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Ecology: where Science meets Sustainability

Like to study ecology from a plant, animal, fungal, bacterial and systems perspective?

If so, the Master Ecology is definitely for you. Check whether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

Check whether you meet the programme requirements and apply

  • Coronavirus: additional information admission

    IMPORTANT: CORONA VIRUS UPDATE

    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.

    There has been examined how an exception to this BSc-before-MSc rule can be made possible for Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam. This means that, under certain conditions, students who are lacking credits for no more than a few courses including their bachelor project, will still be able to start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. This is a one-off measure. The missing credits must be completed during the 2021-2022 academic year, in other words no later than August 31 2022. Please read carefully below which rules apply for admission into this Master’s programme.

    The following rules apply this year for admission into this Master’s programme:

    Target group

    Number of EC at least achieved / % EC achieved


    Bachelor students at a Dutch University (incl. VU)150 EC
    Current premaster students24 EC
    HBO bachelor students210 EC

    Please note that, apart from the rules above, the following passages are still applicable and must be met to be considered for admission into the Master’s programme:

    • Admission criteria / requirements that are not EC related
    • English language proficiency requirements

    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. 

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

    Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide on 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.

    In general, you can be admitted to the master’s programme Ecology if you have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in The Netherlands. Students who are selected of the Double Degree programme, are also directly admissible to the programme. 
    Furthermore, admission is provided to VU students with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, Health and Life Sciences or Earth Sciences, with an examination programme that should minimally include at least the following components:

    • Minor Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (30 EC)  or equivalent
    • Sufficient statistical knowledge (i.e. 12 EC)

    Dutch Bachelor’s degree in another subject 
    If you have a Bachelor’s degree in another subject, the Admission Board will decide whether you can be admitted. You will need to motivate that you have obtained sufficient knowledge, understanding and skills at Bachelor's degree level, obtained at an institution of academic higher education:

    a. Knowledge and understanding:
    • Basic biological knowledge in the fields of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (insight into molecular and cellular processes in living organisms),
    • Genetics (both at the organismal and population level)
    • Evolutionary biology (origin and development of life, processes of speciation, relationship between and within taxa, body plans of the most important groups),
    • Ecology (understanding of ecosystems, the ecological processes that play a role within them and the interrelationship of those processes, behavioural ecology)
    • Physiology (the function at supra-cellular level, insight into the construction and function of the main tissues, organs and organ systems and the regulation of their operation)
    • Knowledge and understanding of basic statistical (e.g. t-test, regression and correlation analysis, analysis of variance, non-parametric tests) and mathematical principles and techniques (e.g. differentiation and integration, ordinary differential equations).

    b. Skills:
    • The ability to collect data in a systematic way by means of observations during (laboratory) research and fieldwork, using literature review or internet sources,
    • The ability to manage the collected data and observations in relation to each other, save, process, interpret them and write a scientific report that meets the bachelor level,
    • The ability to clearly define a biological question, along with accompanying assumptions and to determine a strategy for answering the question (under guidance),
    • The ability to analyse research on main lines, both with regard to the design and conduct of research and to the interpretation of results.

    In addition to the mentioned requirements above, the Admission Board will also assess requests for admission in terms of the following criteria:
    • a. talent and motivation;
    • b. proficiency in methods and techniques; i.e. the ability to work with computer programs in the field of: word processing, spreadsheets, modelling, statistical processing, graphics, presentations, management of databases and consultation of scientific literature.

    In all cases, the final decision for admission will be based on the evaluation of these requirements in combination with a judgment of the scientific quality of the applicant’s Bachelor’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 higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (premaster)

    If you do not have a Bachelor in the appropriate discipline, if you have a Dutch HBO/HLO degree or if a period of more than 5 years has elapsed since you received your Bachelor’s diploma, you are strongly advised to contact the coordinator of the Master Ecology programme before you start the online application in order to evaluate your chances of being admitted by the Admission Board.
     
    Note that no rights can be derived from the reply given by the coordinator regarding your admission. Only with the “admission email” you will be officially notified about your conditional or unconditional admission.

     
    The pre-Master's programme
    Please visit the pre-Master's programme page Ecology for more information. You have to complete the premaster (30 EC) within 1 year. After you have finished the pre-Master's programme you can be admitted to the master of Ecology.  

