Business in society: business and management

Understanding the challenges of business and management


The Research Master's programme Business and Management addresses the intricate relationships between business and society, as can be seen in grand challenges posed by e.g. the financial crisis, society’s request for ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility, and the need for sustainability. This programme results from a joint effort of the Amsterdam Business School (ABS) at the University of Amsterdam and the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at VU Amsterdam and aims to educate a new generation of business researchers who will have a profound grasp of the societal trends that are changing the face of business.


With a maximum intake of 25 excellent students, the programme offers you personal supervision and intensive collaboration. You will get the opportunity to learn from and work closely with some of the world's leading scholars in the field of business administration. It's the only accredited Research Master in the Netherlands to address the study of business in its societal context.


BiS is the ideal preparation for progressing to a leading PhD programme at VU Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam or any (inter)national university. We have a large number of PhD positions. It also makes you an excellent candidate for a research-related position in the public or private sector (e.g. strategic advisor, researcher, policy maker).


Business in Society at VU Amsterdam

The two-year Research Master's programme Business in Society: Bussiness and Management will equip you with the knowledge and skills to shape new ways of doing business taking into account how organisations and society affect each other. The programme offers several specialisations in the broad field of business administration (such as: strategy, organizational theory, accounting, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, international business, human resource management, organizational behaviour, and marketing), as well as an overarching perspective connecting these fields, which is necessary to understand the multi-faceted business in society issues. It also provides you with the methodological and theory-building skills needed to conceive of new solutions for the problems related to business in society.

Furthermore, with a maximum intake of 25 talented and highly motivated students, this English taught programme offers intensive interactions with other students and close supervision and collaboration with excellent researchers passionate about understanding complex business problems in their societal perspective. You will learn from, and work closely with, some of the world's leading scholars in the field of business administration.

In brief, the programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for a successful research-oriented career or a PhD in business administration.

Programme Structure
The Master of Science in Business in Society is a two-year programme of 120 ECTS credits (1 ECTS credit = 0,5 US credit). The academic year runs from September to the beginning of July and is divided into two semesters, each with three periods. Please refer to the VU academic calendar for the exact dates.

The Research Master’s programme in Business in Society: Business and Management is a new programme and therefore still under development. No rights can be derived from the contents of this website, the brochure or any other information issued verbally or in writing about this programme.

Business in Society courses in the study guide.

Annual schedule

The Research Master Business in Management is not only unique in its focus on business in society. Compared with similar programmes, it also

a) emphasizes the development of students’ theory-building skills and
b) offers learning by collaborating with internationally reputed researchers.

We strongly believe that testing further existing theories will not be enough to successfully address the complex issues businesses face in their interactions with society. Therefore, we are convinced that the new generation of business researchers need strong theory-building skills besides strong methodological skills. So, instead of primarily focusing on developing your knowledge of research methods, the Research Master is designed to promote a balanced combination of methodological skills and academic literary skills (theory-building, critical, reflective attitude, excellent writing and oral communication); We also believe in learning by working alongside experts. It is why our Research Master counts two research internships and a bigger thesis project. You will be free to select with whom you wish to work from a portfolio of internationally renowned researchers at VU, either based on their projects or your project.
The Research Master's thesis is the final requirement prior to graduation. In the thesis, which will be in the form of an academic paper, you show that you are able to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have acquired during the programme by researching independently a topic related to business in society. To help you in this endeavour, you will get individual supervision from a researcher at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and follow a course that is dedicated to the research proposal (i.e., the first step in the thesis trajectory). For students who wish to pursue a PhD upon graduation, a good thesis can become the first essay of their PhD dissertation.

This Research Master Business in Society is the ideal preparation for a leading PhD programme in business administration or a related discipline at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam or another university. The University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam have committed to each offer six PhD positions each year for which our graduates will be prime candidates in an open competition. It also gives you excellent credentials to apply for a research-related position in the public or private sector such as strategic advisor, researcher or policy maker. In short: our alumni possess all the needed skills to be a leader in tomorrow's business research. 

As a graduate of the programme, you will be able to:

  • understand complex business problems including their societal dimensions;
  • adopt an original and interdisciplinary perspective in proposing solutions to these complex problems;
  • design and perform high-quality research to provide evidence of the implications of business decisions for both businesses and society;
  • communicate research results to both the scientific and the practitioner community to influence the way organisations do business.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam:

  • has an excellent reputation
  • has a diverse international student body
  • is surrounded by many multinational firms and organisations
  • has low tuition fees for EU students
  • is conveniently located in the multicultural city of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam
The overall quality of Dutch higher education places it among the best in the world. According to the QS World University Rankings, no other country in the world can claim that 90% of its universities are ranked in the world’s top 200. Both UvA and VU Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research institutes.

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 taught in English. Apart from you HBO BSc you need a GMAT score of 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. You can find more information on our pre-masters here.

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

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

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

Application deadline
International degree students: 1 April (different deadlines may hold for other category students). Dutch degree students: 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.

Overview Business in Society: business and management




2 years



Application for this programme is currently not possible. We are working on creating a similar programme, as soon as registration for that programme is available we will update this website.




Economics, Business and Law