Culture, Organization and Management

Studying organizations from a cultural perspective

Study culture in organizations

Have you ever noticed how sometimes, the more we try to change something, the worse the issue gets? Or how asking the same question in different ways can elicit completely different answers? If your standard response is “why?” then the VU Master’s programme in Culture, Organization and Management might be just the study you’re looking for. Organisations are typically messy. There’s no one-size-fits-all management solution. Cultural bias comes into play. People make mistakes. Messages get lost along the way. And it’s this very complexity that makes the programme – and what you can do with your knowledge afterwards – so exciting.

This programme isn’t about desk research or sending out questionnaires. It’s about getting out there in the field, talking to people on the scene, and offering up a mirror to the people and organisations you’re studying. You’ll need the empathy to understand the issues from the inside, but the distance to be able to come up with workable solutions. You’ll need the critical thinking and theoretical baggage to be able to deliver tough messages, but the diplomacy to be able to communicate effectively.

Social Media - FacebookSocial Media - TwitterSocial Media - Youtube

Multiple perspectives, first-hand
Culture, Organization and Management (COM) at the VU is like no other. It offers an unique perspective by drawing close to organisational practice. We teach you to look behind the scenes and focusing on both individual’s lived experience and the wider social context. No other university in the world offers such an ethnographic perspective on organisation and management, coupled with practical field research, grounded analysis and critical advice.

This is a truly multi-disciplinary programme, combining insights from different social science disciplines, like psychology, anthropology and sociology. This interdisciplinary approach helps you understand organizational problems and management issues. There are no pre-set models that will allow you to make sense of an issue – you’ll need to come up with your own solutions based on the situation, the data, and the people involved. For example, a student can carry out  field work and write a thesis on employee theft in companies. In order to tackle the issue, they receive not only facts and figures, but learn to get closer to their employees to understand why they are stealing in the first place. 

What’s more, this is an international programme, covering global issues that affect people transnationally, as well as local issues at the level of individual groups and organisations. One of our students for example looked at the cultural differences between the Dutch and the Japanese in a multi-national organisation. In order to solve the communication issues being experienced, she suggested to include the power structures in play and the politics within the organisation and culture.

Whatever the issue, our approach has a few things in common: multiple perspectives on complex problems, a critical attitude that looks both internally and externally, a self-reflexive mindset that’s sensitive to cultural bias, and an effective and engaged style of communication. Teaching students to develop a practice-based understanding of complex issues ‘from within’ and to provide distanced analysis and critical advice, the knowledge and insights gained throughout the COM programme provide graduates with new career opportunities in both public and private sectors.

The first half of the year lays the theoretical and methodological groundwork for the master’s programme. In the period September till October, you’ll take two core courses: the first about power structures in organisations, and the second about making sense of organisational issues. You’ll also play a simulation game in which you’ll need to present sensitive data and advice to managers in order to find your own style and approach.

In the second period, you’ll choose two out of three electives – each of which centre around a key theme:
1) Transnational organisations in a global world: you’ll cover the tensions between globalisation and localisation, and the businesses and people that cross cultural boundaries.
How do cultural interactions across borders affect the way that organisations are set up and managed?
2) Changing organisational culture: cultural patterns and social processes make it difficult to manage organisational change effectively.
Why do mergers often fail? Why does imposing change from above rarely work in practice?
3) Culture and identity in organisations: taken-for-granted norms define some people as different, based on their age, gender, class, looks, ethnic background, etc. with major effects for careers and positioning. While management often pursues inclusivity, exclusionary effects tend to be overlooked.
How do you learn to see the frontstage and backstage differences and power play?

Field research
In the second half of the year, you’ll put all of this into practice during three months of field research. You’ll take a methodology course that will give you the tools to use qualitative research methods like interviewing, participant observation, ‘shadowing’  and discourse analysis. During the fieldwork, you’ll be supported by a supervisor and an online research lab that will help you refine your fieldwork techniques, storytelling, analysis, writing and presentational skills.
You’ll then use all the empirical evidence you’ve gathered to write your Master’s thesis. Previous topics have included everything from a local reform of the police service to responding to climate change or the financial crisis. For example, in a situation of a merger, what is the impact of social and cultural differences between the merging organizations on the collaboration?

