Economics: Public Policy

Designing policy to deal with great societal challenges

This high-quality one-year programme in economics has a strong interest in the design and evaluation of public policy. Public Policy studies the main societal challenges of today and tomorrow, including the future of the welfare state, aging of society, global environmental challenges, urbanization of our societies, globalization, and economic development and inequality. The programme addresses questions on market performance and failures, and associated policies, studied from the perspective of incentives and economic behaviour of individual firms and households. It also covers macroeconomic policies directed at aggregate growth and employment.

It is generally felt that effective public policies to address the great societal challenges are urgently needed, but not ready on the shelf. What can policy makers do to live up to the challenges encountered in our pension systems? What is the role for policy in the developing world, where billions still suffer? How to deal with the climate change from an economic perspective? How to make sure that in a rapidly urbanizing world, cities will become or remain places where people can live healthily, safely and happily?

The programme covers both micro- and macroeconomic perspectives on policies at an advanced level. This provides you with a very rich set of perspectives on economic policy analysis. Therefore, this programme offers you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to tackle complex problems at a high level of abstraction, while emphasizing the need to translate theoretical solutions and empirical evidence into clear-cut policy advice.

Contact for more information: Bas van der Klaauw (b.vander.klaauw@vu.nl)

AACSB

The master's in Public Policy is a high-quality one-year programme. The first part of the programme consists of two compulsory core courses focusing on the foundations of public economics and research methods. Next four field courses concerning different aspects of public policy. Two pieces of independent academic work, a research project and a final thesis, complete the programme requirements. Thanks to the compact, personal nature of the programme there is plenty of interaction with the teaching staff.

The academic year is divided into six teaching periods: four periods of eight weeks and two periods of four weeks. The programme’s study load is 60 credits. Credits are expressed in EC: European Credit (Transfer System). Each credit amounts to circa of 28 hours studying.

Annual schedule

As a graduate of the Master’s programme in Public Policy you are a well-trained economist, with extensive knowledge of economic theory, data analysis techniques and economic policy.

Graduates become policy economists at consultancy firms or with government agencies, or work in various positions in financial and non-financial industries. Others start working as market analysts at, for example, the Netherlands Competition Authority, or De Nederlandsche Bank. Still others go to work for multinationals such as banks and insurance companies. Some graduates work at economic research institutes or join PhD programmes at highly competitive research universities before continuing with their academic career.

Apart from focusing on high-profile job opportunities, programme participants develop an eye for economic issues of societal and scientific relevance, and develop a critical attitude for analysing and judging these issues. Economics is at the very heart of the social sciences. Economists are therefore involved and committed members of society.

Thanks to the compact, personal nature of the programme there is plenty of interaction with the teaching staff. The programme is highly esteemed by its students and is one of the top Economics programmes in the Netherlands.

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.

Sjoerd ten Wolde

Graduated in 2011, Policy Officer Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sjoerd ten Wolde

"I’m glad I used my resources on the MSc Economics at VU Amsterdam. I was afraid I was ill prepared for this programme. Despite its demanding nature, however, the professors were always willing to help out. I thrived in the programme, graduated cum laude in 2011, and learned the building blocks for my current occupation as a policy economist for the Dutch Ministry of the Interior. I still use the knowledge I got in the MSc Economics every day, and highly recommend it."

MSc Economics at VU Amsterdam

Overview Economics: Public Policy

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION

1 April for international degree holders from non-EU/EEA countries (different deadlines may hold for other category students);

15 July for Dutch degree holders and international degree holders from EU/EEA countries

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Public Policy is a specialization of the Economics master's programme

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Study in Holland

Admission with a Dutch degree

The MSc Programme in Public Policy welcomes ambitious students who are interested in studying key policy challenges from an economics perspective. Students should have an interest in thinking about societal problems and should start with introductory knowledge in economics and sufficient knowledge of mathematics and statistics.

Admission requirements
Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics or Econometrics have direct admission as well as students who completed the economics track in (International) Business administration or completed the Minor Economics @ VU. The entry requirement for students with a Bachelor’s degree in (International) Business Administration, Economics and Econometrics from the Vrije Universiteit are summarized in this document.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink.

Step 1:
Apply for the MSc programme Economics via Studielink before 15 July (see step 2).

Step 2:

After applying for the programme in Studielink, you will receive a VUnet-ID and password. Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions, affirming your choice for the specialization Public Policy and uploading a formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA) (please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your transcript is uploaded).
 
More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Services for international (IBA) students / Residence permit:
If you are planning to continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after your IBA, please contact the Central Admission's Support Team of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for further information and specific questions about the offered services for international students like extending your residence permit. You will need to apply for extension of your residence permit if you continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

The MSc Programme in Public Policy welcomes ambitious students who are interested in studying key policy challenges from an economics perspective. Students should have an interest in thinking about societal problems and should start with introductory knowledge in economics and sufficient knowledge of mathematics and statistics.

