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Understand today’s world by studying the past

History and International Studies

When did we start worrying about climate change? How did decolonization influence the relationship between Europe and Asia? How can we understand the current increase in globalization?

The Bachelor's degree programme History: History and International Studies at VU Amsterdam is a unique programme combining approaches from history and the social sciences to understand how societies have been connected throughout history. The programme offers a combination of history courses, modern language units and research skills from the fields of global history and international relations. A highly motivated staff, strongly committed to teaching excellence and the learning experience of their students, teaches it.

Courses discuss the history of Europe and the world from antiquity to the present. Students can also choose electives that cover a great variety of themes, such as Global Political Economy, Transatlantic Connections and Environmental History. In addition, students can take courses in modern languages, learn about different approaches from the fields of international relations and global history, and are trained in academic skills. In Year 3, students can study a semester abroad, take an internship or choose a minor.

The small scale of the programme offers close interaction between students and staff, several of whom have won University Teaching Awards for outstanding performance and dedication to undergraduate education at the VU. The staff of History and International Studies cooperates with different public and private organizations as well as with the Rijksmuseum, Tropenmuseum, the Anne Frank Huis and many other international, research and heritage institutions. The University is located in Amsterdam, a city with international and historical allure. 

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Facts and Figures

First year

In the first year, you acquire a solid foundation of knowledge on Western and non-Western history, from antiquity to recent times. You analyse primary sources, conduct research and write papers, developing your skills along the way. You also take a number of general courses, including Academic Skills for Historians, and more specialised courses, such as Current Debates in Global History, which reflects on global inequality and the advance of China from a historical and current perspective.

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

Second year

In the second year, you specialise by choosing courses on themes that interest you. The relationship between Europe and the United States? The history of climate change? The rise and fall of world empires? You also take several compulsory courses that focus on skills development, as well as two courses in a modern language of your own choosing. Options include Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan Arabic.

Subjects

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

Third year

The third year is dedicated to deepening your knowledge and writing your thesis. In the first semester, you can do an internship, study abroad or follow a minor at VU Amsterdam. In the second semester, you take a research course on International Organizations and write your thesis on a topic of your own choosing. This is your chance to demonstrate what you have learnt and share your views. Once you successfully complete your Bachelor’s programme, you are ready to move on to the Master’s.

Subjects

You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

  • 1st year

    First year

    In the first year, you acquire a solid foundation of knowledge on Western and non-Western history, from antiquity to recent times. You analyse primary sources, conduct research and write papers, developing your skills along the way. You also take a number of general courses, including Academic Skills for Historians, and more specialised courses, such as Current Debates in Global History, which reflects on global inequality and the advance of China from a historical and current perspective.

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

    Subjects

  • 2nd year

    Second year

    In the second year, you specialise by choosing courses on themes that interest you. The relationship between Europe and the United States? The history of climate change? The rise and fall of world empires? You also take several compulsory courses that focus on skills development, as well as two courses in a modern language of your own choosing. Options include Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan Arabic.

    Subjects

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

  • 3rd year

    Third year

    The third year is dedicated to deepening your knowledge and writing your thesis. In the first semester, you can do an internship, study abroad or follow a minor at VU Amsterdam. In the second semester, you take a research course on International Organizations and write your thesis on a topic of your own choosing. This is your chance to demonstrate what you have learnt and share your views. Once you successfully complete your Bachelor’s programme, you are ready to move on to the Master’s.

    Subjects

    You can find the complete course overview for this year in the Study guide. There you can also download an overview of your programme (see ‘download your schedule’).

Change your future with the History and International Studies programme

After the Bachelor’s, you can specialise further by following a Master’s programme. As a graduate of History, you could work at a research institute, university, heritage institution, media companies or in government, for example as a researcher, teacher, journalist or policy advisor. 

Explore your future prospects