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Application procedure, admission and language requirements

On this page, you will find information about the application procedure, the admission requirements and language requirements for prospective Master's students.

More specific information can be found on the programme webpages.

International Degree Holders

  • Application procedure for international degree holders

    The following procedure applies if you are applying on the basis of a non-Dutch university degree. You can start your application for a September 2021 enrolment from October 2020 onwards.

    Take a look at the step-by-step application video to find out how you can apply for our English-taught programmes with an international diploma and read the information below.

    StepsDeadlines for EU/EEA or Dutch studentsDeadlines for non-EU/EEA students who do not need a study visa and/or a residence permit Deadlines for students who need a study visa and/or a residence permit (do I need a study visa?)
    1. Create an enrolment application1 June 20211 June 20211 April 2021
    2. Complete your application in VUnet 1 June 20211 June 20211 April 2021
    3. Pay the application fee1 June 20211 June 20211 April 2021
    4. Wait for admission by the Admission Committee of the facultyAdmission Committee will decide within 5 weeksAdmission Committee will decide within 5 weeksAdmission Committee will decide within 5 weeks

    N.B. Application deadline for students applying for VU scholarships: 1 February 2021.

    Note: Early applications are always recommended.

    Step 1: Create an enrolment application in Studielink (the Dutch national education application system)

    Please note: Only if you already live in the Netherlands, you will need a DigiD. DigiD applications take up to two weeks: apply for DigiD.

    Log in to Studielink and create a new enrolment application for the study programme you wish to follow.

    Important when creating an enrolment application:

    • When using login details for creating an enrolment application in Studielink, please select Apply for username and password.
    • Make sure that the e-mail address you fill in in Studielink (My details) is correct: you will receive important notices concerning your enrolment via this address.
    • Please enter your prior education (on the basis of which your application will be judged) correctly.
    • Select the study programme of choice with (Master) at the end from the list in Studielink (note: specialisations can be selected in VUnet).
    • Enter your payment details so that the correct tuition fee can be calculated. This does not generate and automatic payment. The deadline for payment is 31 August 2021.
    • Please be aware that your enrolment must be fully completed on 31 August 2021 in order to start your study programme on 1 September 2021. If your enrolment is not complete on this date, you will have to postpone your study programme until the following academic year.

    Step 2: Complete your application in VUnet

    In order to upload the required documents and complete your application, you will need to log in to VUnet, the university's student portal. We advise you to do this as soon as possible after applying in Studielink.

    Please note: you do not need to send original documents when applying, but you will need to send these if you are admitted by which time you will be informed about the requirements in more detail.

    After you complete your enrolment application in Studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID (username and password) in two separate e-mails sent to the address you entered in Studielink. This may take up to two working days.

    Once you have received these login details, log in to VUnet, answer the questions asked and upload documents as requested.

    If you can prove to be a top student then you may want to apply for a VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP) scholarship and/or a Holland Scholarship Programme scholarship (the latter is only available for Non-EU students). You can select these scholarships during the application process in VUnet.

    If you have not received your login details, please first check your spam. If you are still unable to locate them, then contact the UCIT service desk on or +31 (0)20 598 0000.

    Step 3: Pay the application fee

    All students with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable, €100 application fee.

    After we have received the application fee, we will start processing your application immediately.

    Once you have completed your enrolment application in Studielink, you will receive an e-mail (sent to the address you supply in Studielink) with information on how you can pay the fee. Please do not delay paying the fee as this will delay your application.

     Read more about how to pay the application fee.

    Step 4: Wait for decision on application

    Once your file is complete it will be handed over to the faculty. The faculty may contact you about any additional requirements. The Admission Board of the faculty will make a decision within six weeks.

    For all questions about the evaluation of your application, please contact your International Student Advisor, whose contact details can be found on the contact page your chosen study programme.

    If you are informed that your application has been successful, congratulations! A number of additional steps must now be taken. In the next part you will read what you can expect after you've been admitted.