View the course descriptions an the programme schedule
View the Masters Day Presentation

Unique brand
Having studied Culture, Organization and Management, the opportunities are diverse. All sorts of organisations are looking for your unique brand of culturally sensitive expertise. Your skills will be in high demand in many sectors. Graduates go in any and every direction. Not least because almost all organisations are engaged in change processes and collaborative practices on an ongoing basis.

The programme’s international approach lends itself well to working abroad: around a third of our students research their thesis in another country, and a substantial number find work abroad afterwards. The focus on management is an obvious fit with consultancy, advisory and managerial roles – especially in situations where a people-focused approach is important. Plenty of graduates go on to find work in the public sector as well: from healthcare and medical professions to educational institutions. And of course some Master’s graduates continue their education and study related PhD subjects.

How about starting your career in one of the following?

  • Consultancy firms – you’d be particularly well suited to consultancy firms specialising in a human approach, but some of our graduates have gone on to start up their own consultancies as well.
  • Management positions and traineeships in major companies – people who are culturally sensitive tend to make better leaders in today’s society.
  • The public sector, NGOs and international organisations – working on international issues like climate change or humanitarian aid, especially a role as a policymaker or advisor.
  • Social work and medical professions – the healthcare sector, for example, has many complex issues that require an innovative, qualitative research approach to solve them.
  • Communication and external relations – bringing across complex information to an external audience in a sensitive way.
  • Research and education – in a broad spectrum of knowledge institutions.

Pioneers in organizational culture
Since its start in 1990, this Master’s programme has been pioneering in its application of concepts related to culture to the field of management and organization sciences. We foster an understanding of culture in organizations that addresses everyday life in organizations, and analyze how people are caught in processes of sense-making. Knowledge about these processes is based on up-close and in-depth ethnographic research. You will learn to research organizations ethnographically and will conduct your own extensive fieldwork project.

Learning from diversity
Members of our teaching staff come from diverse backgrounds: anthropology, management science, public administration, corporate history, psychology, development studies and sociology. They all have extensive international experience in organizational culture research and many are experienced practitioners and consultants. You will benefit from the diversity of their perspectives as well as the diverse perspectives of your fellow students, as about 20% of your fellow students will come from abroad.
com-sadhana-100 “The Master's Programme Culture, Organization and Management (COM) gives me the opportunity to get a job in consultancy after graduation. With the perspective on consultancy, COM is very broad orientated in Organization Management and the Organization Cultures. This gives me many possibilities in the consultancy world.”
Sadhana Raghoebarsing, student Culture, Organization and Management

Bianca Bontic


Bianca Bontic"Combining theory and practice by doing actual research in the field, interacting with companies and getting insights in how a true ethnographer works made me challenge myself constantly. COM is a programme where you add passion and dedication, where everyone is free to debate and challenge the knowledge by trying to find different perspectives, and where you are indeed treated as a real professional."

Patrick Cahill

Alumnus (USA)

Patrick Cahill"COM teaches you to see dynamics in organisations that aren’t always visible. I really enjoyed the time and space it offered me to step outside of everyday life, and then look back at with a new perspective. I’ve now realised that’s just half of it; applying what I learned has been the real challenge."

Culture, Organization and Management

Overview Culture, Organization & Management




1 year



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


1 September




Behavioural and Social Sciences

Sadie Voet

Alumna (USA)

Sadie Voet"Coming from a bachelor's degree in psychology, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from the programme, but in the end I was impressed with the course offerings, the multidisciplinary approach, and the opportunity to make the thesis project my own. You learn a lot from your fellow COMrades as everyone has a different background (both geographically and academically), which makes lectures and seminars a lot of fun. COM not only allowed me to develop academically but also gave me a sense of how to apply my knowledge practically, really allowing me to excel in working life."

Admissions and contact

The Board of Admissions is responsible for handling and assessing requests for admission to the Master’s programmes of the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS). Questions to or requests for the Board of Admissions of FSS can be handed in to the administrative secretary, who will submit your request to the members of the Board and will inform you of their decision. The Board of Admissions strives to take on incoming requests within 4 weeks (20 working days) and 6 weeks during the busy summer period (starting 1 June).

Admission with a Dutch degree

To successfully follow the Master’s programme Culture, Organization and Management (COM), you need to have sufficient knowledge of qualitative research methods and insight into the field of organization sciences at the level and load of an academic Social Science Bachelor’s programme.

