Arts & Culture: Comparative Arts & Media Studies

Focus on intermediality in contemporary visual culture
Programme ofKunst- en Cultuurwetenschappen / Arts and Culture
TitleComparative Arts & Media Studies

The programme Comparative Arts and Media Studies focuses on the in-betweenness and crossovers in modern and contemporary visual culture. By this we mean the interrelations within and between various old and new media, but also between media and visual arts. These have been intensified with the arrival of digital media and of the 'hypermedium' that arises from the on-screen interplay of words, images, and sounds and through the technological convergences of cinema, television, radio, and digital media. Our programme offers historical and theoretical perspectives on these phenomena while also taking into account real-life developments in the field of museum practices. Our students have had careers in education and research, media companies, and art institutions.

Core courses
The programme is built around five main courses. The first semester (period 1+2+3) consists of three courses with historiographical, aesthetic and narratological perspectives on intermedialities in audiovisual culture, plus a department-wide lecture series on current issues in Arts & Culture.

In the second semester (period 4+5+6) you will get acquainted with intermedialities at work in current crossmedial exhibitions while also writing your Master thesis.

Arts & Culture: Comparative Arts and Media Studies courses in study guide.

CAMS - program

Deepen your individual scope with electives or internships
You can customize your programme by selecting subjects from a broad range of interdisciplinary electives in the fields of visual arts, architecture, literature or history. We recommend these electives.

Or you can choose an internship with a research dimension if you would prefer to gain practical experience in the field of media and arts. For more information, please consult the Internships page on our website.

Thesis (18 EC)
The programme culminates in the Master’s thesis, which gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your research skills, your competence as a critic, and your ability to systematically gather, select and interpret information and to argue a case in an independent, objective and responsible manner. Your thesis plan is due on January and you give a public presentation of your thesis in April. More information about the Thesis can be found in the Study Guide.

A career in research, audio-visual heritage, policy and administration
The programme Comparative Arts and Media Studies is an internationally oriented course that has close links to real-life practice. In addition to gaining expertise in theoretical and historical research, you have the opportunity to take an internship that involves research in an area of your choice. This can prepare you for careers in the fields of education and communication, digital archiving of cultural heritage, or cultural policy and administration. Employers include higher education, museums and art foundations, media companies, events, and corporate businesses.

Postgraduate studies
A degree in Arts & Culture qualifies you to carry out independent scholarly research. Students who have performed exceptionally during their Master’s studies may wish to apply to the Humanities Research Master: Critical Studies in Art and Culture (Media, Visual Arts, Design, Architecture).

Critical and engaged
Completing the Master’s programme in Comparative Arts and Media Studies means you will have gained a sharp eye (and ear) for all kinds of media and art products, and you will also be able to situate these in their various contexts. Moreover, you will be able to do research on a variety of topics, both in academia and in the world at large. You will have a solid grasp of the cultural landscape and you will be able to think, speak and write about relevant topics at a highly advanced level.

Our graduates have or have had careers at:

And last but not least: the world of new media and experiment (FabLab Taipei/Waag Society, &Samhoud media). NB Considering media and experiment, several of our students did internships at Medialab and Waag Society.

Studying in the city of Amsterdam is a unique experience. The urban setting and the multicultural mind-set of the people of Amsterdam, combined with the presence of a thriving cultural city life give your education a special dimension.

Unique programme
Our programme is unique in the Netherlands: you will have the opportunity to focus on a comparison between various media and art forms or to study intermedialities in relation to a specific dominant medium. 

Past meets present
While The Art of Comparison combines the past with the present, Transmedia Storytelling deals with contemporary media phenomena. The exhibitions studied in Crossmedial Exhibitions may have a historical or contemporary subject, yet our analysis of the production and reception of exhibitions is always linked to the present-day situation.

Cultural collaboration
There are many opportunities for collaboration with the cultural institutions in Amsterdam. Our wide-ranging academic courses allow you to explore these collaborations to their fullest and to put your knowledge into practice in unique and exciting ways.  