    Alternative starting dates
    Academic year 2020-2021

    The following master's degree programmes offer a second start date on 1 February 2021.

    • Master Chemistry (joint degree)
    • Master Computer Science (joint degree)
    • Master Drug Discovery and Safety
    • Teacher-training programmes (taught in Dutch)
    • Master Mathematics
    • Master Law (International Technology Law, International Migration and Refugee Law, and European and International Law)
    • Master Dentistry (taught in Dutch)

    For the Dutch taught Master's programme in Medicine, there's a starting date at each first day of the month.

    Please note: Always consult the contact persons noted in the contact page of the programme you're interested in, to find out about the programme and the possibilities of a February starting date.

  • Required documents

    After you’ve applied for the programme of your choice via Studielink, you will receive your login details for VUnet, where you can upload the required documents. Below you can find a description of the documents that may be asked for.

    Every study programme may have a different set of required documents that you need to upload. For the Master of Law, for example, only a CV, your transcripts and a copy of your passport are needed. You may thus not need to upload all of the documents listed here below. For this reason, you will need to check the programme page to find out which documents you need to prepare.

    • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID = only for EU residents)
      A clear scan of the pages in your passport that contain your personal data. It needs to be valid up to at least 1 September of the year in which you’re planning to start your programme (or 1 February if your programme offers this starting date).  A copy of a passport (or ID) that is no longer valid cannot be accepted.
    • Curriculum Vitae
      A curriculum vitae that includes your personal details and lists your previous education and relevant work experience. A Europass CV template could be used, however other formats will be accepted too. 
    • 1 or 2 Letters of recommendation
      Letters written by members of the academic staff at the educational institute where you studied (or are studying). Digital copies, uploaded in VUnet are preferred. If referees prefer providing their references directly to the university, please let them email your contact person in the international office
    • Statement of Intent (Letter of Motivation)
      A 1-2 page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme. Also, if applicable, please specify in this letter, the name of the specialization you are applying for. 
    • Diploma(s)*
      A copy of the original Bachelor's degree or certificate.
      Diploma requirements: Upload in VUnet a scan of your diploma with an English, German or French translation by your university or a sworn translator.
      Please note: Before we can unconditionally accept you, we will need you to supply us with a certified copy of your diploma certificate. See for further details the section on 'what happens after admission'. Deadline for supplying: 31 August 2021
    • Transcript of records
      A list of grades that your previous academic study/studies.
      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.
      Please note: The certified copy of your transcript needs to be certified. If this original is not in English, it needs to be translated into English. For the initial application, this does not need to be done by a sworn translator although it is preferred.
    • Thesis (or alternative piece of academic writing)
      Part of a Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English). 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 page abstract of a piece of academic writing including bibliography, in English. Please note, we will always check application documents for plagiarism. 
    • A description of the relevant courses followed and literature used during your previous higher education
      A list of the most relevant courses/modules 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). 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.
      Please use this format
    • English language test  (can also be provided after conditional admission)*
      Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or Canada (English-speaking provinces) to provide us with an English language test score that meets the required minimum set for the programme of choice. If you cannot yet provide us with a positive score yet, please register for a recognized English language test. All faculties will accept IELTS tests, Cambridge tests, and TOEFL tests. We are now also accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. The test is available everywhere that TOEFL iBT testing is normally available, with the exception of Mainland China and Iran. Our institution's code is 7947.
      Please note: Acceptable minimum scores may vary per faculty/programme.
    • Nuffic Certificate (only for Chinese students)
      Chinese students who wish to enrol in an English-taught programme at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate (former Neso Certificate). Nuffic will send the certificate directly to us, once it has been issued. 
    • Valid residence permit
      If you already live in the Netherlands, a copy (front and reverse side) of your valid residence permit (if available). If your residence permit is no longer valid, please submit a copy of the expired card and an official statement from the immigration authorities (IND) acknowledging that you have applied for an extension. 

