific application of these issues to competition law enforcement. 

Participants will develop views on the key issues in this area and will be able to express their views coherently in English, both orally and in writing. 

7. Financial Law: Market Regulation & Behavior
Coordinator: Prof. M.G.C.M. Peeters 

General description 
The course is organized around the following four clusters of financial phenomena:

  • Funding: acquiring finance, indirectly through intermediation by commercial banks, or directly by issuing securities on primary markets (e.g. ‘going public’ through an IPO, an initial public offering of shares); 
  • Investment: the provision of funding by institutional and other investors (e.g. pension funds investing in alternative assets, such as private equity funds, which themselves invest directly in companies); 
  • Infrastructures and Services: the institutions and activities supporting financial transactions and positions (e.g. stock exchanges, derivatives exchanges, and central clearing of transactions effected on such exchanges); 
  • Risk Transfer: risk and risk management, in particular through derivatives, financial collateral and synthetic finance (e.g. the use of credit default swaps to ‘insure’ against default). 

Financial Law takes an integrated approach to financial phenomena, combining the study of relevant EU regulatory regimes with the analysis of private-law techniques. The latter have often evolved into market practice (‘de facto harmonization’, or even a lex mercatoria), as exemplified by the extensive use of standard documentation by financial market participants. Where useful, we will examine the ongoing European harmonization of private law. 

Goals 
The course aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the interlocking fields of private law and financial regulation from a European perspective. Having followed the course, students will be able to navigate the complex area of financial regulation. They will be able to analyze and evaluate the application of contractual and other private-law techniques in problems arising in finance, taking account of the interaction between private and regulatory law. 

8. Lawyers’ Ethics vs Ethics of the Market Place
Coordinator: Dr. I.van Domselaar 

General description
The last two decades have seen a wide range of (financial) fraud and other violations of rules and ethics by a variety of corporations, most notoriously Enron and Lehman Brothers.

These kinds of professional failings and misconduct do not belong to the past. At present, newspapers regularly report on moral and professional failures in the corporate sector, including among organizations whose very task is to exercise (financial) control over corporations, such as auditing firms.

In response to all this, the question of how best to secure moral rectitude within the corporate sector is currently a broadly discussed topic in public and scholarly debates. It is this question that this course seeks to explore by taking up an interdisciplinary approach, that is, by combining insights from law, professional and corporate ethics, social psychology, and social and political philosophy.

The course is based on two premises. Firstly, that it makes sense to locate a moral agency at the very least in the individual human agents within corporations and other relevant public institutions, rather than exclusively in the corporation or institution as such. Secondly, that professional and corporate misconduct are problems that cannot be exclusively explained by the choices of misguided, uninformed or simply immoral individuals. Instead, a full explanation must also include the influence that the social and political context has on the functioning of individuals in corporations.

The course thus assumes that, if we are to come to grips with the corporate sector’s moral integrity, we need to focus both on the individual apples and on the barrel. Consequently, the following three interrelated aspects constitute the core of the course:

  • an introduction to professional ethics and professional responsibility in the corporate sector and relevant public institutions;
  • an analysis of the main social-psychological obstacles to ‘doing the right thing’ within the corporate sector;
  • an analysis of the interrelation between individual professional conduct and the social and political context in which corporations function.

Discover Legal Europe - The Legal Grand Tour will be launched in September 2016. This tour consists of six trips to six European capitals. You are invited to join if you are a student enrolled in the master’s programme Law, Markets & Behavior; International Business Law; or Ondernemingsrecht aan de Zuidas. The tour is not part of the curricula of these programmes. Participation is optional and there are costs involved.

For more information, please check the website: www.legalgrandtour.com

Grand Legal Tour 1      Grand Legal Tour 3      Grand Legal Tour 2       
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Below you find answers to frequently asked questions from international and national students. 

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.

English proficiency
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 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 1 September.

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/Master'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.

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 programme 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.

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

Dutch students

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

This programme is selective, meaning that all applicants (including Bachelor students of VU Amsterdam) need to apply by emailing additional application documents (listed below). The Master’s programme is open to a limited number of students only. The admission Board will make a merit based selection of students.

Academic requirements 
In order to be considered for this Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Law from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent.

Degrees will be compared to, and valued through the UK Naric and NUFFIC comparison validation programmes. In some cases a relevant Bachelor's degree in Law might not be sufficient to gain admission.

Language profiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. If you gain admission we need to receive the test results before 1 June. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores:

IELTS (academic):General score: 6.5
TOEFL:Paper based test: 580
Internet based test: 92-93
Cambridge English:Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test and examples of possible reasons to waive this requirement.


If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the application procedure is partly done online and partly done by emailing the relevant documents to our Admission Board.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria 

Step 2: Application procedure

Online application 
For the online application, international degree holders can follow the online application procedure for international students.

For the online application, Dutch degree holders can follow the online application procedure for Dutch students.