If you have one of the following bachelor’s degrees, you are admissible to the master’s programme in Culture, Organization and Management (COM):

  • Bedrijfskunde
  • Bestuurs- en organisatiewetenschap
  • Organisatiewetenschappen 
  • Psychologie afstudeerrichting Sociale- of Arbeids- & Organisatiepsychologie*
    *please add proof of the track you follow(ed) to your application in VUnet

Registration procedure

1. Registration for the Master’s programme in Studielink is open until 31 May (non-VU-students) / 31 July (VU-students) at the latest.
2. After registering in Studielink you’ll receive login data for VUnet.
3. Finish your application in VUnet.
4. Arrange payment of the tuition fee and complete your registration before 31 August at the latest.

More information about the registration procedure.

Please make sure to meet the English language requirements. Look in the menu below for more information. 

Before the beginning of the programme you’ll receive practical information about starting your studies.

To successfully follow the Master’s programme Culture, Organization and Management (COM), you need to have sufficient knowledge of qualitative research methods and insight into the field of organization sciences at the level and load of an academic Social Science Bachelor’s programme.

The Board of Admission assesses whether you have sufficient knowledge and skills in qualitative research methods. With qualitative research methods courses of at least 9 EC in total you qualify for this criterion. 

If you have one of the Bachelor’s degrees mentioned below, you are admissible to the Master’s programme COM on the following conditions:

(1) you successfully passed the two following VU-bachelor's courses: Kernthema’s bestuurs- & organisatiewetenschap (S_KBO) and Organizational Culture and Change (S_OCC) or at least 2 similar courses (12 EC) in organization science 
(2) you have sufficient knowledge of qualitative research methods. You are also advised to read Neyland, D., Organizational Ethnography. London: Sage.

  • Algemene Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Bestuurskunde
  • Communicatiewetenschap 
  • Communicatie- en Informatiewetenschappen
  • Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie
  • Liberal Arts/ Social Sciences (University College)
  • Politicologie
  • Psychologie met andere afstudeerrichting dan Sociale- of Arbeids- & Organisatiepsychologie
  • Science, Business & Innovation 
  • Sociologie

If you have a university Bachelor’s degree other than mentioned above, you can hand in a request for admission. The Board of Admissions decides whether you will be admitted or whether you have to meet with additional requirements.

Registration procedure

1. Registration for the Master’s programme in Studielink is open until 31 May (non-VU-students) / 31 July (VU-students) at the latest.
2. After registering in Studielink you’ll receive login data for VUnet
3. Add the following documents to your application in VUnet:

  • Résumé
  • Short letter of motivation: explain why you want to study COM at VU Amsterdam.
  • Scan authenticated (provisional) grade list.
  • Relevant course descriptions of your bachelor’s programme.
  • An example of a single-authored text to assess the level of methodological skills and academic writing.

4. Finish your application in VUnet.
5. After your application has been processed and assessed you’ll receive notice about your admissibility.
6. Arrange payment of the tuition fee and complete your registration before 31 August at the latest.

More information about the registration procedure

Please make sure to meet the English language requirements. Look in the menu below for more information. 

Before the beginning of the programme you’ll receive practical information about starting your studies.

The following information is in Dutch, since the pre-Master's programme is partly taught in Dutch and therefore not accessible for students who don't speak Dutch.

Als hbo'er kun je starten met de master Culture, Organization and Management nadat je het bijbehorende premasterprogramma met succes hebt afgerond. Ieder hbo-bachelordiploma geeft toegang tot de premaster, mits aan de eisen van het premasterassessment is voldaan.

Inhoud premaster
Het premasterprogramma bereidt studenten voor op de Engelstalige Master COM. Het is een parttime programma bestaande uit vijf vakken waarbij aandacht wordt besteed aan de organisatiewetenschappen, academische vaardigheden en onderzoeksmethodieken.

Bekijk het jaarrooster en de vakken van de premaster COM.

  • Het premasterprogramma telt 30 EC-studiepunten. 
  • De studielast van de premaster is verspreid over het studiejaar.
  • De colleges en werkgroepen vinden plaats op vrijdag. 
  • Elk studiepunt staat gelijk aan 28 uur studie. Een vak van 6 studiepunten staat dus voor 168 uur (zelf-)studie. 
  • De premaster moet binnen één jaar worden afgerond. De behaalde resultaten van de premaster zijn geldig tot 1 september van het volgende studiejaar.  
  • Het tarief is gelijk aan de helft van het wettelijke collegegeld.  