    * Although complete applications are preferred, both the certified copy of the diploma certificate and the English test result, can be supplied to us after you've submitted the rest of your application. For EU students, the latest deadline for supplying us with these documents is set to the 31 August 2021, for non-EU students, the English test result needs to be supplied before 1 June 2021 (due to it being a requirement for the visa/residence application procedure). Course registrations are not possible until all documents have been provided.

  • Application deadlines

    The following deadlines apply if you are applying to a Master’s programme on the basis of a non-Dutch university degree.

    Applications received after the deadlines cannot be taken into consideration!

    * We encourage EU/EAA students to apply before 1 April if they wish to make use of the university housing services.

  • Language Proficiency Requirements

    VU Amsterdam requires you to take an English test and to submit your score as a part of the application. You can begin your application, however, before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirement are made if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

    In general, the minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to most (not all) Master's programme at VU Amsterdam are:

    • IELTS: 6.5 - please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one! Most programmes do not accept partial scores dropping below 6.0.
    • TOEFL Internet-based test: 92. For 2020-2021 we have also accepted the TOEFL IBT special Home Edition test. It is not yet decided if this test will be accepted for 2021-2022.
    • 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: 580. This test is offered by the VU Taalloket and takes place at the University. The test costs EUR 90 and is only valid for admission to VU Amsterdam. The TOEFL ITP is not accepted for students who require a study visa/residence permit to study at VU Amsterdam. 

    Please note: Some programmes have higher language proficiency requirements. Please see the webpage of your programme for exact language proficiency requirements.

    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 MyBestScore is not accepted. Our institution's code is 7947.

    Please email your test results to your International Student Advisor. The scored will be checked online.

    There is no specific place to upload your English language test in VUnet. After finishing uploading the other documents in the VUnet you can send a copy of the test scorecard per email to one of the following contacts:

    VU Amsterdam reserves the right to request an original copy of the test result.

    Students living in the Netherlands can register for a TOEFL-ITP exam offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at We do not accept the TOEFL ITP Digital test.

    Useful links:

  • Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students

    If you are a Chinese student wishing to enrol in an English-taught programme at a Dutch higher education institution, then you are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate (former Neso Certificate). Nuffic sends this certificate directly to the relevant Dutch higher education institution once it has been issued.

  • What happens after admission

    Once you have been admitted to VU Amsterdam, there are steps that you need to take to make sure you complete your enrolment in time and do not miss out on any of our essential student services.

    Read more about what happens after admission here.

  • Campus Tour, Student Ambassadors and Student Experiences

    Visit the Campus

    The University Campus is the lively hub of the university and you are welcome to pay a virtual visit to get to know the university.
    Visit the online campus tour and explore the campus, university buildings and more!

    Contact our Student Ambassadors

    Do you have a question for a current student? Curious about everyday life in Amsterdam, from our campus to the food, music and events going on throughout the city? Want to know how much homework you will have each night, or how the Dutch educational system differs from your own? Ask one of our VU Ambassadors! They would love to answer your questions by sharing their personal experiences of living and studying at VU Amsterdam. Check the Ambassador's page to find an ambassador from the programme you’re interested in or from your home country.

    For specific questions related to VU programmes, deadlines, the application process, or diploma validity you can find information on our main website or contact your faculty's International Student Advisor (ISA).

    Read the Student Blog

    On you can read blog updates from our (international) students.

Dutch University Degree Holders

  • Degree from another University

    If you hold a Bachelor’s degree obtained at an institution in the Netherlands, then you may be admitted to a Master’s programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The examination board will determine whether your qualification is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The examination board may, however, impose additional requirements, which must be met before gaining admission to the programme.

  • Application procedure

    Step 1: Apply in Studielink

    You can apply in Studielink. The deadline for application is 31 May if you require a residence permit. If you require a residence permit, then you also need to contact regarding the procedure for changing your residence permit.

    If you don't require a residence permit, a different deadline may apply. Please see the web page of the Master's degree programme of your choice for the deadlines.