Documents 
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided either English or Dutch.
List of required documents:
1. a certified copy of the appropriate academic degree in English or Dutch or if not yet graduated: a declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date (if available);
2. a certified transcript in English of grades obtained;
3. a curriculum vitae;
4. a two or three page letter of motivation, explaining your reasons for wanting to participate in this programme in relation to your past and future activities;
5. a proof of academic writing: a maximum of three pages of a final paper or thesis for the academic degree which has been obtained (or any other paper in English that has been written for studies);
6. At least one letter of recommendation from an academic referee. If possible including the ranking position of the student (i.e. whether students belong to the top 1, 5, 10, 25 or 50% of the entire class);
7. a proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge). An Institutional TOEFL test done via VU language centre is also accepted.
8. a copy of your passport;
9. a copy of a residence permit (if applicable).

Application

Afterwards, please email the documents to: p.werkman@vu.nl, listing your VU student number and programme you’re applying for. Note that for other programmes, the documents are mostly uploaded online. The Master’s programme in Law, Markets and Behavior differs in this. 

Interview 
Part of the selection procedure will be an interview in person or by means of Skype. After we’ve received your application materials, and in case of non-EU student the application fee, we will arrange a meeting with you.

Deadlines: 
    1 April for students from outside the EU.
    1 June for all other students. Please note: in case international students would like to apply for a university housing, we cannot guarantee this housing if the application to the IBL Master's programme is made after 1 April.
International students wanting to apply for the VU FP scholarship: 1 February

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.

Extra information for Dutch students. 
• Extra information for International Degree holders.

Here international students 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!

Additional information for International Students

Further information about:

Accommodation
Visa
Application fee
Tuition fees

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

Laura Smit
T: + 31 (0)20 598 6205
E: admissionsfl@vu.nl

Questions about the programme
If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact us. 

Directors of the programme

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 emptytoelatingscommissie.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

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

This programme is selective, meaning that all applicants (including Bachelor students of VU Amsterdam) need to apply by emailing additional application documents (listed below). The Master’s programme is open to a limited number of students only. The admission Board will make a merit based selection of students.

Academic requirements 
In order to be considered for this Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Law from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent.

Degrees will be compared to, and valued through the UK Naric and NUFFIC comparison validation programmes. In some cases a relevant Bachelor's degree in Law might not be sufficient to gain admission.

Language profiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. If you gain admission we need to receive the test results before 1 June. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores:

IELTS (academic):General score: 6.5
TOEFL:Paper based test: 580
Internet based test: 92-93
Cambridge English:Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test and examples of possible reasons to waive this requirement.


If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the application procedure is partly done online and partly done by emailing the relevant documents to our Admission Board.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria 

Step 2: Application procedure

Online application 
For the online application, international degree holders can follow the online application procedure for international students.

For the online application, Dutch degree holders can follow the online application procedure for Dutch students.

Documents 
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided either English or Dutch.
List of required documents:
1. a certified copy of the appropriate academic degree in English or Dutch or if not yet graduated: a declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date (if available);
2. a certified transcript in English of grades obtained;
3. a curriculum vitae;
4. a two or three page letter of motivation, explaining your reasons for wanting to participate in this programme in relation to your past and future activities;
5. a proof of academic writing: a maximum of three pages of a final paper or thesis for the academic degree which has been obtained (or any other paper in English that has been written for studies);
6. At least one letter of recommendation from an academic referee. If possible including the ranking position of the student (i.e. whether students belong to the top 1, 5, 10, 25 or 50% of the entire class);
7. a proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge). An Institutional TOEFL test done via VU language centre is also accepted.
8. a copy of your passport;
9. a copy of a residence permit (if applicable).

Application

Afterwards, please email the documents to: p.werkman@vu.nl, listing your VU student number and programme you’re applying for. Note that for other programmes, the documents are mostly uploaded online. The Master’s programme in Law, Markets and Behavior differs in this. 

Interview 
Part of the selection procedure will be an interview in person or by means of Skype. After we’ve received your application materials, and in case of non-EU student the application fee, we will arrange a meeting with you.

Deadlines: 
    1April: for students from outside the EU.
    1 June: for all other students. Please note: in case international students would like to apply for a university housing, we cannot guarantee this housing if the application to the IBL Master's programme is made after 1 April.
International students wanting to apply for the VU FP scholarship: 1 February

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.

Extra information for Dutch students. 
• Extra information for International Degree holders.

Here international students 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!

Additional information for International Students

Further information about:

Accommodation
Visa
Application fee
Tuition fees

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

Laura Smit
T: + 31 (0)20 598 6205
E: admissionsfl@vu.nl

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

Other scholarships

  • Students in China can contact their local NESO offices (Netherlands Education Support Office) in either Beijing: NESO Office Beijing
  • Indonesian students can contact their NESO Office Jakarta for more detailed information.
  • All other students may contact Nuffic, the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education, or visit Grantfinder, about studying in the Netherlands and financial aid, or their local Royal Netherlands Embassy.

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 about the programme
If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact us. 

Directors of the programme

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 emptytoelatingscommissie.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.

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