Om aan de premaster deel te kunnen nemen, moet je het premasterassessment hebben behaald.

Het premasterassessment van FSW toetst: 

  • Engelse taalvaardigheid
  • Rekenkundige vaardigheden (statistiek)
  • Cognitieve aspecten

De onderdelen Engelse taalvaardigheid en rekenkundige vaardigheden (statistiek) zijn bindend. Deze worden niet onderling gecompenseerd. Je moet dus voor beide onderdelen een voldoende score behalen.

Bekijk alle informatie over het premasterassessment. Daar staat ook hoe je je in Studielink en VUnet kunt aanmelden voor het premasterprogramma en het assessment.

1. Meld je voor de premaster aan in Studielink uiterlijk 31 mei.
2. Na aanmelding ontvang je inloggegevens voor VUnet.
3. Rond je aanmelding in VUnet af, incl. aanmelding voor het premasterassessment.
4. Premasterassessment en hbo-bachelordiploma moeten uiterlijk 31 augustus behaald zijn.
5. Regel de betaling van het premastertarief en rond je inschrijving af uiterlijk 31 augustus.

Voor aanvang van het premasterprogramma ontvang je praktische informatie over de start van de studie. 

Voor aanvang van de master moet je voldoen aan de taaleis Engels. Kijk in onderstaand menu voor meer informatie.

HvA doorstroomminor SWO
Beschik je over een afgeronde hbo-opleiding inclusief de doorstroomminor Sociaalwetenschappelijk Onderzoek  van de HvA, dan word je toegelaten na het behalen van een van de volgende bachelorvakken van de VU:
Kernthema’s bestuurs- & organisatiewetenschap (S_KBO)
Organizational Culture and Change (S_OCC) 
Organisaties in de 21e eeuw (S_O21)

Je hoeft geen premaster te volgen en dus ook geen assessment te maken. 
Kijk op de webpagina voor informatie over aanmelden als bijvakstudent.

Voor aanvang van de master moet je voldoen aan de taaleis Engels. Kijk in onderstaand menu voor meer informatie.

To be admitted to the English-taught Master’s programme students must meet the following results in the English language test (no older than 2 years):
  • IELTS score with a minimum of 6.5
  • TOEFL score paper based test: 580
  • TOEFL score computer based test: 237
  • TOEFL score internet based test: 92-93
  • VU TOEFL-ITP: 580 (only valid for VU University Amsterdam)
  • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE in Advanced English (CAE): A or B
  • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C

Exemptions from the language test requirement are granted in the following cases:  

  • Your bachelor’s or master’s diploma was obtained in an English-language university programme in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA. 
  • Your bachelor’s or master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme at a Dutch university. 
  • Your bachelor’s or master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme in a different EU-country.
  • You have a Dutch vwo-diploma (level 6 vwo-nieuw).
  • You are a premaster student and have passed the premaster’s assessment.

Make sure to register on time at Taalloket for the VU TOEFL-ITP, as the possibilities are limited, especially during the busy summer period. 

If you have a Dutch bachelor's degree obtained at a Dutch university, the first take of the VU TOEFL-ITP is free of charge.

Please add a scan of the result to your application in VUnet before 31 August at the latest.

To prepare for the Master’s programme the  Board of Admissions advices you to read the following titles:

  • Alvesson, M., Understanding Organizational Culture. London: Sage;
  • Grey, C., A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Organizations. London: Sage;
  • Neyland, D., Organizational Ethnography. London: Sage.

It is to your advantage to read these titles before starting the Master’s programme, but it is not a binding condition and therefore will not be tested.

Hoe schrijf ik me in voor een premaster?
Informatie over de aanmeldprocedure vind je op de  onder de kop ‘Toelating met een HBO-bachelor’.
Algemene informatie over de inschrijfprocedure voor een premaster op de VU staat op deze pagina.

Word ik met mijn hbo-diploma toegelaten tot een masteropleiding?
Met een hbo-bachelordiploma word je niet direct toegelaten tot een masteropleiding, maar volg je eerst een premaster. Om toegelaten te worden tot het premasterprogramma moet je slagen voor het premasterassessment. Een afgerond premasterprogramma biedt toegang tot de aansluitende masteropleiding.

Ik heb heel hoge cijfers gehaald in mijn hbo-bachelor en werkervaring. Mag ik direct instromen?
Helaas word je niet direct toegelaten tot de master met jouw hbo-bachelor. Alleen een wo-bachelor geeft mogelijk direct toegang. Werkervaring en hoge cijfers tellen niet mee in de toelatingsprocedure.

