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Understand our society: why and how do we live the way we do?

Are you fascinated by what makes us human? Are you captivated by how people interact in today's global societies? Do you want to deepen your knowledge of the dynamics in our society?

Then the Master's in Social and Cultural Anthropology might be for you!

Candidates with a degree in a related scientific Bachelor's programme (BSc) are directly admissible to FSS master’s programmes. This also applies to candidates who - regardless of their Bachelor's (BSc) programme - have completed a minor of 30 EC in the field of the desired FSS Master's programme.

All candidates with an academic Bachelor's (of science) or Master’s programme that is not content-related to the Master’s programme they want to apply for, must complete a bridging programme. The exact content and scope of this bridging programme depends on the Bachelor's or Master's programme already completed. The bridging programme includes one or more academic courses in the field of methods & techniques of social scientific research (quantitative and/or qualitative) and at least one academic course that relates to the subject content of the Master's programme in question.

Check whether you meet the admission requirements and apply

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree

    Directly admissible

    You are directly admissible to the Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA) with one of the following Bachelor’s degrees:

    • Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie / Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology
    • Sociologie

    You are also admissible to the Master’s programme in SCA with any Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree including a minor programme in Anthropology, such as the VU FSS Minor Anthropology (30 EC).

    Conditionally admissible

    If you have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a field other than anthropology or sociology, you may be asked to complete a bridging programme of max. 30 EC before applying to the Master's in Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA).
    Depending on the discipline of your degree, this bridging programme consists of academic courses in the field of quantitative and/or qualitative methods and techniques of social scientific research with a minimum of 12 EC, and/or academic courses in the field of anthropology with a minimum of 6/12 EC.

    The Admissions Committee of the Master's programme in SCA will determine which additional courses you will have to take. These courses can be taken at any Dutch university, but you can also choose to take them at FSS-VU.

    At FSS-VU the following relevant courses are offered in the field of methods and techniques of social scientific research:

    • Social Research Methodology (S_SRM). Introduction into the the process of social scientific research, including its key methods (qualitative and quantitative) and approaches (interpretative vs positivist).
    • Ethnographic Research Methodology (S_ERM)
    • Methoden en technieken van kwalitatief onderzoek (S_MTKOZ) to acquire knowledge and skills in the field of qualitative methodology.

    FSS-VU offers the following relevant subjects in the field of anthropology:

    • Core Themes in Anthropology (S_CTA)
    • Development and Globalization (S_DG)
    • Political and Economic Anthropology (S_PEA)
    • Identity, Diversity and Inclusion (S_IDI)
    • Nation and Migration (S_NM)
    • History and Theory of Anthropology (S_HTA)
    • Urban Studies (S_UBS)
    • Challenges of the 21st Century (S_C21C)
    • Global Religion (S_GR)

    In case your previous education has no connection at all with the Masters’ programme, the Admissions Committee might refer you to the pre-Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology.
    In individual cases exemptions for part of this programme may be appropriate and applied for, consult with the Admissions Committee if you think this applies to you.

    English language requirements

    To be admitted to the English-taught Master’s programme, all students must meet the following results in the English language test (no older than 2 years):

    • IELTS score with a minimum of 6.5
    • TOEFL score internet based test: 92
    • VU TOEFL-ITP: 580 (only valid for VU Amsterdam)
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE in Advanced English (CAE): A or B
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C

    Exemptions from the language test requirements are granted in the following cases:

    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-language university programme in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme at a Dutch university.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme in a different EU-country.
    • You have a Dutch vwo-diploma (level 6 vwo-nieuw)
    • You are a premaster student and have passed the premaster's assessment.

    Make sure to register on time at Taalloket for the VU TOEFL-ITP, as the possibilities are limited, especially during the busy summer period. If you have a Dutch Bachelor's degree obtained at a Dutch university, the first take of the VU TOEFL-ITP is free of charge.

    Please upload a scan of the result of your test to your application in VUweb before 31 August at the latest.

