Law and Politics of International Security

Develop a broad view of international security

Security in a changing world

This one-year Master's programme aims at transferring to students the knowledge, skills and insight necessary to operate as a professional or academic researcher in the area of international peace of security. Issues of international peace and security are becoming increasingly important in legal, political and administrative practice. The concept of ‘international security’ is no longer confined to traditional issues of war and peace, but now also covers topics such as terrorism, criminal law, the protection of human rights and ‘human security’.

Develop a broad view of international security

The programme is based on the assumption that international law cannot be properly understood outside its political context, whereas contemporary international politics cannot be fully grasped without a solid knowledge of international legal institutions. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to the rapidly changing field of international peace and security. It includes topics such as the United Nations system of collective security, the transformation of war (including catastrophic terrorism and other forms of political violence), human rights protection, the development of international criminal tribunals and humanitarian law.

The programme has three basic characteristics:

  • a multidisciplinary approach, combining international law and international relations;
  • a thematic focus on international security;
  • an interactive and international academic community where staff and students are engaged in research and the development of knowledge.

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Research

There is a close link between this multidisciplinary master's programme and research at the Centre for Politics of Transnational Law.

The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is an interdisciplinary, one-year programme that is offered jointly by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Sciences.

In addition to lectures and seminars, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of all sorts of interesting activities that are organized regularly, such as guest lectures, conferences and excursions. Field trips to international organizations and international tribunals are an integral part of the programme. You will be encouraged to participate in extra-colloquial seminars with experts and practitioners in the field of international peace and security. The programme is taught entirely in English and consists of:

  • Four compulsory courses
  • Two elective courses
  • A Master’s thesis

If you do not have sufficient background in International Relations Theory or Public International Law, then we strongly recommend selecting these two courses as electives. 

PROGRAMME

The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security offers a curriculum that focuses on international security from the perspectives of international law and international relations. Moreover, it provides insight into the common foundations of the two disciplines, the different methods and theories as well as the interplay between the two in the area of international security. Below you will find a couple of examples of topics that are covered in the programme.

Civil wars and terrorism
The laws of armed conflict have been made by nations for nations. However, most armed conflicts these days are no longer inter-state wars but civil wars or armed repression of international terrorism. How can the laws of armed conflict be applied to these struggles?

The United Nations and humanitarian interventions
To what extent is the collective security system established under the UN Charter effective? Should the rules and principles governing the conduct of war be reconsidered in the light of new types of conflicts as they are taking place today? How should the international community deal with genocide or gross human rights violations?

Other subjects:
  • Historical doctrines and theories of war 
  • UN system of collective security 
  • Role and powers of the Security Council 
  • The changing nature of war 
  • Legal constraints on warfare 
  • Principles and limits of humanitarian law 
  • International terrorism 
  • Counter-terrorism, human rights and humanitarian law 
  • Security dilemma 
  • Arms control and disarmament 
  • Building of security communities 
  • Democratic politics and war 
  • Democratization processes and conflict 
  • Human security


      
Calendar

Credits and title 
Credits are listed according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This system is based on student workload, which includes hours spent in class, studying, writing papers and completing assignments. A full academic year is equivalent to 60 EC, one semester to 30 EC. The degree of Master in Law (LLM) is conferred upon students who satisfactorily achieve a minimum of 60 credits.   
 
Schedule
The regular academic year in the Netherlands runs from September through June and is divided into a semester system. July and August are holiday months. Remember that all schedules are subject to change!

Law and Politics of International Security courses in the study guide.

Earning a Master’s degree in Law and Politics of International Security means you will have a unique interdisciplinary qualification. Your knowledge of international public and humanitarian law will qualify you for a career in one of the many fields where the concept of security is most significant. At the same time, your analytical skills and understanding of international politics will make you uniquely qualified to find solutions to complex problems.