Mag ik instromen met een premaster van een andere universiteit?
Het is niet gebruikelijk om in te stromen met een premaster van een andere universiteit. De toelatingseisen en de inhoud kunnen verschillen per universiteit en per premaster. Je kunt een toelatingsverzoek indienen. De toelatingscommissie beoordeelt dan of je vooropleiding voldoet.

Ik ga mijn hbo-bachelor niet voor 1 september halen. Mag ik toch starten met de premaster?
Als je je hbo-bachelordiploma niet voor 1 september hebt behaald, kun je helaas niet beginnen met de premaster in het aansluitende collegejaar. Het is tevens niet mogelijk om halverwege het collegejaar in te stromen bij onze faculteit.

Ik ontvang mijn hbo-bachelordiploma niet voor 1 september, maar heb deze al wel behaald. Mag ik toch starten met de premaster?
Uiterlijk 31 augustus moet een kopie van je hbo-bachelordiploma of een bewijs van afstuderen binnen zijn. In dat geval kun je jouw hbo-bachelordiploma wel later inleveren, maar deze moet gedateerd zijn van vóór 1 september om in september te kunnen beginnen.

Moet ik als premasterstudent ook deelnemen aan matching?
Nee, matching is alleen voor bachelorstudenten.

Mag ik de premaster als minor volgen in mijn hbo-bachelor?
Helaas is het niet mogelijk om de premaster als minor te volgen. Om toegelaten te worden tot de premaster moet je in het bezit zijn van een hbo-bachelordiploma. Je kunt als hbo-bachelorstudent wel aan keuzevakken volgen.

Kan ik na het behalen van mijn premaster een jaar wachten met instromen in de master?
Nee, je dient na het afronden van de premaster in het aansluitende studiejaar te beginnen met de bijbehorende master.

Moet ik ook een premasterassessment doen? En waarom?
Het assessment is verplicht voor studenten met een hbo-bachelordiploma die met een premaster willen beginnen. Met het premasterassessment wordt getest of je beschikt over voldoende vaardigheden op het gebied van Engels en wiskunde om de premaster te kunnen volgen.

Moet ik een GMAT doen?
Nee, de GMAT wordt alleen afgenomen bij de School of Business and Economics (SBE).

Wat toetst het premasterassessment van de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen (FSW)?
Het assessment bestaat uit:
•    Tekstbegrip en leesvaardigheid in de Nederlandse taal
•    Tekstbegrip en leesvaardigheid in de Engelse taal
•    Rekenkundige vaardigheden en wiskunde/statistiek
•    Cognitieve capaciteiten

Is de uitslag van het premasterassessment bindend?
De onderdelen Engels en wiskunde zijn bindend. Wie voor deze onderdelen geen voldoende haalt, kan niet starten met een premaster. Het is niet mogelijk om het premasterassessment te herkansen.

Wat kost het premasterassessment?
De kosten voor deelname aan het assessment bedragen 110 euro.

Hoe meld ik mij aan voor het premasterassessment?
Meld je via Studielink aan voor de premaster en doorloop de stappen van de aanmeldingsprocedure. Je komt dan vanzelf op een punt dat je je moet aanmelden voor het assessment.

Wanneer vindt het premasterassessment plaats?
Data voor het premasterassessment kun je vinden via deze pagina.

Ik wil graag op een ander moment het premasterassessment maken. Kan dat?
Neem hiervoor contact op met de studentenbalie.

Ik heb een vwo-diploma. Moet ik ook het premasterassessment maken? Ik heb toch al bewezen dat ik het niveau aankan?
Met een vwo-diploma moet je het premasterassessment maken en behalen, om na te gaan of je nog steeds op het gewenste niveau zit.

Als ik het premasterassessment niet behaal, mag ik dan herkansen?
Nee, helaas kun je het premasterassessment niet herkansen.

Als ik het premasterassessment niet heb gemaakt/behaald, krijg ik dan het geld terug?
Nee, dit bedrag wordt niet gerestitueerd.

Wanneer krijg ik de uitslag van het premasterassessment?
De uitslag wordt binnen drie weken na afname van het premasterassessment per e-mail verstuurd naar het mailadres dat je hebt opgegeven in Studielink.

Lees meer over het premasterassessment, voorbereidingstips en afnamedata.