  • Application with a Dutch degree

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

    The application deadlines are:

    • 1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships 
    • 1 April for non-EU/EEA students*
    • 15 July for non-Dutch EU/EEA students
    • 15 July 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 15 July

    For Dutch applications, you can apply through studielink. Please see the application page for Dutch university degree holders. 

  • I have an international degree

    The Ecology programme is open to both Dutch and international students. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

    In order to gain admission to the  Ecology Master’s programme, 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. A Bachelo's degree obtained at an applied university or higher vocational education (HBO in Dutch) in most cases does not grant direct access to the programme (only exceptionally high ranking students stand a chance of admission).

    Specific requirements for the Ecology Master’s programme
    a. Knowledge and understanding:

    • Basic biological knowledge in the fields of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (insight into molecular and cellular processes in living organisms),  
    • Genetics (both at the organismal and population level)  
    • Evolutionary biology (origin and development of life, processes of speciation, relationship between and within taxa, body plans of the most important groups),  
    • Ecology (understanding of ecosystems, the ecological processes that play a role within them and the interrelationship of those processes, behavioural ecology)  
    • Physiology (the function at supra-cellular level, insight into the construction and function of the main tissues, organs and organ systems and the regulation of their operation)  
    • Knowledge and understanding of basic statistical (e.g. t-test, regression and correlation analysis, analysis of variance, non-parametric tests) and mathematical principles and techniques (e.g. differentiation and integration, ordinary differential equations).

    b. Skills:

    • The ability to collect data in a systematic way by means of observations during (laboratory) research and fieldwork, using literature review or internet sources,  
    • The ability to manage the collected data and observations in relation to each other, save, process, interpret them and write a scientific report that meets the bachelor level,  
    • The ability to clearly define a biological question, along with accompanying assumptions and to determine a strategy for answering the question (under guidance),  
    • The ability to analyse research on main lines, both with regard to the design and conduct of research and to the interpretation of results. 

    In addition to the mentioned requirements above, the Admission Board will also assess requests for admission in terms of the following criteria: 

    • a. talent and motivation;
    • b. proficiency in methods and techniques; i.e. the ability to work with computer programs in the field of: word processing, spreadsheets,modelling, statistical processing, graphics, presentations,management of databases and consultation of scientific literature. 

    In all cases, the final decision for admission will be based on the evaluation of these requirements in combination with a judgment of the scientific quality of the applicant’s Bachelor’s programme. 

    Please check here which documents you need to submit for this programme.

    English language 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 their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

    The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to this Master's programme are:

    IELTS: 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 with an international degree

    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. Once you have completed the application, our International Student Advisors will contact you via email.

    If you have read the admission criteria 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. 

    Step 1: Meet admission criteria

    Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
    Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

    • 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 Dutch or English) 
    • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, including the literature used
    • BSc Thesis  (or another sample of academic writing) 

    The above documents should provide a clear and comprehensive description of the following:

    • The statistical methods and analyses you are acquainted with;
    • The ecological, evolutionary and genetic concepts/theories you are acquainted with;
    • The textbooks that have been used for the above subjects; 
    • Detailed information on your BSc thesis, internships and working experience, if applicable; 
    • The experience you have with lab work; 
    • The address of the webpage where the Admission Board can find further information regarding the content and learning objectives of the courses in your Bachelor’s programme; 
    • Your current position/profession.

    After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

    Step 3: Await decision on admission
    The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer during periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. That is the point when you can start planning your move to Amsterdam! 

    Step 4: Finalise your registration and move to Amsterdam!
    Make sure to finalise your registration as a student before the start of the programme. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

    Application fee & deadlines

    All students seeking admission to an international Bachelor’s or Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.

    The application deadlines are:

    • 1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships 
    • 1 April for non-EU/EEA students*
    • 15 July for non-Dutch EU/EEA students
    • 15 July 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 15 July

    Information on how to apply with an international university degree can be found here.
    For more information, international students may also contact the International Student Advisor: masters.fs@vu.nl.

    Grants and scholarships

    As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl.

    Student Ambassadors

    Some International students are happy to tell you about their experience 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 here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors. Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam.

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?

For questions about the programme, please send an email to programme coordinator Joris Koene: joris.koene@vu.nl. For more general questions, please 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