Meeting language proficiency requirements
If you are applying for one of our English-taught Bachelor's programmes you will have to demonstrate English language proficiency.
If you are applying for a Dutch-taught programme will also have to prove that you are sufficiently proficient in Dutch.
You can check the Bachelor's degree page of the programme of your choice for further details.
English language proficiency
If you are applying with a non-Dutch diploma you will be asked to take an English language proficiency test to prove you meet the language requirements of our programmes. Please note that you can apply to your programme of choice before taking this test and/or submitting your results. In case you gain admission to the programme you will have until the below mentioned deadline to submit your English test results. You can either upload your English test results in VUnet or send them to your International Student Advisor(s) by email. We do not need to receive the hard copy document via postal mail.
Applicants who completed their (English-taught) education in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia are exempted from this requirement, as are those who obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only). Students holding the Surinam VWO diploma are also exempt.
Students applying with a Dutch diploma can meet the language requirements by means of a VWO diploma or by using one of the test options below. You send the certified copies to us by post, or bring them to the Student Desk.
Accepted English language tests
VU Amsterdam only accepts the following recognized English proficiency tests, with these minimal requirements:
- IELTS (academic): 6.5 overall
- TOEFL internet based test: 92
Note: for 2020-2021 we will also be accepting the TOEFL iBT special home edition: 92.
- TOEFL paper based test: 580
- Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)/C1 Advanced: grade A, B or C
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)/C2 Proficiency: grade A, B or C
- VU English proficiency test: TOEFL ITP: 580
- State exam vo (information only in Dutch): pre-university school-leaving examination level (VWO) in English language and literature
TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before September 1st of the year in which your course starts. Note that the TOEFL MyBestScore is not accepted.
The TOEFL-ITP exam is offered by the VU Taalloket and takes place at the university. The test costs €90 and is only valid for admission to VU Amsterdam.
NB: for the selective Bachelor's programmes Law in Society, Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College) the English language requirements are higher! Check the programme pages for further information.
Verification of your test scores
- For verification of your IELTS or TOEFL test results, please upload your results in VUnet or send the report to us by email.
- For verification of the TOEFL iBT special home edition please add our institution code before sending the report: 7947.
- For online verification of your Cambridge test result please share your results with us through the Candidate Results Online website.
Be aware of the fact that it can take a few weeks before you get the results of the English tests, so plan your test in time!
Deadline for submission:
• 1 July for students who require a study visa
• 31 August for students with the EU/EEA nationality and other student who do not require a study visa
Deadline for submission for Numerus Fixus programmes:
• 1 July for students who require a study visa
• 15 July for students with the EU/EEA nationality and other student who do not require a study visa
Please note: Different requirements and deadlines apply for the Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College). Check the AUC page for more information.
Dutch language proficiency
This language proficiency requirement is applicable solely to Dutch-taught Bachelor's degree programmes. Do you have a Dutch previous education and do you need to meet the Dutch proficiency requirement for your Bachelor's degree programme? Then read the information below.
When you have a non-Dutch previous education you will have to submit proof of your Dutch language proficiency level, even when you are a native speaker. You can find out more information about the different options by reading the information in the table below.
Dutch language requirement
Dutch previous education
Students with a Dutch previous education can proof Dutch language proficiency by submitting a VWO diploma.
When applying with other Dutch diplomas (such as the HBO-P) students will need to sit the State exam vo pre-university level examination in Dutch language and literature.
Non-Dutch previous education School leaving exams
VU Amsterdam accepts the following subjects and school-leaving Dutch examinations for students with a non-Dutch previous education:
Education Courses and final exams European Baccalaureate Dutch as first or second language International Baccalaureate Dutch as language A (Higher Level or Subsidiary Level) or language B (Higher Level)) UK education system Dutch GCE A level or Dutch International GCSE, both as first language German education system Abitur: Dutch as Leistungskurs or Grundkurs or Reifeprüfung Ordnung (only when Abitur was awarded outside Germany) French education system Baccalauréat Général of the Dutch department of the Lycée Internationale Saint-Germain-en-Laye or Lycée Internationale of Ferney Voltaire (Dutch must be a school-leaving subject) Belgian education system Diploma van Algemeen Secundair Onderwijs (ASO) Surinamese education system Surinamese pre-university school-leaving examination diploma
Other accepted proofs of proficiency in the Dutch language
When you have a non-Dutch previous education and have not followed one of the aforementioned school subjects then you can sit one of the following two examinations:
- State exam in Dutch as a second language, programme II (NT2-II) (information and application via DUO).
- Certificate of Dutch as Foreign Language (CNaVT), with Educatief Professioneel (EDUP) C1 (academic and professional language proficiency) or Educatief Startbekwaam (STRT) B2 (higher education language proficiency) profile. This examination is also held outside the Netherlands. (Information and application via www.cnavt.org).
Exception: NT2 II (Dutch as a second language) and Educatief Startbekwaam (STRT) B2 certificates will not be accepted for the Rechtsgeleerdheid (law) and Notarieel Recht (notarial civil law) Bachelor's degree programmes.
You send the certified copies to us by post, or bring them to the Student Desk. Certified test certificates bear a stamp and signature from an official institute to attest that the copy is the same as the original. The certificates can be certified by the administration of the institute that awarded the diploma or at the Student Desk. Bring the original and copy with you when you wish to have them certified by us.
State exam in Dutch as a second language, programme II (NT2-II)
This examination consists of four parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. The examinations are held weekly (registration 6 weeks in advance, results 6 weeks after the exam).
If you consider applying to a selection-based Bachelor’s degree programme, then the NT2-II examination must be completed before June. This is because the department CBAP of DUO needs the results before 15 July, in order to keep you in the selection procedure.
If you have to take other entrance examinatios, you will have to fulfill all the requirements before 15 July.
More information about the NT2-II exam (in Dutch).
The CNaVT (Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal) with the profiles ‘Educatief Startbekwaam’ (before called PTHO) or ‘Educatief Professioneel’ (before called PAT) are also accepted. The examinations can also be taken outside the Netherlands.
VU-NT2 Department - Dutch course
VU Amsterdam’s own department that will help you to prepare for the Dutch language proficiency examination.
The courses start late August and end in July the following year, progressing from beginner’s level courses through three or four follow-up courses of increasing difficulty. These Dutch language courses are meant primarily for prospective students who want to prepare themselves for a Bachelor's or Master's programme at VU Amsterdam. If you wish to take this course, you must contact the VU-NT2 Department.
For the beginner’s courses in particular there are usually more applicants than places available. Therefore we cannot guarantee a place if you apply late. You should bear in mind that it takes at least one year to learn Dutch.
VASVU is a programme for international students who want to study a Dutch Bachelor’s or Premaster’s programme but cannot be admitted directly. This preparatory year will prepare you for the entrance examinations of VU Amsterdam. Check the VASVU page for more information.