Graduates from the programme have found positions in the broad field of international security, such as:
  • Ministries
  • Parliament
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (incl. Transparency International, Global Witness, Oxfam Novib)
  • International Organizations (OSCE; United Nations; European Union)
  • Private Security Firms (e.g. Legal Advisor for Maritime Security Provider)
  • Law firms
  • A court („judge in training“ / „rechterlijk ambtenaar in opleiding”)
  • Universities (PhD positions at the European University Institute at Florence and the universities of Aarhus, Berlin, Prague, Westminster, Duisburg-Essen, Amsterdam)
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross

Facebook and LinkedIn
Former and current students have created a Facebook group and a LinkedIn group for exchanging news, experiences and professional opportunities. Here you can see what students and alumni are up to.  

International
The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security brings together a select group of international students who share a keen interest in international law and international politics. It has attracted students from all over the world, including students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Uganda and the United States. If you enjoy discussing international security in a truly international environment, then this is the ideal programme for you. Because of the limited number of students admitted each year, you will get to know your peers from many different countries very well.

Small-scale
Compulsory courses are delivered in a seminar-like format to classes composed of a limited number of students and have an interactive character. Students are expected to actively contribute to the discussions, to elaborate and present their personal views, to write assignments on specific topics and to make oral presentations.

Research-oriented
Research is emphasized throughout the programme. You will be introduced to different methodologies for carrying out independent research. Your Master’s thesis will give you the opportunity to really go in-depth in examining an international security topic that is of particular interest to you. Research is combined with practical activities and exercises such as role-playing and moot courts. You will be encouraged to become a member of the editorial board of the journal Amsterdam Law Forum.

Interdisciplinary
Contemporary issues in international security are impossible to understand without a solid understanding of both international law and international politics. This is why only an interdisciplinary programme is suitable for providing future analysts and practitioners with the skills needed to work successfully in today’s security environment. The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is unique in offering an interdisciplinary approach, taught by staff from the departments of international law, political science and criminology.

Experienced lecturers
Lecturers are primarily drawn from the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences of the VU Amsterdam. International scholars, senior professional and recognized experts in the field of security participate both as regular lecturers and as guest lecturers.

Unique location
VU Amsterdam benefits from its unique location, right in an international city in the heart of Europe and a few miles from The Hague, where the Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and many international courts and tribunals are located.   

Ingrid Johansen

Student

Ingrid Johansen

"You study armed conflicts both from an international relations angle and an international law angle. That's what makes the programme so interesting."

Overview Law & Politics of International Security

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April for students from outside the EU. 1 June for all other students.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

 

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Behavioural and Social Sciences

The Master's programme offers a curriculum that focuses on international security from the perspectives of international law (especially conflict and security law) and international relations (especially security and conflict studies). Moreover, it provides insight in the common foundations of the two disciplines, the different methods and theories of both disciplines as well as the interplay between international law and international politics in the area of international security. 

Contemporary international security is characterized by new threats and problems that are becoming ever more complex. This is why we offer an interdisciplinary programme that provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to understand current challenges to international security and to work as a professional in this field. The programme takes a clear, interdisciplinary approach: it combines knowledge and modes of thinking from international law and politics with a view to advancing understanding of security issues in ways that would not be possible when taking a mono-disciplinary approach. 

New wars 
The armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Western Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the war on terror do not follow the same inner logic as the wars of the 20th century. The failure to understand the different objectives of the warring parties and the economics of war have often rendered the international community’s response fruitless. We discuss the differences between ‘new’ and ‘old’ wars as well as the consequences for peacemaking and consolidation. 

Private military companies 
Private Military Companies not only assist many national militaries in armed conflicts; they also frequently have an impact on which side wins and the conditions for ending the conflict. The rise of Private Military Companies as important actors in armed conflicts around the world cannot be understood without knowledge of international humanitarian law on the one hand, and the interaction between democratic politics and international conflict on the other. As a consequence, any attempt to regulate the activities of Private Military Companies requires a profound insight into political as well as legal complications and options.

The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is an integral part of a vibrant research community at VU Amsterdam. We bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Regular workshops, guest lectures and staff presentations will provide you with opportunities to gain insights into cutting-edge research on international security.
      
