Finance: Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology

Combining data science methods with financial know-how

Due to the Corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this Master's programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection ‘Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s.

Data science: a shock to the financial system, or its biggest opportunity? The availability of big data, in combination with rapidly increasing computing power, is uncovering mechanisms not visible before. Blockchain has the ability to fundamentally change the way we register and administer information. Networks provide the opportunity to build robust and stable interactions. Major challenges lie ahead in understanding what these fascinating new technologies imply for our financial infrastructure.

These developments call for a new type of finance graduate. The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology trains you to master traditional finance techniques in combination with developments in data science. Having graduated from the programme, you’ll have the ability to understand the data techniques, how they can be applied in the financial sector, and how they can transform businesses. While you won’t be a data science specialist, you’ll form a bridge between the programmer and the manager. You’ll understand the technicians, apply the techniques in the financial sector, and sell them to the outside world.

AACSB

The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology has a study load of 84 credits, which means it’s a challenging curriculum that covers six periods in total.

To break it down:

  • In the first period, you’ll study the structure of the financial sector and financial markets. You’ll also follow the first data science course on Python – the most widely used programming language for big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 
  • In the second period, you’ll study financial econometrics as well as the main new data science techniques, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain. 
  • In the third period, you’ll conduct a research project – applying your Python and machine learning skills, ideally through an internship or company assignment.
  • In the fourth period, and fifth period, you can choose from a set of electives in which you’ll apply your data science knowledge to different financial settings. For example, you can choose how to run a HFT firm, how the payments landscape is changing, how to manage financial risks, how regulation is adopting to the latest innovations, or how to market your FinTech innovation. 
  • During the last two periods, you’ll also write your Master’s thesis. Again, ideally you’ll be applying your knowledge at a large financial institution or start-up in practice. 
  • Like all finance and financial management students, you’ll work on your portfolio throughout the year – giving you great preparation for the job market.

Want to know more? Check out the study guide and year schedule!

  • This programme offers a unique combination of finance, data science and implementation in practice.
  • The excellent reputation of the programme (Top Rated in the National Student Survey!) in combination with your unique and sought-after skillset means that potential employers will be lining up to hire you.
  • VU Amsterdam’s proximity to the heart of the Netherlands’ financial centre, the Zuidas, means it has excellent links with the financial services industry.
  • The size of the programme (approx. 50 students) means there’s close cooperation between students and teachers, most of whom also work in business themselves.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to take workshops in soft skills – such as communications, leadership, presentation and public speaking skills – as part of a tailor-made programme to train you to become an academic professional.
  • You have a background in economics or business, with a special interest in modern technology, as well as some programming skills.
  • Or you have a technical background, such as a Bachelor’s in business analytics, (applied) mathematics or physics, with some training in finance and economics.
  • You achieved above-average grades in your Bachelor’s degree, as this is a highly challenging honours programme.
  • You’re curious, inquisitive and have a strong work ethos.

Does this sound like you? Then come along to our Master’s Evening where you can find out more and try out the programme for yourself! If you’re keen to apply and meet the entry requirements (see below), then take a look at our application procedure and deadlines.

What skills make you interesting to potential future employers?
Having completed the programme, you’ll have a unique set of skills combining data science techniques with financial knowledge.

What kinds of jobs are available to you?
All firms in the financial industry are effectively looking for people who know how to handle data, and how to implement the new opportunities that such data offers in their business model. You will be able to fulfil a valuable bridge function between the pure quants (as you’ll understand the numbers) and the business managers (as you’ll be able to interpret the results).

What have alumni of the programme gone on to do?
Graduates of the programme have gone on to work at one of the large consulting firms (Deloitte, Accenture, McKinsey, etc.), the big banks (ING, ABN AMRO, etc.), the Central Bank or large corporations. IT firms like Booking.com and Google are also interested in graduates from the programme.

How does the programme help prepare students for the job market?
The Master Finance is unique in that it requires you to work on a portfolio throughout the year, which will prepare you for the job market. It includes workshops from our Career Service department (CV building, letter writing, interview techniques, etc.), ethics, and self-reflection exercises.

Overview Finance: Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION

1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19) 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

Please click here for more information about COVID-19

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

This is a specialisation within the Master Finance.

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Admission with a Dutch degree

Due to the Corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this Master's programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection ‘Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s.

The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology is aiming at highly ambitious students with a background in economics or business, who have a special interest in modern technology. Alternatively, students from a more technical bachelor programme, such as business analytics, (applied) mathematics, or physics, with some training in finance and economics might qualify. It is an 84 credit honours programme, which makes it quite challenging. It is less technically oriented than the Duisenberg Honours Programme in Quantitative Risk Management, but is broader as it focuses on the bridge function between data science and finance. 