    Step 2: Complete your application in VUnet

    In order to upload the required documents and complete your application, you will need to log in to VUnet. We advise you to do this as soon as possible after applying in Studielink.

    Step 3: Wait for decision on application

    Once your file is complete it will be handed over to the faculty. The faculty may contact you about any additional requirements. The Admission Board of the faculty will make a decision within six weeks.

    Step 4: Hand in all required documents

    If we need certified copies of documents (such as a diploma or an English proficiency test result), please bring or send these by post to the Student Desk before 31 August:

    Student Administration
    De Boelelaan 1105
    1081 HV Amsterdam

    Step 5: Pay the tuition fee

    Please check the information on fees and payments. Transfer the fee or arrange direct debit authorization in Studielink. The latter is only possible if you have a bank account from a bank in the SEPA area. The fee must be paid before 31 August. Once you have entered your payment details in Studielink, it may take up to 24 hours before the correct tuition fee amount is calculated. Once this is done, you will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm payment. This confirmation will authorize the actual payment which should be made on or before 31 August. Please contact the Student Desk if you require assistance.

    Step 6: Check your enrolment

    You will receive a notice from Studielink when your student enrolment is complete. Only after having received this notice, you'll know you've met all requirements for a full student enrolment. Your status in Studielink will change to 'enrolled'. The deadline for a full enrolment is the 31st of August. If you are not yet enrolled and do not know why, please contact the Student Desk for advice.

    Within one month of the enrolment being completed you will receive:

    • A declaration of enrolment
    • A student card (if you have uploaded a correct photo on VUnet)

    Being in the possession of these two documents is not required in order to follow classes. However, having a valid enrolment is required. To confirm your ID at an exam you can either use your student card or your ID/passport in combination with a paper version of the Declaration of Enrolment(available from the Student Desk once your status is enrolled).

  • Deadlines for application and enrolment

    You cannot enrol retroactively. This means that if your enrolment is not completed on 31 August, you cannot be enrolled as of 1 September of the same academic year. So please make sure you start and complete your application on time! When you are fully enrolled your status in Studielink will be 'enrolled' and you will receive a confirmation email.

    You can find the application deadline on the page of the programme of your choice.

  • Accommodation

    VU Amsterdam is not able to provide accommodation to foreign students who apply while already in the possession of a Dutch degree. You will, therefore, need to arrange your own accommodation.

Dutch HBO Degree Holders

  • Premaster’s programme

    If you hold a Bachelor’s degree obtained from a university of applied sciences (HBO diploma) in the Netherlands, then you may be admitted to a Master’s programme at VU Amsterdam. In most cases, you will have to follow a preparatory Premaster’s programme first. This usually takes one year.

    Premaster’s programmes are mainly taught in Dutch. For more information: Go to Dutch premaster pages.

    The examination board will determine whether your qualification is sufficiently relevant to warrant admission. The board may place additional requirements on you before granting admission to the programme.

  • Deadlines

    If you have non-Dutch nationality and a Dutch degree then you can apply up until 31 May  if you require a residence permit. Because of the procedure for changing the residence permit (if applicable), applications received later than 31 May cannot be processed.

    You need to apply via Studielink and contact the coordinator of the Master’s programme before 31 May. Coordinators and procedures can be found on the website of the relevant Master’s programme. You must also contact for the procedure to change your residence permit if you are a non-EU/EEA student.

    If you don't require a residence permit, a different deadline may apply. Please see the web page of the Master's degree programme of your choice for the deadlines.

    Premasters School of Business and Economics (SBE)

    The School of Business and Economics offers premaster's programmes with a start date of 1 February. The deadline for application for these programmes is 31 January. Your diploma must state an examination date before 1 February.

    Premaster Faculty of Law

    Application for the transfer programme of Law (Schakelzone Recht) is possible all year round.

  • Accommodation

    VU Amsterdam is not able to provide accommodation to foreign students who apply on the basis of a Dutch degree. Therefore, you will need to arrange your own accommodation.