There is a close link between this multidisciplinary Master's programme and research at the Centre for Politics of Transnational Law.

At VU Amsterdam we regularly organize interesting activities for our students, like guest lectures, conferences and excursions. 

Upcoming and past guest lectures

  • Alumni Day 2016 with former Minister of Defense, Eimert van Middelkoop, 9 April 2016. 
  • Prospects and limits of international law in times of conflict. The International Criminal Court and beyond. Special Lecture by Professor Beth Simmons (Harvard University), 26 September 2014 (watch the lecture and the subsequent discussion with students on Youtube). 
  • Alumni Day 2015 with keynote speaker Prof. Ciaran Burke (Jena University), 20 April 2015.  European Security Policy in the Age of Drones, lecture by Ana Juncos (University of Bristol), 9 September 2014.    
  • Workshop on elections in post-war societies with Prof. Matthijs Bogaards (University of Bremen) and Manuel Vogt (ETH Zürich) on Friday, October 12, 2012.
  • Inaugural lecture to the 2012-13 academic year by Professor Carlo Focarelli (University of Perugia) on Cyberwar on Tuesday 18 September 2012.
  • Alumni Day Lecture “Global security: can we escape the madness of sanity?” by Prof. Ken Booth (Aberystwyth University) on 20 April 2012 at 4 PM in the Atrium.
  • Seminar on Climate Change and Conflict with Prof. Halvard Buhaug (Peace Research Institute Oslo), Prof. Wolfgang Wagner (VU Amsterdam) and Dr. Laurens Bouwer (VU Amsterdam) on 19 March 2012 at 2 PM in the Aurora Room, Main Building.
  • The International Use of Force: Regulation through Constitutionalization? Inaugural lecture to the 2011-12 academic year by Professor Lothar Brock (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main) Monday 19 September 2011, 4 PM in the Aurora (Main Building).
  • "The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law: Recent Developments", inaugural Lecture 2010-2011 by Professor Robert Kolb (University of Geneva) on Thursday 9 September 2010, Room 2D-16 at 3.30 PM. The lecture will be followed by an informal reception.
  • "The Rise and Fall of Universal Jurisdiction", guest lecture by Luc Reydams, Associate Professor at Notre Dame University (United States) on Wednesday 24 February 2010, Room D1-05 at 2 PM.
  • “Shaping U.S. Foreign Policy in Time of Crises”, guest lecture by Michael Scharf, professor at Case Western Reserve University Law School, 16 December 2009.
  • “The Security Council, the Security Imperatives and International Law”, Master Inaugural lecture by Nigel D. White, Professor of International Law at the University of Nottingham, 10 September 2009.

Conferences

 

  • Conference “Liberal Internationalism and European Security: Challenges and Contradictions” with, among others, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, former EU special Representative Pieter Feith, Prof. Mary Kaldor, Prof. Roger MacGinty, Prof. Valsamis Mitsilegas, October 19/20 2015. 
  • Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation on International Security, Dutch Parliament, 21 November 2014 with Simon Lunn (former Secretary General to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly), Michiel Servaes (MP), Anna Herranz-Surralles (University of Maastricht). 
  • Piracy and Counter-Piracy, 20 February 2014 with, among others, Ursula Daxecker (University of Amsterdam) and Freek Marchal (alumnus of the program and legal advisor at the Netherlands Maritime Headquarters)  
  • Necessity Across International Law, Amsterdam, 24-25 April 2009. Main speakers: Prof. M. Fizmaurice, Prof. G. Venturini, Prof. Koutrakos, Prof. Reinisch, Prof. Qureshi, Dr, Tsagourias. Papers to be published in 41 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law (2010).
  • Visit to the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on January 29th, 2010. 
  • Excursion to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Dutch Foreign Office, The Hague, 10 November 2009.    

