Do you want to be challenged by the complexities of modern financial markets? Are you interested in quantitative modelling applied to finance? Then the selective Duisenberg Honours programme in Quantitative Risk Management may be the option you are looking for. The programme is part of the MSc Finance programme and focuses on quantitative techniques and their application in finance. During your studies, you develop a thorough understanding of financial risks and models, fully preparing yourself to apply what you learned to the complex problems faced by today’s financial industry. The programme offers you an integrated curriculum based on its three core disciplines: finance, econometrics and mathematics.
For honours students with a corporate rather than a quantitative interest, see the Duisenberg Honours programme in Financial Markets and Regulation in the MSc Business Administration programme.
Core facts Duisenberg honours programme in Quantitative Risk Management
Trained by top experts in the heart of Amsterdam's financial district
The honours programme in Quantitative Risk Management ranks among the best financial programmes in the Netherlands and is competitive to any Quantitative Finance major in the world.
The programme in a nutshell
The Duisenberg honours programme in Quantitative Risk Management is a 84-credits programme, taking 12 months. Throughout the curriculum, you follow a number of career services workshops to help you prepare for the job market.
In the first semester, you learn the basic building blocks of quantitative finance in 4 core courses: Asset Pricing, Econometrics for QRM, Derivatives, and Stochastic Processes for Finance. In line with professional standards, you are stimulated to think about financial ethical dilemmas in the Financial Ethics course, and you will take your first elective. You conclude the semester by directly implementing what you learned during a team research project. The project also serves to refine your writing and presentation skills.
You take your three final core courses. Institutional Investments and ALM and Quantitative Financial Risk Management equip you with vital information about the application of quantitative techniques in the complex world after the financial crisis, while Financial Sector Regulation provides insight into new regulatory developments, global risk, and the incentives spurred by regulation. You also take one further elective course to specialize yourself. You finalize your preparation for the job market, and set off on your thesis project under the expert guidance of one of our faculty members.
Graduation and degree
Upon successful completion of the Duisenberg honours programme in Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, students receive a VU Master of Science in 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. Diplomas are handed out during a festive ceremony around October.
Did we already trigger you? Please look at what more the Duisenberg programme in Quantitative Risk Management can offer you:
Please contact programme coordinator Svetlana Borovkova in case you have questions.
Tackle quantitative problems in Finance, Risk Management and Investments
The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Quantitative Risk Management is a challenging 84-credit programme that lasts 12 months. It fully prepares you to apply modern scientific methodology to the challenges faced by the modern financial world. It does so by offering you an integrated curriculum for the three core disciplines in this field: finance, econometrics and mathematics.
You will learn the financial theories behind financial markets and price formation, and how to map this knowledge into profitable investment strategies. You will become conversant with the various ways to assess risks and the methods and products that can mitigate those risks. You will also build an extensive, advanced toolkit for applying existing models or for building and applying your own models to financial data.
You will also gain practical skills by setting up a research project, gathering and processing the relevant data, conducting the research and testing research hypotheses, and by presenting a solid and credible research product verbally and in writing. Finally, throughout the curriculum you participate in a number of career services workshops to help you fully prepare for the job market.
The programme takes the following form.
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, both in Finance, Econometrics and Mathematics. Examples include: Advanced Corporate Finance, Valuation, Financial Markets and Institutions, Behavioural Finance, Time Series Econometrics, Bank Management, Real Estate Management, Evolutionary Computing, Simulation and Stochastic Systems, Data Mining Techniques. For a full list of approved electives, see the study guide. Always coordinate your final proposed curriculum with your programme director.
Deepen your knowledge in the field of asset pricing and asset allocation.
Dr. 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.”
Econometrics for Quantitative Risk Management (NEW 2015)
Gain a profound and detailed understanding of advanced econometric theory and methods applied to finance.
Dr. C.S. Bos is an associate professor of Econometrics. His main research areas stochastic variance models, time series modelling and long memory regression models.