Admission requirements
With a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics or Econometrics and Operations Research from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam you are admissible to this programme, provided you have sufficient interest in and affiliation with finance and you successfully finished the 3d year course “Investments” or any other investments course on the level of the book Bodie, Kane, Marcus (1996), Investments.

With a Bachelor's degree in (International) Business Administration, Economics and Business Economics, you are admissible to this programme, provided you have a grade-point average of at least 7.0 and have demonstrated your programming skills and/or you have successfully finished the following courses:

  • Financial Markets and Institutions (E_EBE3_FMI) 
  • Investments (E_EBE3_INVES)
  • QRM III ‐ Economics and Finance (E_EBE3_QRMEF)
  • Programming for Economists (X_400644) (highly recommended)

This MSc is an honours programme, which means we select the students for this programme on the basis of:

  • Motivation letter.
  • Grade average achieved in the Bachelor programme.

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Finance and in VUnet you can select the specialization Duisenberg honours programme in Finance and Technology.

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

Step 2:
Please complete your application in VUnet by answering additional questions, affirming  your choice for the specialization Duisenberg honours programme in Finance and Technology and uploading the following document: a formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).

Step 3:
To apply for admission you should send a request to the admissions board. You have to add the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • Motivation letter

You can send your request per email until 1 July to toelating.sbe@vu.nl.

Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is selected in VUnet and you send all documents in time to toelating.sbe@vu.nl.  

Step 4:
The admission committee will assess if you meet the admission criteria and will inform you about the decision via email.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Services for international (EBE, EOR, IBA) students / Residence permit:
If you are planning to continue your studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after your SBE Bachelor, 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.

Due to the Corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this Master's programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection ‘Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s.

The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology is aiming at highly ambitious students with a background in economics or business, who have a special interest in modern technology. Alternatively, students from a more technical bachelor programme, such as business analytics, (applied) mathematics, or physics, with some training in finance and economics might qualify. It is an 84 credit honours programme, which makes it quite challenging. It is less technically oriented than the Duisenberg Honours Programme in Quantitative Risk Management, but is broader as it focuses on the bridge function between data science and finance.   

Admission requirements
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 are admissible to this programme, provided you have a grade-point average of at least 7.0 and have successfully finished the following courses:

  • Investments - Bodie, Kane, and Marcus: Investments, or equivalent
  • Financial Markets and Institutions - Mishkin, Matthews and Guiliodori: Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets, Pearson or equivalent 
  • Mathematics - Sydsaeter, Hammond and Strom: Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, or equivalent
  • Business Statistics - Berenson, Levine, Szabat: Basic Business Statistics, Pearson, or equivalent
  • Programming - At least 6ec training and experience in a programming language (e.g., MatLab, Python, R, C++)

This MSc is an honours programme, which means we select the students for this program on the basis of:

  • Motivation letter
  • Grade average achieved in the Bachelor program 

Approval is in most cases given to students who hold a Bachelor degree in:

  • Econometrics
  • Economics with sufficient quantitative elements
  • Engineering with sufficient finance elements
  • Physics with sufficient finance elements
  • Computer Science with sufficient finance elements
  • (Applied) Mathematics with sufficient finance elements

Application procedure
To enroll in the programme submit your enrolment application via Studielink. Please note: in Studielink you can apply for the Master in Finance and in VUnet you can select the specialization Duisenberg honours programme in Finance and Technology.

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

Step 2:
After application 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 Duisenberg honours programme in Finance and Technology and uploading the following document: a formal transcript of your bachelor grades. Your transcript must include an average score (GPA).

Step 3:
To apply for admission you should send a request to the admissions board. You have to add the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • Motivation letter

You can send your request per email until 1 July to toelating.sbe@vu.nl

Please note: we can only process your application when your choice of specialization is selected in VUnet and you send all documents in time to toelating.sbe@vu.nl.   

Step 4:
The admission committee will assess if you meet the admission criteria and will inform you about the decision via email.

More information regarding registration WO-bachelors, see the VU website (in Dutch).

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘BSc-before-MSc rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam have therefore examined how an exception to the rule can be made possible, so that students do not get stuck in the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s because of the corona crisis. This is a one-off measure. 

1. Transition from BSc programs to MSc programs – national and EU 

In accordance with the agreements made with the Dutch government, the VU has developed guidelines for the so-called “zachte knip” (soft cut, i.e., transferring from BSc to MSc program without completing the BSc yet.) An overview of these guidelines and their background are presented in the document “VU RICHTLIJN ‘MASTERTOELATING ZONDER AFGERONDE VOOROPLEIDING’”. 