Competitions

Frits Kalshoven Competition
Three students attending International humanitarian law will represent VU Amsterdam at the Frits Kalshoven Competition. The competition is organized every year in The Hague by the Dutch Red Cross, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the T.M.C. Asser Institute, and the Ministry of Defense of The Netherlands. It is and aims to be a practical experience of the application of international humanitarian law in various situations of an imaginary armed conflict and includes a moot court competition. Teams representing Dutch universities – including VU Amsterdam – take part in the competition.
More information on the competition

Frits Kalshoven Competition 2010:

Kalshoven1 Kalshoven2 Kalshoven3

Kalshoven4 Kalshoven5

Amsterdam Law Forum 

Students enrolled in the Master's programme can join the editorial board of the VU Amsterdam international and European law journal, the students-run online journal of the Faculty of Law. 
More information on the Amsterdam Law Forum 

Below you find answers to frequently asked questions from international and national students. 

Non-pertinent academic background (other than law, psychology, sociology, political sciences)
Q: I have a non-pertinent background, but do have a Bachelor’s degree. Is there a chance to be admitted? 
A: In case of students with a non-pertinent academic background, we are looking for indications that they are really motivated and able to do the program. Such indications include the motivation letter but also possible extracurricular activities, internships and the like. Also, if you lack a pertinent background, you should score very well on other pertinent indicators such as grades, TOEFL, reference letters. 

HBO (university of Applied Sciences) students 
Q: Can I apply for this programme with an HBO diploma? 
A: No, only students with a Bachelor's degree from a research university can be considered. 

Q: Can my application be considered with a relevant pre-Master’s programme? 
A: Yes, but the chances of admission are very small. Only if you have excellent results and considerable experience in the field, your application will be considered. Note that every year there are more applicants than there are places available. The admission board gives preference to students with a Bachelor’s degree from a research university. The faculty does not offer pre-Master’s programmes for this specific Master’s programme. 

English proficiency 
Q: My Bachelor's/Master's programme was taught in English / I have obtained an IB-certificate (International Baccalaureate) – do I still have to hand in an English test result? 
A: No, not if your Bachelor's/Master's programme was taught in the EU or an English speaking country outside the EU or if you have obtained an English IB-certificate.

Q: I have not yet done an English proficiency test. Can I apply without the test result? 
A: Yes you can. You will have to hand in a test result that meets the minimum before 1st of September.

Q: I have completed part of my Bachelor studies in English (e.g. I’ve been on an exchange programme that was taught in English). Do I still have to hand in an English proficiency test result? 
A: Yes, unless your entire Bachelor's/Master's programme was taught in English, you still have to include an English proficiency test result. Also, applicants who have obtained an English IB-certificate (International Baccalaureate) do not have to hand in the results of an English proficiency test. Please note that this explanation is not applicable to international students who have obtained one of their degrees (Master's / Bachelor's / IB-certificate) in English, in a non-EU, non-English speaking country. If this is your case, please contact your International Student Advisor.

Original (hard copy) documents 
Q: Do I have to send original documents per postal mail? 
A: Not for the initial application. If you get admitted based on the digitally uploaded documents, we will inform you about which original documents we will need you to send and by when.

Part-time 
Q: Is it possible to study for a Master course part time? 
A: No. The programme is clearly designed for full time students. In almost all courses, attendance is expected. 

Deadlines 
Q: What are the application deadlines? 
A: For non-EU students: 1st of April, for EU (including NL students): 1st of June. Please note though that we strongly advise an early application as only a limited number of places are available for which we will start admitting people from mid November. Starting from April the competition for the last available slots will be high.

Required Grade Average 
Q: Can I apply when my overall grade average is lower than the set minimum? 
A: A lower grade average does lower your chances of being accepted but with a relevant background and excellent motivation, admission is still possible. 

Tuition Fees 
Q: I have a question about tuition fees, where can I find the answer? 
A: Please check this website. If you cannot find the answer here, please contact the Central Student Desk

If  you did not find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us. 

