Why a master's degree

at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Why choose VU Amsterdam

VU Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university. With more than 23,000 students, we conduct cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. VU Amsterdam distinguishes itself in research and education through four major themes reflecting its strong level of involvement in current societal issues: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student this will help you look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, to engage with society and to seek tangible solutions for a better world. We ask and expect our students, researchers, PhD candidates and employees to look further; to look beyond the boundaries of their own fields, cultures, traditions and philosophies to become critical and socially engaged academics.

VU stands for Vrije Universiteit. VU Amsterdam was the first university in the Netherlands established in 1880 by Abraham Kuyper, with no interference from the church or the state. This heritage is still very much part of who we are. From the very beginning, the university has determined its own areas of research, created its own study programmes and practised its own didactic methods. The teaching style can be described as student-centered: we stimulate students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. VU Amsterdam is open to all cultures, nationalities and religions.

With more than 120 Master’s degree programmes, VU Amsterdam offers a wide choice of study options. We are listed among the world’s top universities in various rankings. You work in relatively small teaching groups, in which considerable emphasis is placed on interaction and a personal approach. The teaching is well organized. This is reflected for instance, in the clear structure of the study programs.

VU Amsterdam is fully recognized by the Dutch Ministry of Education as a research university. All bachelor's and master's degree programmes at VU Amsterdam are either accredited by or in the process of being accredited by NVAO, the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders. This body was established by international treaty and guarantees the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium through the accreditation of study programs. 

Logo NVao

Eleven faculties share a single campus and cover a wide spectrum of arts, sciences and medicine. As a result, in the course of your studies, it is very easy to familiarize yourself with other disciplines. The Zuidas is one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands, with student housing just a five-minute bike ride away.

At VU Amsterdam we find it important that you can study successfully during your time as a student. However, you may sometimes have questions, directly or indirectly related to your studies, which could affect your academic progress. At VU Amsterdam there are various student counselors who provide advice and guidance.

You can contact your programme or faculty’s academic advisor for questions about the curriculum, personal study guidance and study advice. The academic advisor could for example help you with questions about study skills problems or study delay. Also, if you have a disability (e.g. dyslexia or a (chronic) illness), you can approach your academic advisor for advice and to arrange any special facilities you may need.

The student counsellor provides support, advice and information about matters not directly related to the content of your degree programme, e.g. student financing and DUO- regulations; requests for financial assistance; applications for private bursaries; financial difficulties; combining study with elite sport or outstanding performance in another field; early unenrolment and/or discontinuing your studies; urgent accommodation issues and personal matters.

Contact the student psychological counsellors if you are experiencing a lack of motivation, fear of failure, a tendency to procrastinate or other psychological issues. They also organize workshops and training courses.

Specific guidance

  • The programme STUDENTS-4-STUDENTS@VU offers you the opportunity to pair up with a study partner who can support you if you are finding it hard to settle in at VU Amsterdam or if you need advice from someone with a little more experience. 
  • Peer Support / Studying Together gives you the opportunity to meet other students to study together at the VU Amsterdam or somewhere else.
  • Parents & Children provides advice, support and motivation for mothers, fathers and parents-to-be.
  • Student Carers is there when you worry about and/or take care of a sick family member. You can approach your programme’s academic advisor and/or student psychological counsellor for guidance and advice.

Studying with a disability

At VU Amsterdam, we feel that everyone should be empowered to learn, and we provide assistance to students with disabilities to help them get the most out of themselves and their time studying with us. In this context, a disability means a physical handicap, (chronic) illness, dyslexia or mental disability.

You can approach your academic advisor for advice and the arrangement of any special facilities you may need, such as extra examination time; locker; laptop; parking pass; access to the quiet zone; usage of the storage room; wheelchair facilities in lecture halls or access to lifts and buildings.

Specific guidance and counseling is available for students with ASD.

Vu Amsterdam offers an international study environment. A quarter of all students in our English-taught programmes comes from abroad; Our International Office offers excellent services and assists international student with housing, visa, residence permits (if applicable) and other practicalities relating to studying in the Netherlands.

Did you know that

• Amsterdam is the city with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands?

• Amsterdam has approximately 800,000 inhabitants?

• Amsterdam has 165 canals?

• There are more bikes in Amsterdam (881,000), than permanent residents?

• According to Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living Ranking, Amsterdam is ranked 11th worldwide, ahead of London (39th) and New York (44th)?

• Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in the world?

• English is widely spoken in the Netherlands?

VU Amsterdam is readily accessible by public transport. Schiphol Airport is only eight minutes away by train. Amsterdam Zuid Station is within walking distance of VU Amsterdam. There is also a rapid tram connection to Amsterdam Central Station or Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station, with a journey time of just sixteen minutes. VU Amsterdam is also easy to reach by car, being situated close to Amsterdam’s ring road.