If you have any questions after reading this website, please view the frequently asked questions. When your answer is not there, please send an email to

Programme information
Information days
Admission requirements
Tuition fee, admission via Studielink and VUnet
Central Student Desk
Admission and application requests
Studielink + VUnet
Other questions?

Admission with an international degree

The Master’s degree programme in Culture, Organization & Management is an international programme. To gain admission, you must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university in Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Organization Science, Communication Science (from a Social Sciences perspective), Organization Psychology, Social Psychology, or Business Administration. You must have had research methodology. Those who hold another degree (particularly in the Humanities) can be admitted if their study programme shows sufficient affinity (course content and research methodology). You also need an excellent working command of English. 

How to apply

To apply for the programme, you need to register in Studielink. Once you have completed your registration in Studielink, you will receive log in details for the portal in VUnet. You must complete your application in VUnet by uploading the following required documents:

  1. Certified copy of your original Bachelor’s degree certificate. The certified degree must be in English or be translated into English by your university or a sworn translator. If you have yet to obtain your degree, you can ask the registrar of your university to provide an official statement to the effect that your are certain to graduate before 1 September.
  2. A transcript of the grades you obtained in your Bachelor’s programme. The certified transcript must be in English or be translated into English by your university or by a sworn translator. If you have followed or are following a master’s programme and/or more than one bachelor’s programme, please include transcripts of all these programmes.
  3. A clearly legible copy of the page(s) in your passport (or ID-card if you are an EU student) that contain(s) your personal data. A copy of a passport / ID card that is no longer valid will not be accepted.
  4. A curriculum vitae, including your personal details, and listing your previous education and relevant work experience.
  5. A Bachelor's or Master's thesis (in English). Or if you have not finished your thesis yet, a sample of an academic writing in English (at least 10 pages in length). The writing sample should be relevant for the programme and clearly demonstrate your academic skills. We will check your sample for plagiarism as one of the first steps of the evaluation procedure.
  6. A description of the courses you have taken during your bachelor’s programme, you can either copy this from the study guide or type 5-10 sentences for each course yourself (written in English). Emphasize the ones that you think are relevant for the proposed Master Programme. If you have not yet graduated, please also include an overview of courses with course descriptions which you are following or going to follow before graduation.
  7. A letter of motivation (no more than 2 pages in length, in English). Also, if applicable, please specify in this letter, the name of the specialization you are applying for.

Application fee & deadlines
All students seeking admission to an international Bachelor’s or Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.

Information on how to apply with an international university degree and deadlines can be found here.

For more information, international students may also contact the admission officer:

Check your eligibility

Are you curious if you meet the admission requirements for the programme? Then you can fill out the online Student Self Check tool below to find out more about your chances to be admitted to the Master’s programme Culture, Organization and Management. 

In the tool you will be asked some questions about your previous education and background. Based on your answers you will receive a personal preliminary advice on your eligibility for admission and the next steps you can take to continue your application.

Please note: no rights can be derived from the Self Check tool results. For a definite admission decision you will have to complete the official application procedure for this programme.

To be admitted to the master’s programme all applicants must meet the following results in the English language test (no older than 2 years):
  • IELTS score with a minimum of 6.5.
  • TOEFL score paper based test: 580.
  • TOEFL score computer based test: 237.
  • TOEFL score internet based test: 92.
  • VU TOEFL-ITP: 580 (only valid for VU Amsterdam)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A or B.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C.

IELTS = test given by the British International English Language Testing Service.
TOEFL = American Test of English as a foreign Language.

Exemptions from the language test requirements are granted in the following cases:

  • If your bachelor's or master's diploma was obtained in an English-language university programme in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA.
  • If your bachelor's or master's diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme at a Dutch university.
  • If your bachelor's or master's diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme in a different EU-country.

Please note that the options for taking this test are limited, especially during the summer holidays. Remember to upload the result of your test as soon as possible, but at the latest June 1st (for non-EEA students) or August 31st (for EEA students).

Some International students are happy to tell you about their experience 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.

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

For further questions about admission requirements, please contact the International Student Advisor Irena Paap by e-mail (

Master's Evening3 December 2019aanmelden

Fiza Ahmed


Fiza Ahmed"COM offers an intriguing programme in which elements of sociology, anthropology and organisation sciences come together. COM has completely changed the way I see things by teaching me to always look further than what meets the eye!"