Student experiences

040 Eva Entenmann

"Coming from a background in international relations, the Law and Politics of International Security Master's programme was the ideal way to build on my political science knowledge and to explore a field completely new to me: international law. While I thoroughly enjoyed learning new theories, it was especially the way the programme is taught, which made it stand out for me. The focus is on critical thinking and understanding how law, politics and security are not separate spheres, but all influence each other. At the same time, the programme was flexible enough for me to discover and pursue my own interests through electives and the final thesis. The professors were incredibly engaged and constantly encouraged us to think outside the box and apply what we learnt through case studies, discussions and a moot court. Since completing the course, I have undertaken an internship in international criminal law and am currently doing research work."

Eva Entenmann, former Law and Politics of International Security student

040 Freek Marchal

"I took part in the programme as an officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy and even as an active military employee, I felt the content of the courses were ever relevant to my work. I have worked for the navy ever since and I will be assigned a post as Legal Advisor to the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Maritime Forces as of January 2013. This means working in an environment where legal knowledge and political insight into complex international matters is required. The programme as well as the many possibilities we got to participate in extra curricular activities (such as seminars, competitions like Kalshoven/WorldMUN/SIMOTAN, excursions to NATO Headquarters, etc), prepare you for responsible jobs like this in a professional way."

Freek Marchal, former Law and Politics of International Security student

040 Sofie Dreef"A year and a half after graduating from the Master's programme, I can say the programme is of a very high standard. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in international affairs who is not only keen to gain new knowledge and insights but also to develop skills such as critical thinking, writing and debating. After I finished my courses, I did a fulltime internship at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs which gave me the opportunity to put my newly gained knowledge into practice. Writing my thesis was probably the most challenging, but also the most enjoyable part of the programme. It allows you to explore a topic of your interest in-depth and become an expert in the field. I was so proud when I handed in my final version! My supervisor was equally enthusiastic and together we have successfully applied for a research grant. I am currently finishing up my second Master's programme at the London School of Economics, but I will be back at VU Amsterdam in September. This time not as a student, but as a researcher!"

Sofie Dreef, former Law and Politics of International Security student

Amina Ndifi

"As a German lawyer with professional experience in the field of development cooperation, the Law and Politics of International Security Master's programme was the perfect contribution to both my theoretical and practical background. On the one hand, I could deepen and extend my knowledge about international law, and on the other hand, I could fill the gap in regard to contemporary international politics and its underlying theoretical background. Throughout the programme I discovered my strong interest for International Humanitarian Law - and luckily was able to participate in the 'Frits Kalshoven Competition on IHL', promoted by the Faculty of Law and organised by the Netherlands Red Cross. As a logical consequence for me, I finalised the programme by writing my thesis on a topic related to the International Committee of the Red Cross. After having completed the programme, I directly entered a position in the field of development cooperation, and am currently working as a Project Manager for EU funded legal reform projects all over the world."

Amina Nfidi, former Law and Politics of International Security student

Dutch students

The Master's programme Law and Politics of International Security is open to both Dutch as well as international students. This Master's programme is selective, meaning that all applicants (including Bachelor students of VU Amsterdam) need to apply by uploading additional application documents (see below: applicable application procedure). The Master's programme Law and Politics of International Security is open to a limited number of students only. The Admission Board of this Master's programme will make a merit based selection of students. 

The admission requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree in Law, Social Sciences or Liberal Arts, and a basic knowledge of international law or international relations theory.
  • Applicants who do not meet the abovementioned requirement(s) are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background and considerable experience in the field of Law, Social Sciences or Liberal Arts.
  • Language proficiency requirements: VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. For Dutch students or students already residing in the Netherlands it’s possible to take the institutional TOEFL test that the VU Amsterdam offers. Please read our FAQ for detailed information about possible waivers.

Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this LLM programme and their application could result in a rejection. The Faculty of Law does not offer any pre-Master's programmes. 

The Admission Board will need to receive your complete file at all times in order to maintain a good overview of all applicants and to be able to make a good comparison between applicants. In addition, when in doubt the Admission Board can factor the other documents in the application to make a final decision. Incomplete files and files handed in after the deadline cannot be taken into consideration. 