Staff and student network
Our programme is staffed by people who are very active in local, national and international research networks. Their expertise concerns cultural and media theory, film studies, television studies, digital media and the interconnections between them. We also participate in a two-year international Humanities Research Master: Critical Studies in Art and Culture (Media, Visual Arts, Design, Architecture). All Master’s students participate in the Graduate Seminar in the Humanities. For more information on our research and staff see our page Research and Staff.

Edna Acevedo

CAMS Graduate

"I chose the program for its balance of media theory and artistic practice, flexible enough to explore my interests. I was thrilled to have direct access to cultural institutions in the Netherlands, either through an internship or in the courses. I learned enormously from the combination of the program’s challenging theoretic components and incredibly diverse academic backgrounds of my classmates."

Dutch Students

Admission to the Master's Arts & Culture, programme Comparative Arts and Media Studies is possible with a Bachelor's degree in art, film, television, digital media, or (visual) cultural studies. If you have an academic Bachelor in the Humanities (history, journalism, communication studies, comparative literature), a solid background with a minimum of 30 credits is required in either art, film, television, digital media or (visual) cultural studies. Students with a theoretical interest are particularly welcome. The Master’s programme starts in September and takes one year.

Students that have an academic bachelor in the Humanities but have not obtained the required 30 credits in art etc. can apply for a premaster (see below).

Students who have successfully completed an applied BA (HBO) in film/ TV/ new media, can apply for a Comparative Arts and Media Studies premaster (see below). The premaster programme is put together by the Admission Board, based on the previous qualifications of the student. Please note that the premaster will be mostly in Dutch and is not accessible for students who don't speak and write Dutch.

Students with an applied MA (HBO-MA) in film/TV/new media can apply as well and also have to submit their application to the Admission Board for assessment. It is not possible to do the Master part-time. Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree can apply via Studielink before June 1st for the master programme Comparative Arts and Media Studies under the label Kunst – en Cultuurwetenschappen (Arts & Culture).

All lectures and student presentations are in English, all written assignments as well. Therefore all prospective students must be proficient in English. Students need to have passed the bachelor course Academic English (L_EABAALG102; 6 ec) or an equivalent.

After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet . Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet : Comparative Arts and Media Studies.

During this step you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • Transcript of records (scan from original)
  • Course descriptions (i.e. for courses related to the discipline of the Master, and for courses on general academic skills)
  • List of literature (the most important literature used for the courses)
  • CV
  • Motivation letter (max. one A4)

Please prepare these documents before you're going to complete your application in VUnet!

Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Als je niet voldoet aan de vooropleidingseisen, dan kun je tot de masteropleiding Kunst- en Cultuurwetenschappen, programma Comparative Arts & Media Studies, worden toegelaten als je de premaster met succes hebt afgerond. Daarin werk je namelijk je deficiënties weg. Het studieprogramma is in de studiegids te vinden (het programma voor het nieuwe studiejaar wordt rond juli gepubliceerd).

Als je tot de premasterclass bent toegelaten met een hbo-diploma, dan is deelname aan een premasterassessment verplicht.

Je kunt je tot uiterlijk 1 juni aanmelden via Studielink voor de premaster Kunst- en cultuurwetenschappen. Kies in Studielink eerst 'Bachelor of andere niet master opleidingen' en daarna de premaster.

Na aanmelding in Studielink ontvang je binnen twee dagen een e-mail met je inlogcodes voor VUnet (VU studentenportal). In VUnet rond je je aanmelding af en kun je je pasfoto uploaden. Vul bij specialisatie 'premaster Comparative Arts & Media Studies' in.

In deze fase dien je de volgende documenten te uploaden:

  • cijferlijst (scan van origineel)
  • vakbeschrijvingen (m.n. voor de vakken in het vakgebied van de master, en op het gebied van algemene academische vaardigheden)
  • literatuurlijst (de belangrijkste literatuur die gebruikt is voor deze vakken)
  • CV
  • motivatiebrief (max. één A4 tje)

Zorg er dus voor dat je deze al klaar hebt, wanneer je je aanmelding in VUnet gaat afronden!

Deze toelatingsverklaring wordt afgegeven door de Toelatingscommissie van de Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen.

