Independent positioning of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes

At VU Amsterdam we look upon the bachelor’s programmes as independent programmes with attainment targets differentiated according to outflow direction. The bachelor’s programmes share a number of characteristics. Taken together they form the profile of our bachelor’s degree programmes. The most important common characteristics are:

  • All bachelor’s programmes are academic by nature. This is emphasised by each cluster of programmes having a so-called academic core - either scholarly of scientific - with a number of fixed subjects.
  • Each student should be challenged intellectually to break new ground, for instance, by participating in the honours programme or by spending time abroad.
  • Barring a limited number of motivated exceptions, each curriculum offers room for an optional choice of 30 European Credits (ECs). In this way, students can seek to expand their studies through minors or by gaining experience abroad.
  • Each bachelor’s programme has small-scale and intensive educational work forms, such as practicals, tutorials, and mentorships.
  • Students are expected to complete a three-year bachelor’s curriculum in a maximum of four years. At VU Amsterdam we consider it essential that our students use the stimulating social environment of our university to also develop themselves beyond the curriculum of the degree programme.
  • At the end of the first year, each student is given a Bindend Studieadvies (BSA) [binding recommendation regarding the next step in the student’s education]. During their first year, we expect our students to devote their time and attention primarily to their studies.
  • The nature of student counselling in the bachelor’s programme varies from intensive during the first and second semester, through less intensive during the third semester up to and including the fifth semester, to intensive in the sixth semester. Less intensive tutoring from the third to the fifth semester is aimed at training students to take on their own responsibilities.
  • Through realistic information and intensive introductions for incoming students, mismatching is minimised and students are placed in the correct educational trajectory as soon as possible.

The master’s degree programmes at VU Amsterdam tie in strongly with our university’s research function. Therefore, independently carrying out one’s own research project which terminates in a master’s thesis, forms a standard component of all master’s curricula. In areas where our university does not have research capacity with international visibility, we do not offer master’s programmes.

The admission requirement for a master’s programme is a relevant bachelor’s degree from our university or elsewhere. This is an excellent set-up for the cohort approach in which students not only start the study programme together but also complete it together, thus enhancing study discipline. For this reason, barring a few motivated exceptions, we do not provide a second enrolment opportunity once the academic year is under way. For master’s study programmes the norm is to graduate within the nominal study duration.