Admission requirements
The MSc programme in Public Policy is open to students with a university Bachelor's degree that provides an introductory knowledge in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics and a solid background in mathematics and statistics for social scientists. Specifically, students ought to be familiar with mathematics (calculus and algebra), economics and econometrics at a level commensurate with all of the following texts:

Microeconomics    
Goolsbee, A., Levitt, S. and Syverson, C., Microeconomics, MacMillan, 2013.
Macroeconomics        
Some introductory knowledge on growth, trade, business cycles, unemployment and inflation. This is described in chapters 1-10 of Mankiw, N.G. and Taylor, M.P. Macroeconomics (European Edition), MacMillan, 2014.
Econometrics and Statistics   
Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7).
Mathematics for Economists    
Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al., Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016.
Approval is in most cases given to students who hold a:
•    Bachelor’s degree in economics or econometrics
•    Bachelor’s degree in business administration, social sciences and sciences with sufficient elective courses in economics
•    Bachelor’s degree from a University College with a specialization in sciences or social sciences and sufficient economics courses
•    Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) with sufficient economics and quantitative courses
•    Bachelor’s degree and who completed the Minor Economics at the Vrije Universiteit

Application procedure

Step 1:
Apply for the programme MSc Economics via Studielink before 15 July. You can apply for the specialization Public Policy in VUnet (see step 2).

Step 2:
After applying for the programme in studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID and password. Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions, affirming  your choice for the specialization Public Policy and uploading a formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA) (please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is clear and your transcript is uploaded).  

Step 3:
The admission committee will assess your application and decide whether you are admissible. You will be informed about this decision via email.

Students who do not meet the admission criteria can be
•    admitted conditional on passing one or more Bachelor courses
•    requested to take an admission test after self-study of the literature
•    admitted to the transfer programme (a minimal GRE score may be required)
The admission test takes place in June at the Vrije Universiteit.
Note that participation in the transfer programme may substantially increase the time to completion.

For the full description of the registration procedure see the VU website (in Dutch).

Admission requirements and application
Students with a HBO degree in economics related fields can enroll in the MSc program in Public Policy, but only after completing a transfer programme.

If you have a Dutch higher vocational (HBO) degree you need to enroll in a transfer programme, which is specifically designed to bridge the gap between higher vocational education and university-level education.

To apply for admission you should send a request and a transcript of you HBO courses and grades by email to toelating.sbe@vu.nl. The admission board then will decide whether admission is possible via the transfer programme.

For more information about the transfer programme contact toelating.sbe@vu.nl.

Students wishing to attend the transfer programme may be required to submit scores from a recent GRE test prior to start and admission may be conditional on achieving a set of minimal scores (information is available on request). Note that participation in the transfer programme may substantially increase the time to completion.

Information days and activities
contact@vu.nl
Admission questions
toelating.sbe@vu.nl
or on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 15:00h and 16:00h: Tel. 020 5985873
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Application
Studielink
Other questions
contact@vu.nl

Visit our information day
Master's event
 3 December 2019
Please register later

Admission with an international degree

The MSc programme in Economics, specialization in Public Policy, welcomes ambitious students who are interested in studying key policy challenges from an economics perspective. Students should have an interest in thinking about societal problems and should start with introductory knowledge in economics and sufficient knowledge of mathematics and statistics.

In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you 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. You need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

Microeconomics
Goolsbee, A., Levitt, S. and Syverson, C., Microeconomics, MacMillan, 2013.
Macroeconomics
Some introductory knowledge on growth, trade, business cycles, unemployment and inflation. This is described in chapters 1-10 of Mankiw, N.G. and Taylor, M.P. Macroeconomics (European Edition), MacMillan, 2014.
Econometrics and Statistics
Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7).
Mathematics for Economists
Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al., Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016.

Applications not providing proof of having passed course work at the minimally required level may be rejected, or applicants may be requested to make up for deficiencies by means of self-study.
Good students with technical backgrounds (Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, and possibly Engineering) are encouraged to apply International degree holders from Universities of Applied Sciences (polytechnics, vocational colleges, etc.) cannot be admitted.

English language proficiency
The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU 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 scores for the programme: 
 
IELTS (academic)
•    Minimum general score 6.5
•    Minimum writing score 6.0

TOEFL
•    Paper based test 580
•    Internet based test 92

Cambridge English
•    Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
•    Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is 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.

If you have read the admission requirements 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. You can already apply online without having completed your Bachelor’s degree. After admission, you will have until 31 August to send a proof of graduation by postal mail.

Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the non-refundable €100 application fee. You can find a more detailed explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English, and preferably in .PDF format.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU citizens)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Two academic reference letters
  • Transcript of records
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, with the main literature used for those course. You can use this format.
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing). If your thesis was not written in English, please submit the original with an added summary of about 3 pages 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 e-mail. Please refer to the application page to see which application deadline applies to you.

Step 2: Await decision on admission
After submitting your complete application, the Admission Board will review all your documents to assess your eligibility. In general, we can inform students of the admission decision within 4 weeks. Around deadlines, this can take a bit linger, so we always recommend to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive your letter of conditional admission by email. After that, you can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 3: Finalize your enrolment and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your enrolment as a student before the start of the programme. Here on our website, you will find an explanation of all things to arrange after admission. When all enrolment requirements have been met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Further information about:

Our international student ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU and living in Amsterdam. Our student ambassadors come from all over the world and are currently attending various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here.

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

International students can apply to several scholarships. For all VU scholarships, please see www.vu.nl/scholarships. Any available external grant or scholarship can be found through www.grantfinder.nl.

Visit our Master's Events

Central International Office
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure, please contact one of your International Student Advisors at the International Office: masters.sbe@vu.nl

Leanne Schrijver
Leanne Schrijver
Tel +31 20 59 83032
Paul Steeman
Paul Steeman
Tel +31 20 59 88739
Amu Shrestha
Amu Shrestha
Tel +31 20 59 84296
Lotte de Winter
Lotte de Winter
Tel +31 20 59 89072


For general information about VU Amsterdam:
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 09:00 to 17:00).
You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl .

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