Prof. 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.
Stochastic Processes for Finance
Learn the basics of stochastic processes in continuous time, including the concepts of martingales and stochastic integration.
Dr. E.N. Belitser is a professor of Mathematics. His main research interests are in mathematical statistics, in particular: nonparametric Bayesian inference, minimax curve estimation, adaptive procedures, sequential estimation algorithms.
Student evaluation 2014/2015:“The material covered in this course is a good basis for pricing and simulation techniques.”
Acquire a thorough understanding of derivatives, their theoretical underpinnings and their use in practice.
Dr. 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."
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.
Dr. 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."
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.
Dr. S.A. Borovkova is associate professor of finance. Her research interests include mathematical finance, exotic and commodity derivatives.
Dr. 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.”
Financial Sector Regulation (NEW 2015)
Provide students with an in depth understanding of financial regulation and the sources of systemic risk.
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."
Thesis: 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."
Example elective courses
Time Series Econometrics
Gain insight into the frontier of econometric modeling of time series with a focus on theory, methods and computations, including state-space methodology.
Prof. dr. S.J. Koopman is professor of econometrics. His research interests include time series, econometric methodology, state-space methods, and financial and macro econometrics.
Advanced Corporate Finance
Develop a thorough understanding of advanced theoretical concepts and applying these to solving practical complex cases.
Prof. 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.
Dr. 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."
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.
Prof. 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."
Discover the key behavioural phenomena that influence financial decision making of investors, managers and corporations.
Dr. 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."
Real Estate Management
Study the economics and the finance of real estate markets and the investment alternatives available to both debt and equity investors.
Dr. 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.
Prof. 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."
Simulation and Stochastic Systems
Develop and execute a simulation study of a stochastic system.
Dr. A.A.N. Ridder is an associate professor of Econometrics. His research interest is broadly speaking stochastic models and their applications.
Learn computational methods based on Darwinian principles of evolution.
Prof. dr. A.E. Eiben is professor for the department of computer science. His main area of expertise is Evolutionary Computing.
Together with J.V. Heinerman MSc & Prof. dr. B. Filipic
Deal with the theory and algorithms for stochastic optimization with an application to controlled stochastic systems.
Dr. S. Bhulai is an associate professor at the department of exact sciences. His main research interest is the theory and applications of Markov decision processes.
Acquire data mining knowledge and skills that you can apply in a business environment.
Dr. M. Hoogendoorn is an Assistant Professor within the Computational Intelligence group in the Artificial Intelligence Section of the Department of Computer Science at VU Amsterdam. His main research focus is in the area of adaptive systems mainly applied in the domain of health and wellbeing.
For a more complete overview of the courses and time line, download this pdf.
Placement facts and figures
This is obvious when you look at the facts and figures. Almost 90% of our graduates from recent years found a job within one month after graduation. Many of our graduates are snapped by the finance industry even before they graduate (48%)!
You can find VU Quantitative Finance alumni in different types of financial institutions. Many of our alumni work in the banking sector (29%), the pension fund and insurance sector (19.4%), the consultancy sector (12.9%), and trading and investment sector (16.2%).
Our alumni hold diverse positions, ranging from risk management (29%), derivatives and model validation (26%), trading and investment management (13%), and regulation and supervision (7%).
Our alumni work at a large number of internationally established organizations, including: • ING • ABN AMRO • Rabobank • Deloitte • EY • PwC • Bank of America/Meril Lynch • Goldman Sachs • JPMorgan • Towers Watson • Dutch Central Bank • FlowTraders • OMS • Binck • NIBC • RiskCo • RiskQuest • Bain • Ahold • SNS Reaal • APG • Aegon • Achmea • TransTrend • Optiver
We have an active community called Quants@VU, with the corresponding LinkedIn group. We meet meet once every three months for networking events, visits to finance firms, parties, sports events and such. This network plays a crucial role in placing new graduates in their first jobs as well as finding new jobs for people further down their quant career.