For questions about the programme
Please get in touch with the programme coordinator Dr. Ivo Blom:

Information days
Meet us at the next Master's Event!

CAMS more information

International students

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

In order to gain admission to 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 ECTS or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the Master’s programme Arts & Culture, specialization in Comparative Arts and Media Studies.
The Master’s Arts & Culture with a specialization in Comparative Arts and Media Studies is designed for students with an academic Bachelor’s in either art, film, TV, digital media, or (visual) cultural studies. You may also be accepted if you have an academic Bachelor in other disciplines of the Humanities (history, journalism, communication studies, comparative literature), with a major or specialization in art, film, television, digital media, or visual culture (equal to a minimum of 30 ECTS).

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. 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 for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

  • TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English : Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.

Please check the Admission and language requirements page for the general requirements.

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 initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

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.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature

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

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

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Further information:
Tuition fees

As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.
Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on or

Some possibilities are:

VU Fellowship Programme
Netherlands Fellowship Programme
Holland Scholarship Programme
Orange Tulip Scholarship
Fulbright scholarship
Other scholarship possibilities

Working during and after your studies
For international students, it is possible to work beside your studies, however for students who do not speak Dutch it is usually difficult to find something. The university has its own in-house employment agency that may be able to help. Also check out As a non-EU student, under Dutch law you are only allowed to work 10 hours a week if you have a work permit. For more information, check here.

For international students who have completed their Master’s at VU Amsterdam, there is a possibility to stay in the Netherlands an additional year to search for job opportunities, while maintaining your visa.  For more information, check here

For practical questions regarding your application, visa, work or other practical concerns
Please contact your International study advisor:

Irena Paap
T: +31 (20) 59 85252

For questions about the programme
Please get in touch with the programme coordinator Dr. Ivo Blom:

Information days
Meet us at the next Master's Event!



CAMS more information

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 here on this webpage:

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Grietje Hoogland

CAMS Graduate - PhD Candidate UvA

“At the Dutch Institute of Sound and Vision in Hilversum, I got the opportunity to do my own research for my thesis, which was an ideal situation. I worked with people from various units, learned a lot and gained a lot of different experiences that will definitely be important for my later career.”

Internships offer you opportunities to prepare for your professional career. You will have the choice from a wide-ranging field of cultural institutions in and around the city of Amsterdam. You will be encouraged to find an appropriate internship according to your own interests. Past and current students have gone on internships at various Dutch and foreign institutions: media archives such as the Institute for Sound & Image (including the Dutch radio and television archives) and Eye Filminstituut Nederland (formerly the Film Museum), De Balie cultural centre, the Dutch Research Council, Vice, het Nieuwe Instituut, galleries and national newspapers. Note that finding an internship is your own responsibility and we cannot guarantee you will find a place.

A master internship at CAMS needs to have the character of research (archival/ audience/ market research, research for an exhibition/ publication/ website, etc.) and needs to be approved by your supervisor and our Examination Board. You have max. 12 ects for the internship (12x28 hrs.), including the writing of the report. You will simulteaneously have courses to follow.

Some of the institutions where students did their internships were:

CAMS - internships

Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art

For her Internship programme Alexandra Mihali chose to work at a young gallery in Amsterdam, founded in 2010 by a former Comparative Arts and Media student, Jeanine Hofland. Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art is a gallery representing young, emergent artists in multiple media. Besides, the gallery also collaborates with curators and institutions through '#Alongside', a non-profit programme.

"At the gallery, one of my responsibilities was taking care of the archive, so I had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the activities of the gallery and the represented artists. Another responsibility was researching the '#Alongside' programme, meeting the curator of the ongoing residency and taking part at the exhibitions. Moreover, I actively participated at the Rotterdam Art Fair. The Internship experience inspired me to further analyse non-profit programmes within commercial art galleries in Amsterdam, Paris and London for my MA Thesis."
- Alexandra Mihali

Waag Society

For her internship Sarah Cohan worked for Stichting Waag Society on a project to expand the Amsterdam LGBT walking tour smartphone application, Pink Perspectives, Across Europe. The tour is available through the Museum App, which is currently used by twenty-one major museums in Amsterdam to host cultural tour routes, including Amsterdam Museum, Canal House, Rembrandt House and Museum Ship organizations. The Waag Society created Pink Perspectives in 2011 and wanted to bring similar walking tours to several different European cities.  