Based on these guidelines and previous experience with the “zachte knip”, the following requirements have now been developed: 

Students are allowed to miss a total of 18EC of their BSc degree program (10% of the total of 180EC than can be obtained), provided that: 

1. a)  The student has completed his/her BSc Thesis 

2. b)  The general qualitative entry requirements for the specific program are met (as stipulated with other academic degree holders), rather than specific courses (as is now the case for our own BSc students). 

The remaining 18EC need to be completed before September 1, 2021. If not, students will not be able to apply for their MSc degree. We have opted for the 10% maximum of missing EC, as it would be unlikely for students to have a reasonable chance of completing their MSc program otherwise. Even with 18EC missing, this is challenging. Students that start with a deficiency will therefore proactively be invited by the academic advisors to discuss their situation and see if they can offer help where needed. 

Requesting exceptional admission

Do you meet these conditions or do you expect to meet these conditions by 31 August at the latest? If so, you can request exceptional admission no later than 1 August. You can do this by completing and submitting the form.

Note: for non-EEA students, the regular rules apply 

Visit our Master's Events.

Information days and activities
contact@vu.nl
Admission requests, admission requirements and admission questions
toelating.sbe@vu.nl / admissions.sbe@vu.nl or on Tuesday and Thursday between 15:00h and 16:00h : Tel. 020 5985873
Tuition fees, Studielink, VUnet
Central Student Desk
Application
Studielink
Other questions
contact@vu.nl

Admission with an international degree

Due to the Corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this Master's programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection ‘Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s.

The Duisenberg Honours Programme in Finance and Technology is aiming at highly ambitious students with a background in economics or business, who have a special interest in modern technology. Alternatively, students from a more technical bachelor programme, such as business analytics, (applied) mathematics, or physics, with some training in finance and economics might qualify. It is an 84 credit honours programme, which makes it quite challenging. It is less technically oriented than the Duisenberg Honours Programme in Quantitative Risk Management, but is broader as it focuses on the bridge function between data science and finance.    

Admission requirements
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 are admissible to this programme, provided you have a grade-point average of at least 7.0 and have successfully finished the following courses:

  • Investments - Bodie, Kane, and Marcus: Investments, or equivalent
  • Financial Markets and Institutions - Mishkin, Matthews and Guiliodori: Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets, Pearson or equivalent 
  • Mathematics - Sydsaeter, Hammond and Strom: Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, or equivalent
  • Business Statistics - Berenson, Levine, Szabat: Basic Business Statistics, Pearson, or equivalent
  • Programming - At least 6ec training and experience in a programming language (e.g., MatLab, Python, R, C++)

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 score speaking 6,5
  • Minimum score listening 6,5
  • Minimum score writing 6,0
  • Minimum score reading 6,0

TOEFL:

  • Internet based test 92-93 

Cambridge English:

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

TOEFL ITP:
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.

In general, students are required to complete their Bachelor’s programme before they are allowed to enroll in a Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘Bachelor-before-Master rule’. However, due to worldwide corona measures, some students might face delays with their graduation. 

For academic year 2020-2021 only, Dutch universities can make an exception to the ‘Bachelor-before-Master rule’.

In accordance with the agreements made with the Dutch government, VU has developed guidelines for the so-called “zachte knip” (soft cut, i.e. transferring from Bachelor to Master programme without completing the Bachelor). Based on these guidelines, the following requirements have been set for students with an EU/EEA nationality currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme*: 

Students are allowed to miss a total of 18 EC of their Bachelor degree programme, provided that: 

a)  The student has completed his/her Bachelor thesis (if a thesis was not part of your degree programme, courses in research methodology have to have been completed instead).

b)  The general qualitative entry requirements for the specific programme have been met (as stipulated for other academic degree holders), rather than specific courses (as is now the case for our own Bachelor students). 

Requests for exemptions can be submitted via the usual procedures (Examinations Board). 

The remaining EC (18 or less) need to be completed before 1 September 2021. If not, students will not be able to apply for their Master graduation or re-enroll in the Master. We have opted for a maximum of 18 missing EC, as it is considered unlikely for students to have a reasonable chance of completing their Master programme with more missing EC. Even with 18 EC missing, this is already challenging, especially for international students. Students that enroll through the ‘soft cut’ will therefore be proactively invited by the academic advisors to discuss their situation and offer their assistance. 

For questions about the ‘soft cut’ for international students, please contact your International Student Advisors on masters.sbe@vu.nl.   

* For students with a non-EU/EEA nationality, the general rules still apply. 


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
  • 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
Marita Visser
Marita Visser
Tel +31 20 59 87325


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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