  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree

    Admission to the Master’s programmes is open to students holding any Bachelor’s degree in higher vocational education (hbo), providing they successfully completed the pre-Master's programme

    In order to enter the pre-Master’s course with a hbo Bachelor’s degree, you have to pass a pre-Master’s assessment. The assessment is designed to ensure that students admitted to the pre-Master's (with the intention of subsequently completing the Master's programme) are able to meet the required academic level.

    Admission procedure
    1. Register for the pre-Master's programme in Studielink before 31 May at the latest.
    2. After registering in Studielink you’ll receive login data for VUweb.
    3. Finish your application in VUweb , incl. registration for the pre-Masters' assessment.
    4. Pre-Masters' assessment and hbo-bachelor's degree must be obtained before 31 August at the latest.
    5. Arrange payment of the tuition fee and complete your registration before 31 August at the latest. 

    Before the beginning of the programme you’ll receive practical information about starting your studies.

    Doorstroomminor SWO at Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA)

    If you have a HBO Bachelor's degree including the doorstroomminor Sociaalwetenschappelijk Onderzoek at HvA, you are admissible to the Master’s programme after successfully completing one of the following courses, part of the Bachelor's programme in Cultural Anthropology:

    • Core Themes in Anthropology (S_CTA)
    • History and Theory of Anthropology (S_HTA) + reading assignment*
    • Challenges of the 21st Century (S_C21C) + reading assignment*
    • Global Religion (S_GR) + reading assignment*

    *Reading assignment: 
    Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Small Places, Large Issues - An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, 4th edition. 

    In order to follow one of these courses, you have to register as bijvakstudent. You don't have to follow the pre-Master's programme nor take the assessment.

    English language requirements

    To be admitted to the English-taught Master’s programme, all students must meet the following results in the English language test (no older than 2 years):

    • IELTS score with a minimum of 6.5
    • TOEFL score internet based test: 92
    • VU TOEFL-ITP: 580 (only valid for VU Amsterdam)
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE in Advanced English (CAE): A or B
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C

    Exemptions from the language test requirements are granted in the following cases:

    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-language university programme in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme at a Dutch university.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme in a different EU-country.
    • You have a Dutch vwo-diploma (level 6 vwo-nieuw)
    • You are a premaster student and have passed the premaster's assessment.

    Make sure to register on time at Taalloket for the VU TOEFL-ITP, as the possibilities are limited, especially during the busy summer period. If you have a Dutch Bachelor's degree obtained at a Dutch university, the first take of the VU TOEFL-ITP is free of charge.

    Please upload a scan of the result of your test to your application in VUweb before 31 August at the latest.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    How to apply

    Directly admissible

    1. Registration for the Master’s programme in Studielink is open until 31 May at the latest.
    2. After registering in Studielink you’ll receive login data for VUweb.
    3. Finish your application in VUweb. As your admissibility doesn’t have to be assessed, you don’t need to add any documents (just tick the box “I upload this later”).
    4. Arrange payment of the tuition fee and complete your registration before 31 August at the latest.
    5. Upload a scan of the result of your English language test to your application in VUweb before 31 August at the latest.

    Before the beginning of the programme you’ll receive practical information about starting your studies.

    An application is not the same as enrolment. If you register for a programme in Studielink, you will not immediately be enrolled. You will only be enrolled once you have been notified by Studielink. To this end, you must have submitted all the required documents and arranged for payment of the tuition fees before 31 August. An application does not commit you to anything and can be cancelled free of charge until 31 August.

    More information about the registration procedure.

    Conditionally admissible

    To apply for the programme, you need to register in Studielink. After completing your registration in Studielink, you will receive log in details for the portal in VUweb. You must complete your application in VUweb by uploading the following required documents:

    • a curriculum vitae (résumé), listing your previous education and relevant work experience;
    • a certified transcript of the grades you obtained in your Bachelor’s programme in English or translated into English by your university or a sworn translator. If you have followed or are following a master’s programme and/or more than one bachelor’s programme, please include transcripts of all these programmes;
    • a description of the relevant courses/modules followed and literature used during your previous higher education, that were part of your Bachelor's (and Master's, if applicable) programme, with a short description of the contents of these courses and the literature used (bibliography) to assess the theoretical background of the programme. You can either copy this from a study guide or type a 5-10 line description for each relevant course, if a study guide is not readily available. For the literature please mention the most relevant academic textbooks or articles used during your previous education.