“I worked with LGBT focused cultural centers in several different countries across Europe to implement a plan to build walking tours in their respective cities. I compiled a comprehensive funding request for the European Commission and learned first-hand how artists and organizations receive funding from this important institution. The office culture was important to my experience, as I was constantly learning about interesting and groundbreaking projects that my fellow colleagues were working on. The internship tied in well with my studies of transmedia storytelling, displaying the implantation of theory into practice.”  
- Sarah Cohan

Independent Films

Bram Davis carried out his internship at production company Independent Films that takes care of all aspects of advertising, distribution and sales of both Dutch and non Dutch films. “I was tasked with visiting cinemas and researching which films were being shown in each cinema. I would travel all over the country to collect information about how many advertisements for each film, in the form of posters, abri's standees and trailers were being used in each movie theatre and for which movies, and whether they were being used effectively. The information would then be written down and photos taken before relaying the information on a monthly basis to the managing director of the company.

Part of my role as distribution and sales intern was to attend film premieres to help with the preparation of advertising material, which was especially fun as several premier's required guests to wear suits and ties and there were often well known Dutch celebrities in attendance. My knowledge of the distribution and sales part of the film industry was also improved on, because every week or so I would be given information on the budgets, ticket sales and spending on the new releases of films.”
- Bram Davis

EYE Film Institute Netherlands

For her internship Anne van Oppen conducted a research on the programming of experimental film within international leading film institutions and museums for EYE Film Institute Netherlands. The institute was founded in 2010 when Holland Film, the Nederlands Instituut voor Filmeducatie, the Filmbank and the Filmmuseum merged into one organisation. In the spring of 2012 EYE Film Institute Netherlands moved to a new location situated at the Northern bank of the IJ, behind the Central Station of Amsterdam. At the new location there is more space for experimental film and this was an incentive for research on the programming of experimental film in other international leading film institutions and museums.

“I have approached several institutions to participate in this research by sending them a questionnaire and processing the information and conclusions in a research report. The participating institutions are: The Austrian Filmmuseum Vienna, Centre for Contemporary Culture Barcelona, Centre Pompidou Paris, Cinematek Brussels,  Danish Film Institute Copenhagen, MOMA New York, Museo Nazionale del Cinema Turin and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia Madrid. The experimental film department (the former Filmbank) consists of a small programming team and with this internship I had the opportunity to put my academic skills into practice and develop them further under the supervision of professionals.”
- Anne van Oppen

Kunstlicht is a journal for the visual arts, visual culture and architecture from antiquity to today. The magazine is associated with the Department for Art and Culture. Since 1980 it has provided a platform for academic publications about art in all its facets. Students and art historians, as well as authors from other disciplines, publish the results of their research in Kunstlicht.

CAMS - KunstlichtThe editorial board of Kunstlicht consists entirely of students and recent graduates. To keep the threshold for publication as low as possible while still achieving a high level of quality, a member of the editorial staff closely supervises every contributor during the writing process. Students who are interested in publishing an article in Kunstlicht should contact the editorial board. Students in the Department of Art and Culture who are proficient in Dutch may also join the editorial board of Kunstlicht and gain valuable editorial experience.

A tryout subscription to Kunstlicht costs just €22.50 for the first year. For more information visit Contact:


The Comparative Arts and Media Studies department takes part in national and international research programmes. Here are the core members: 

PhD students

  • Bernadette Schrandt

Associate Faculty


The master Comparative Arts and Media Studies is part of the Graduate School of Humanities of VU Amsterdam. The staff of the programme are members of: Huizinga Institute, ASCA, CLUE: Research institute for the heritage and history of the Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment, and the new Research School Media Studies (RMeS).

CAMS - Staff and research

Overview Arts & Culture: Comparative Arts and Media Studies




1 year



1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students


1 September




Art, Culture and History