Facts & Figures
Job 1 year after graduation: 100%
Average number of months till first paid job: 1
The gross annual income of our graduates the first year: € 40,000 - €50,000
(Source: Questionnaire VU Quantitative Finance alumni and Survey Duisenberg school of finance)
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.
Upon successful completion of the Duisenberg honours track in Quantitative Finance and Risk Management, students receive a VU Master of Science in 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.
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.
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.
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.
Research and teaching go hand in hand
Here are a few examples of the research that our students and staff are currently conducting.
Models and the financial crisis
In the wake of the financial crisis, managing financial risks has taken a prominent role in the financial industry. New risk models have to be designed and assessed, and their robustness in a fast-changing, stressed environment has to be thoroughly tested. Our research looks into the design and testing of these techniques.
Modelling financial data
A large mutual fund is trying to set up a quantitative model for dynamic, active asset management. We are researching effective ways to assess whether the model will be good enough to contribute to generating economic profits.
An international re-insurer is worried about its exposure to the risk of river flooding in the wake of potential climatic change. Our researchers and students are looking into ways to help it spread this risk across financial markets using new products and at the most advantageous price.
Advanced derivatives applications
A trader hopes to cut his hedging costs for his book of derivatives by exploiting correlations in the market. A research team is designing a computer application to effectively achieve this objective.
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.
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.
Language of instruction
1 year (7 modules spread out over 12 months worth 84 EC credits)
15 July (students with direct admission) / International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students)
Students can select their own electives, research project, and thesis subject, thus creating their preferred profile for their future career.
Field of Interest
Economics, Business and Law
Specific admission requirements for the Duisenberg Honours Programme Quantitative Risk Management:
To enter the Duisenberg Honours Programme, students need a Bachelor degree in Econometrics, Economics with strong quantitative elements, Engineering, Physics, Computer Science or (Applied) Mathematics. The programme also invites applications of students in related sciences with a strong emphasis on quantitative methods and modeling. Students from other universities are encouraged to apply as well. All students should possess sufficient mathematics, econometrics, and statistics and probability theory knowledge, as well as knowledge of basic investment theory and programming. Also: students should be familiar with a theorem-proof type teaching style for some of the more mathematical courses. The entry level is indicated by the following standard text books (or equivalents):
Students should show that their curriculum has brought them to this level. In case of deficiencies, the admissions board decides whether the programme may be entered or whether a deficiency programme has to be completed before entrance is allowed. Students should also have experience in writing a financial research paper, for example in a seminar class or thesis project.
In order to gain admission to the Duisenberg Honours Programme Quantitative Risk Management, 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.
Because this is a highly selective Honours MSc programme, the Admission Committee will decide upon your admission on the basis of your grades, mathematical/quantitative abilities, affinity with quantitative finance and your motivation.
Applicants need to have successfully completed the following courses and studied the corresponding literature (or its equivalent):
You have to fill out the Form Evaluation Admission Master add the following documents:
It can be an advantage in your application process to show that you have affinity with Quantitative Finance, for example, in the form of a relevant internship, finance-related thesis or a project in the area of quantitative finance.
Send your application per email by 15 June to email@example.com.
The courses relevant for the admission to this the Honours Programme are also given at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Here is the list of VU bachelor's courses that you can follow during your bachelor's programme, to gain admission to the Quantitative Risk Management Honours Programme:
Reminder: you are officially registered as a student when you have filled in your re-registration form and paid the tuition fee.
More information regarding registration WO-bachelors (in Dutch).
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'.
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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.
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 MSc Finance, honours programme Quantitative Finance:
Applicants need to have successfully completed the following courses and studied the corresponding literature (or its equivalent):
Vrije Universiteit 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:
VU-test English-language proficiency: offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at www.taalloket.nl.
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. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.
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. What to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!
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
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