    In order to determine whether your choice for the Master’s programme is a good match, please add the following documents:

    • a (short) letter motivating your choice;
    • a proof of academic writing, such as (parts of) a thesis, paper or essay, that includes a clear research question, an explicit research methodology, a theoretical framework and academic literature references;

    The Admissions Committee will determine whether you are directly admissible to the Master’s programme or whether you first have to follow a bridging programme and if so, which courses you should take.

    The Committee might contact you for additional information and/or explain content and level of the Master’s in Culture, Organization and Management.

    Please upload a scan with the result of your English language test to your application in VUweb before 31 August at the latest.

    Registration procedure

    1. Registration for the Master’s programme in Studielink is open until 31 May at the latest.
    2. After registering in Studielink you’ll receive login data for VUweb.
    3. Add the required documents to your application in VUweb and finish your application.
    4. After your application has been processed and assessed you’ll receive notice about your admissibility.
    5. Arrange payment of the tuition fee and complete your registration before 31 August at the latest.
    6. Upload a scan of the result of your English language test to your application in VUweb before 31 August at the latest.

    Before the beginning of the programme you’ll receive practical information about starting your studies.

    An application is not the same as enrolment. If you register for a programme in Studielink, you will not immediately be enrolled. You will only be enrolled once you have been notified by Studielink. To this end, you must have submitted all the required documents and arranged for payment of the tuition fees before 31 August. An application does not commit you to anything and can be cancelled free of charge until 31 August.

    More information about the registration procedure.

  • I have an international degree

    Directly admissible

    You can apply to the Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA) with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Sociology, or a related field, or if you have completed a minor in Anthropology.

    NUFFIC regularly compares universities around the world in order to estimate academic levels of the universities abroad in relation to the acquired level of the Master’s programmes in the Netherlands.

    The Admissions Committee relies on the list provided by NUFFIC in order to estimate whether your level of academic writing and methodological training is expected to be sufficient. If your level of academic writing and/or methodological training is deemed insufficient, you must complete a bridging programme which consists of courses in academic writing and/or methods and techniques. You may decide to take this course at any university. FSS-VU offers courses in academic writing in the pre-Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology (PM Tutorial Academic Writing SCA and PM Research Project SCA) and in methods and techniques (see below).

    *Please be aware that international students should not apply for the premaster’s programme directly. The Admissions Committee will refer you to the premaster’s, in case you are not directly eligible for the Master’s programme.

    Conditionally admissible

    If you have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a field other than anthropology or sociology, you may be asked to complete a bridging programme of max. 30 EC before applying to the Master's in Social and Cultural Anthropology (SCA).
    Depending on the discipline of your degree, this bridging programme consists of academic courses in the field of quantitative and/or qualitative methods and techniques of social scientific research with a minimum of 12 EC, and/or academic courses in the field of anthropology with a minimum of 6/12 EC.

    The Admissions Committee of the Master's programme in SCA will determine which additional courses you will have to take. These courses can be taken at any university, but you can also choose to take them at FSS-VU.

    At FSS-VU the following relevant courses are offered in the field of methods and techniques of social scientific research:

    • Social Research Methodology (S_SRM). Introduction into the the process of social scientific research, including its key methods (qualitative and quantitative) and approaches (interpretative vs positivist).
    • Ethnographic Research Methodology (S_ERM)
    • Methoden en technieken van kwalitatief onderzoek (S_MTKOZ) to acquire knowledge and skills in the field of qualitative methodology.

    FSS-VU offers the following relevant subjects in the field of anthropology:

    • Core Themes in Anthropology (S_CTA)
    • Development and Globalization (S_DG)
    • Political and Economic Anthropology (S_PEA)
    • Identity, Diversity and Inclusion (S_IDI)
    • Nation and Migration (S_NM)
    • History and Theory of Anthropology (S_HTA)
    • Urban Studies (S_UBS)
    • Challenges of the 21st Century (S_C21C)
    • Global Religion (S_GR)

    In case your previous education has no connection at all with the Masters’ programme, the Admissions Committee might refer you to the pre-Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology.
    In individual cases exemptions for part of this programme may be appropriate and applied for, consult with the Admissions Committee if you think this applies to you.