Criteria for selection  
The main focus of selection will be on GPA or an overall grade average. Students should at least have a B+ or 7.8 as an overall average or a GPA of at least 3.25.

Other factors which will be taken into account in addition to the GPA:
- A student's level of interdisciplinarity
- Mark and content of the bachelor or master thesis
- Relevant extra-curricular activities (e.g. internship and (voluntary) work)
- General impression of the candidate based on shown interest in international law, politics and security; letter of motivation; letter(s) of recommendation, and proof of academic writing

Application procedure and deadlines 

For both Dutch and international students it is possible to send in applications from as early as mid-November. The LPIS Admission Board starts reviewing applications and accepting students in February. As this is an interdisciplinary Master with a limited number of students, the admission committee pays special attention to the heterogeneity of the cohort. An overall balance in terms of disciplinary and geographical origins is a specific consideration for selection. In order to achieve this balance, the committee can decide to put their decision on a specific application on hold.

The deadlines for application are:

 

1 April for students from outside the EU.
1 June
for all other students. Please note: in case international students would like to apply for a university housing, we cannot guarantee this housing if the application to the IBL Master's programme is made after 1 April.

Please note that the deadline for applying for the VU Fellowship scholarship programme is usually set to 1 March. If you wish to apply for the scholarship, both the scholarship application and the application for the programme should be completed simultaneously.

If you have any questions regarding the application for this Master's programme, please read our FAQ or find our contact information below.

If you have an international (non-Dutch) degree, please scroll down to 'international students' for information about the application procedure.
If you have a Dutch degree, the following application procedure applies to you:

The Admission Board starts reviewing applications and accepting students in January, and continues to do so until all available places are filled. Therefore, early application is strongly advised. Please note that all documents should be in English.

Step 1 - Register via Studielink

First of all students will need to register through Studielink. You can find more information on (re-)registration here and on the payment of tuition fees here. The deadline for registration through Studielink is set to 1 June. Please note that registration through Studielink on time is mandatory in order to be registered at VU Amsterdam. If you are not registered at VU Amsterdam before the deadline of 1 June you cannot participate in the Master’s programme Law and Politics of International Security.

Step 2 – Upload your application documents onto VUnet before 1 June

After having completed you registration for the programme on Studielink you will be directed to VU Amsterdam's student portal VUnet via an email. On VUnet you can complete your application. As this concerns a selective Master's programme, you are asked to upload a number of documents that are required for us to make a decision on whether or not you can be admitted. We will need a complete application before we can start processing your application.

List of required documents: 
1. a certified copy of the appropriate academic degree in English or Dutch or if not yet graduated: a declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date (if available)

2. a certified transcript in English; if you have not yet completed your educational programme, please send temporary transcripts showing the grades you have received to date. In that case, please also send us a list of courses that are not on the temporary transcripts but that you will have to take to complete your programme 

3. a curriculum vitae; a curriculum vitae that includes your personal details and lists your previous education and relevant work experience; 

4. a one-page letter of motivation; a one-page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme. Also, if aplicable, please also specify in this letter, the name of the specialization you are applying for. 

5. a proof of academic writing: a maximum of three pages of a final paper or thesis for the academic degree which has been obtained (or any other paper in English that has been written for studies); 
If your previous curriculum did not include the writing of a thesis, any other representable piece of academic writing will serve as an alternative. 
If you have not written anything in English during your studies, you can write a 3-5 pages abstract of a piece of academic writing including bibliography, in English. Please note, we will always check application documents for plagiarism. 

6. letters of recommendation from two academic referees. If possible including the ranking position of the student (i.e. whether students belong to the top 1, 5, 10, 25 or 50% of the entire class); 
Digital copies, uploaded in VUnet are preferred. If referees prefer providing their references directly to the university, they can e-mail to admission.law@vu.nl

7. a proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge). An Institutional TOEFL test done via VU language centre is also accepted. Please check the admission requirements and our FAQ to see if any reasons for a possible waiver of this requirement may apply to you.

