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Unravel our planet’s past, present and future

Do you want to study the natural processes and cycles of the Earth’s system within and between rock, soil, water, living things and air?

Then the Master Earth Sciences is definitely for you. Check wether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

Admission requirements and application

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) bachelor’s degree (VU bachelor's degree, VU premaster or bachelor's degree at another university)

    The Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will 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 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.

    Specific admission requirements for the MSc Earth Sciences programme:

    For VU Bachelor’s degree students
    Students with a Bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences from VU will receive direct admission to the Master's programme in Earth Sciences, specializations Geology and Geochemistry and Earth Surface Processes and Records. Students with a Bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences and Economics (‘Aarde en economie’) from VU will receive direct admission to the Master's programme in Earth Sciences, specializations Earth Sciences and Economics (no further requirements) and Earth Surface Processes and Records (when certain subjects form the minor Earth Surface have been chosen). Students with a BSc-degree Earth Sciences will be admitted to the following Master’s *specialisations according to the Variant which was followed in the Bachelor’s programme:

    • Geology and Geochemistry : BSc variant I;
    • Earth Surface Processes Climate and Records: BSc variant I & II;
    • Earth Sciences and Economics: BSc variant I & II, with extra required subjects in Spatial Economics (contact the master coordinator);

    *After finishing the first year of one of the 6 Earth Sciences specializations, you can choose the differentiation Science Communication.
    *After finishing the first year of one of the 6 Earth Sciences specializations and provided you have taken Sociale geografie I and, preferably, 12 ECTS of "Oriëntatie-CE"- courses, you can choose the differentiation Science Education.

    Students who do not receive direct admission to a certain Master's specialization, because their BSc variant is not entirely appropriate for this specialization, may still be admitted by a decision to that effect taken by the Admission Board. The Admission Board will, in such cases, place additional requirements on the student before granting admission to the Master's programme.

    Language requirements
    VU Amsterdam requires international students and students with a HBO degree to pass an English language proficiency test. This requirement can be met if no longer than two years before the start of the programme the applicant has successfully completed one of the following examinations with the minimum scores indicated:

    -    IELTS (Academic): 6.5 (due to Covid-19 the IELTS Indicator will also be accepted for admissions in 2020)
    -    TOEFL paper based test: 580
    -    TOEFL internet based test: 92
    -    VU TOEFL ITP: 580
    -    Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
    -    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C

    Exceptions are made for students who:
    -    have obtained a Dutch vwo-diploma including English, or an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma
    -    have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university,
    -    have completed previous education in Canada, Ireland, UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand.

    Please refer to the Language Requirements webpage for the general requirements regarding language proficiency.  Copies of your English test results can be uploaded in VUnet or sent to the following address: toelating.beta@vu.nl.

  • I have a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO) bachelor’s degree (pre-Master's programme)


    Students who hold a certificate of University of Applied Sciences (HBO) or an equivalent of a VU BSc degree obtained at an institution inside or outside of the Netherlands may be admitted to the Master's programme in Earth Sciences on the basis of a decision to that effect taken by the Admission Board. The Examination Board will determine whether the qualification in question is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The Admission Board may place additional requirements on the student before granting admission to the programme.

    Students with a HBO degree, must take an English Language Test. Students who have completed pre-university secondary education (VWO) with English in the package, are exempt. Earth Sciences doesn't have a pre- Master's programme.

  • I have an international degree

    The Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will 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 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score.


    Specific admission requirements for the MSc Earth Sciences programme:

    Students who hold a certificate of University of Applied Sciences (HBO) or an equivalent of a VU Amsterdam BSc degree obtained at an institution inside or outside of the Netherlands may be admitted to the Master's programme in Earth Sciences on the basis of a decision to that effect taken by the Admission Board. The Examination Board will determine whether the qualification in question is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The Admission Board may place additional requirements on the student before granting admission to the programme.

    For the specialisation in Global Environmental Change and Policy, the following admission requirements apply:

    Academic results
    Bachelor degree at university level (preferably interdisciplinary) containing:
    - at least 6 ec in Earth Sciences at level 300
    - at least 6 ec in Environmental Sciences or Sustainability Sciences at level 100

    Basic Knowledge or affinity with environmental topics:
    - previous study programme, course work, thesis
    - relevant work experience (can include volunteer work)

    General English language proficiency requirements
    VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can, however, begin your application without having the test results. Exceptions are made for students who have completed a bachelor or master in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

    The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to this master programme are:

    • IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall
    • TOEFL Internet-based test: 92 overall
    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C


    Please note that students who need a study visa must submit their English test results before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate before 31 August (preferably sooner).

    TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Note that TOEFL MyBestScore is not accepted. Our institution code is 7947.

    A PDF copy of your English test result can be sent to the following email (for non-Dutch degree holders): masters.fs@vu.nl
    The general requirements regarding language proficiency are found here.

  • Application

    Enthusiastic about this programme? And do you meet the admission requirements? Find out how to apply.

    If you want to apply for a Master's programme at VU Amsterdam, the application procedure depends on your previous degree(s) and whether you obtained your diploma in the Netherlands or abroad. You find all information about the application procedure with a Dutch or international degree on the application page.

    The application deadlines are:

    The application deadlines are:

    • 1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships 
    • 1 April for non-EU/EEA students*
    • 1 June for non-Dutch EU/EEA students
    • 1 June for holders of a Dutch bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality)

    *non-EU/EEA students who do not need a study visa and/or a residence permit can still apply until 1 June


    Are you applying with an international degree?
    This Master’s programme requires the following documents to upload in VUnet for international degree holders: 

    • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Letter of Motivation
    • Transcript (Provide a certified translation if it is not in English)
    • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
    • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education
    • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)   

    You can find more information about the required documents on the application page (see Required documents). Once you have completed the application, our International Student Advisors will contact you via email.

    Further information for international students about

Want to know more?

Don't hesitate to contact us!

Are you applying with a Dutch diploma? You can contact the Educational Office of the Faculty of Science for questions and practical information: toelating.beta@vu.nl

Are you applying with a non-Dutch diploma? You can contact the International Student Advisors of the Faculty of Science - Marija Bosnić, Sandra van Daalen and Jasper Oosterveld: masters.fs@vu.nl

International students are also welcome to call the International Student Advisors of the Faculty of Science: Marija: +31 20 598 5409, Sandra: +31 20 598 7459 and Jasper: +31 20 598 6104

Do you have any other questions?

Send an email to contact@vu.nl

Call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00)

Or send a Whatsapp message to +31682548367