    English language requirements

    To be admitted to the English-taught Social and Cultural Anthropology Master’s programme, students must meet the following results in the English language test (no older than 2 years):

    • IELTS score with a minimum of 6.5
    • TOEFL score internet based test: 92-93
    • VU TOEFL-ITP: 580 (only valid for VU Amsterdam)
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE in Advanced English (CAE): A or B
    • CAMBRIDGE CERTIFICATE of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B or C

    Exemptions from the language test requirements are granted in the following cases:

    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-language university programme in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme at a Dutch university.
    • Your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma was obtained in an English-taught programme in a different EU-country.
    • You have a Dutch vwo-diploma (level 6 vwo-nieuw)
    • You are a premaster student and have passed the premaster's assessment.

    Make sure to register on time at Taalloket for the VU TOEFL-ITP, as the possibilities are limited, especially during the busy summer period. If you have a Dutch Bachelor's degree obtained at a Dutch university, the first take of the VU TOEFL-ITP is free of charge.

    Please send a scan of the result of your test by email to masters.fss@vu.nl, including your name and student number. The deadline for non-EEA students is 1 June. EEA students can send their test results before 31 August at the latest.

  • Application with an international degree

    To apply for the programme, you need to register in Studielink. After completing your registration in Studielink, you will receive log in details for the portal in VUweb. You must complete your application in VUweb by uploading the following required documents:

    • a curriculum vitae (résumé), listing your previous education and relevant work experience;
    • a certified transcript of the grades you obtained in your Bachelor’s programme in English or translated into English by your university or a sworn translator. If you have followed or are following a master’s programme and/or more than one bachelor’s programme, please include transcripts of all these programmes;
    • a description of the relevant courses/modules followed and literature used during your previous higher education, that were part of your Bachelor's (and Master's, if applicable) programme, with a short description of the contents of these courses and the literature used (bibliography) to assess the theoretical background of the programme. You can either copy this from a study guide or type a 5-10 line description for each relevant course, if a study guide is not readily available. For the literature please mention the most relevant academic textbooks or articles used during your previous education. You can use this format

      In order to determine whether your choice for the Master’s programme is a good match, please add the following documents:
    • a (short) letter motivating your choice;
    • a proof of academic writing, such as (parts of) a thesis, paper or essay, that includes a clear research question, an explicit research methodology, a theoretical framework and academic literature references;
    • two letters of recommendation by persons familiar with your past academic performance, such as a professor/lecturer who has taught you, members of the academic staff at the educational institute where you studied or are studying now. The letters can be sent directly by the recommenders to the International Student Advisor (masters.fss@vu.nl).

    The Admissions Committee will assess whether you are directly admissible to the Master’s programme or whether you first have to follow a bridging programme and if so, which courses you should take.

    The Committee might contact you for additional information and/or explain content and level of the Master’s in Social and Cultural Anthropology.

    To complete your application please add the following documents before 31 August at the latest:

    • a certified copy of your original Bachelor’s degree certificate. The certified degree must be in English or be translated into English by your university or a sworn translator. If you have yet to obtain your degree, you can ask the registrar of your university to provide an official statement to the effect that you are certain to graduate before 1 September;
    • a clearly legible copy of the page(s) in your passport (or ID-card if you are an EU student) that contain(s) your personal data. A copy of a passport or ID card that is no longer valid will not be accepted.
    • a scan with the result of your English language test. Non-EU students need to upload this before 1 June.

    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.

    Information on how to apply with an international university degree and deadlines can be found here. For more information, international students may also contact the International Student Advisor: masters.fss@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. 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? If you want to know whether you are admissible, please register in Studielink, adding the documents as mentioned in the paragraph above to your application in VUweb.
If you have questions concerning the pre master’s assessment, the payment of your tuition fee or your application in VUweb, please contact the Student Desk.

Are you applying with a non-Dutch diploma? You can contact the International Student Advisor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Irena Paap: masters.fss@vu.nl

International students are also welcome to call the International Student Advisor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Irena Paap: +31 20 598 5252

Do you have any other questions?

For 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