The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to a Master's programme at VU Amsterdam are:
•IELTS: 6.5 - please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one!
•TOEFL paper-based test: 580
•TOEFL Internet-based test: 92
•Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
•Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C
•Vu-test English-language proficiency: TOEFL ITP

For TOEFL and IELTS, the test must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts.
Be aware of the fact that it can take a long time before you get the results of the English tests, so plan your test in time! Please note that you have to hand in a test result that meets the minimum before September 1, but preferably sooner. There is no specific place to upload your English language test in VUnet, you can send a copy of the test score card per email to admission.law@vu.nl.

8. a copy of a passport

9. a copy of a residence permit (if applicable). 

10. optional: a course descriptions (list of most relevant courses that your bachelor studies consisted of); please note that the admission board may ask for this document at a later stage if its members consider this necessary for reviewing your application.

11. optional: a literature list or bibliography (list of most relevant books and articles used during your bachelor studies); please note that the admission board may ask for this document at a later stage if its members consider this necessary for reviewing your application.

No decisions on admission can be made by the Admission Board, until VU Amsterdam has received all your supporting documents within the deadline of 1 June (with the exception of a certified copy academic degree and proof of proficiency in English).

Questions about the programme 
If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact: 
Dr. T.E. (Tanja) Aalberts or 
Prof. dr. W. (Wolfgang) Wagner 

Questions on admission and application 
If you are a student with a Dutch degree and you have any questions on admission or application, please contact admission.law@vu.nl.

If you have an international degree, please contact our Admission Officer, ms. Laura Smit: admissionsfl@vu.nl

General questions 
If you have any general questions after reading the website, please contact our Communications department: info.law@vu.nl

International students


The Master's programme Law and Politics of International Security is open to open to a limited number of students only, both Dutch and international. Therefore, admission is based on a merit based selection procedure. 


Academic requirements

  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree in Law, Social Sciences or Liberal Arts, and a basic knowledge of international law or international relations theory.
  • Applicants who do not meet the above-mentioned requirement(s) are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background and considerable experience in the field of Law, Social Sciences or Liberal Arts.


Language requirements


VU Amsterdam requires applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. If you gain admission we need to receive the test results before June 1 if you are a non-EU student and before 31 August if you are an EU student. 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:

Name TestMinimum Score
IELTS (academic)Average score: 6.5
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL internet based92
Cambridge English Proficiency ExamA, B, C
Cambridge English Advanced ExamA, B, C

Please refer to our general application and language requirement page for international students, if you wish to find out whether there is any possible reasons for us to waive this requirements for you.


Criteria for selection
 

The selection will, in part, be based on GPA or an overall grade average. Students should at least have a B+ or 7.8 as an overall average or a GPA of at least 3.25/4.00.
However, as the number of qualified applicants exceeds the available places, satisfying the minimum grade standard does not guarantee admission. The following factors will also be taken into consideration:
•    The applicant’s ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary program;
•    The quality of the applicant’s written work (particularly a submitted bachelor or master thesis);
•    Relevant extracurricular activities, such as internships and (voluntary) work;
•    The applicant’s motivation and suitability to pursue a program focused on international law, politics, and security as evidenced by a motivation letter and letter(s) of recommendation.

The master is committed to maintaining a diverse student population. Therefore, admissions decisions will also take into account the gender balance, geographic spread, and study background (particularly, the ratio of students with a law and a politics/social science background) of the cohort.

Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this LLM programme and their application could result in a rejection. The Faculty of Law does not offer any pre-Master's programmes. 

It is possible to send in applications from as early as mid-November. Please do note, that the LPIS Admission Board starts reviewing applications and accepting students at the end of January and will have monthly meetings after that continuing until the end of June. 

As this is an interdisciplinary Master with a limited number of students, the admission committee pays special attention to the heterogeneity of the cohort. An overall balance in terms of disciplinary and geographical origins is a specific consideration for selection. In order to achieve this balance, the Committee can decide to put their decision on a specific application on hold (e.g. if they have received too many applications from people with a particular background). 


Online application

For the online application, international degree holders can follow the online application procedure for international students.


Documents

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the online application page for international students. All documents should be provided either in English or Dutch.
List of required documents:
1. a certified copy of the appropriate academic degree in English or Dutch or if not yet graduated: a declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date (if available);
2. a certified transcript in English of grades obtained;
3. a curriculum vitae;
4. a two or three pages letter of motivation, explaining your reasons for wanting to participate in this programme in relation to your academic background and your plans for the future;
5. a proof of academic writing: a maximum of three pages of a final paper or thesis for the academic degree which has been obtained (or any other paper in English that has been written for studies);
6. At least one letter of recommendation from an academic referee. If possible including the ranking position of the student (i.e. whether students belong to the top 1, 5, 10, 25 or 50% of the entire class);
7. a proof of proficiency in English as per listed above. An Institutional TOEFL test done via VU language centre is also accepted. Note, that this document can be supplied later. Deadlines were mentioned earlier.
8. a copy of your passport;
9. a copy of a residence permit (if available).


Deadlines

  • 1 April for students from outside the EU.
  • 1 June for all other students. Please note: if you, as an international student, apply after 1 April, we cannot guarantee accommodation for you.

The Admission Board will need to receive your complete file at all times in order to maintain a good overview of all applicants and to be able to make a good comparison between applicants. In addition, when in doubt the Admission Board can factor the other documents in the application to make a final decision. Incomplete files and files handed in after the deadline cannot be taken into consideration.

Await decision

The LPIS Admission Committee will have their first admission meeting at the end of January / beginning of February and will have monthly meetings after that continuing until the end of June. Your application will be discussed in the first scheduled meeting after we have processed your full application (and received the application fee). After this meeting you will receive one of the following results:
1. Negative decision;
2. Positive decision;
3. In consideration.

If your application ends up in the last category, you will receive a final decision either before the end of April if you've completed your application before 1 April, or before the end of June, if you've applied with a complete file after the first of April.


The admission schedule for academic year 2017/2018

Application before 1 Feb> result in week 7
Application before 1 March > result in week  10
Application before 1 April > result in week 15

Final decisions (for pre-April applications ‘in consideration’): week 15

Application before 1 May > result in week 19
Application before 1 June > result in week 23

Final decisions (for post-April applications ‘in consideration’: week 26


Finalize registration
If you’ve been admitted you can follow the steps on the what to do after admission page on the admission and language requirement page.

In case you are unsure on what to do, always feel free to contact Ms. Laura Smit, your international student advisor: admissionsfl@vu.nl.


VU Amsterdam offers various scholarships to international Master's students.

Do keep in mind that if you want to apply for a scholarship, you need to do so before before 1 February.

Visa/Residence permit

Students from non-EU/EEA and Visa required countries who will stay for a period longer than 3 months, are required to obtain a permit for temporary stay (MVV- Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) in order to enter the Netherlands. The university applies for this visa by a so-called ‘accelerated visa procedure’. Students can not apply for a MVV themselves.  

More information on the application for your residence permit 

Insurance

Before you come to the Netherlands, you should inquire whether your current health insurance will suffice in the Netherlands or if you need a supplementary cover. If you are insured with your own company for your stay in the Netherlands, take a proof with you that you are.  

More information on insurances

Contact a student ambassador

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 on the webpage below. Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Information for international students > International degree holders > Contact our student ambassadors 

Questions about the programme 
If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact: 
Dr. T.E. (Tanja) Aalberts or 
Prof. dr. W. (Wolfgang) Wagner 

Questions on admission and application 
If you are a student with a Dutch degree and you have any questions on admission or application, please contact toelatingscommissie.rechten@vu.nl.

If you have an international degree, please contact our Admission Officer, ms. Laura Smit: masters.law@vu.nl

General questions 
If you have any general questions after reading the website, please contact our Communications department: info.law@vu.nl

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