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Better decisions for a better world

Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

Are you ambitious, highly motivated and engaged in societal issues? Do you have a strong academic track record, including proficiency in English and mathematics? And are you open to new ideas, with an international mindset? 

Then the Politics, Philosophy and Economics programme is for you. 

Academic year 2021-2022
VU Amsterdam expects all students to be able to attend classes on campus again as of September 2021. We look forward to meeting you on campus. Should the current events concerning Covid-19 in the Netherlands give rise to changes in (online) education, we will report it on the website.

Check whether you meet the admission requirements and apply

  • Selection

    The admission process for Philosophy, Politics and Economics is selective.
    We are looking for talented and ambitious students with an affinity for each of the disciplines who are motivated to contribute to the PPE community.

    To qualify for admission, you will need to satisfy the entry requirements and meet the specific selection criteria.

    Selection criteria
    As part of the application procedure you are asked to complete an online assessment form.
    Whether or not you will actually be offered a place in our programme will depend on your:

    • grade point average (GPA)
    • motivation and suitability to join our intensive study programme
    • commitment to contribute to the College’s international student and campus life

    The latter two will be determined based on your CV and your answer to our assessment questions, and possibly an additional interview (over Skype in case of international applicants). The selection committee evaluates your application file as a whole, considering all these factors.

    If in doubt whether you will meet all the admission requirements, you can always contact the International Student Advisor (international applications) or the PPE Admissions Officer (Dutch applications).

  • Admission requirements: non-Dutch previous education

    In addition to a strong motivation, your educational qualifications are assessed as part of the selection procedure. In order to be admissible you must meet our academic requirements as specified below.

    Academic requirements

    Applicants holding a non-Dutch pre-university diploma apply via the International Office. We will evaluate your application and and inform you of the admission decision from the Admission Board. If you do not yet meet the requirements but expect to do so in the future (such as obtaining your diploma), you can already apply and - if selected -  receive a conditional admission.

    Requirements that apply:
    1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university vwo-diploma
    See "Examples of accepted international diplomas" for a list of diplomas accepted as equivalent to the vwo-diploma level.
    Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

     2. A sufficient GPA
    We are looking for a Grade Point Average on your secondary school diploma that is equivalent to ≥ 7.0 in the Dutch grading system. If you have not graduated yet you can receive a conditional offer; we then calculate your GPA over the final two years of your secondary education at the moment of applying. In its assessment, the Admission Board will put special focus on grades obtained for relevant courses such as economics, mathematics, philosophy and politics. In order to receive an unconditional offer you will need to graduate with the required GPA. For examples of accepted GPA's you can check our PPE diploma list.

    3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    All courses in the PPE programme are conducted in English and, since the student community is highly international, most conversation and socialising occurs in English as well. Consequently, we require an English language test for all applications, unless you qualify for an exemption. You can already begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. You can find all accepted tests and scores on the language requirements page.

    PPE English language requirements.

    If you require a visa to study in the Netherlands, you must submit your test results before June 1st. If you do not need a visa to study in the Netherlands, you will need to show proof before August 15th. Your acceptance to the PPE programme will remain conditional until we have received proof of English proficiency. Please note that it can take a long time to receive your results, so plan your date accordingly, since you may want to leave yourself time to retake the exam.

    4. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
    After you apply for the programme and upload the required documents in the application portal, the International Student Advisor will evaluate your qualifications to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient.

    The courses in our programme use a significant amount of mathematics and even though we provide mathematics training in the methods courses, this training moves at a fast pace. In our experience we have found that a minimum level of prior mathematics proficiency is required. The International Office will determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient.

    These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in mathematics:

    • International Baccalaureate: Mathematics SL or HL, Applications & Interpretation HL, Analysis & Approaches SL or HL.
    • UK British GCE A-Level: A-level in Mathematics completed with a grade A, B or C.
    • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife including Mathematics Grundkurs as Prüfungsfach or Leistungskurs.

    For further examples you can check our PPE diploma list.

    Is your mathematics not sufficient?
    If you do not meet the mathematics requirement but have an otherwise strong application, you could still be accepted with a conditional offer. You would then be asked to participate in an entry test in mathematics. If participation in the exam is necessary this will be communicated to you in the offer letter.

    Mathematics Exams in the Netherlands
    Boswell-Bèta (Dutch and English. Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a Mathematics course in Dutch and in English with exams in December, May and July.
    CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX offers Mathematics exams equivalent to the Dutch VWO Mathematics A level for Dutch-speaking and English-speaking applicants.
    Online Mathematics Placement Test. The Online Mathematics Placement Test-A (OMPT-A ) offered by SOWISO is an online Mathematics test that you can take from home by means of online proctoring.

    A positive result for the Mathematics examination (5,5/10 in the mathematics A exam or 65% in the OMPT-A online exam) is compulsory for admission to the programme.


    If you have any questions about the application process or your eligibility, please contact the PPE International Student Advisor: Rosa Vijftigschild.

  • Examples of accepted international diplomas

    In our list of accepted diplomas you can find a list of examples of diplomas meeting the academic requirements. In the list you can find the name of the diploma, GPA and mathematics required listed per country.

    Is your diploma not included? Then first check if your diploma meets our diploma requirements.

    Please note that our diploma list may be updated for future intakes. No rights can be derived from this list and the final decision on admission will be determined by the Admission Board. 

    Not directly eligible for admission?

    If you do not meet the admission requirements, the following options are advised:

    • Start your academic studies at an accredited university in your home country and obtain relevant credits to meet our entry requirements.
    • If you meet the diploma and GPA requirement, but not the mathematics requirement, you could still be accepted with a conditional offer. You would then be asked to participate in an entry test in mathematics. If participation in the exam is necessary this will be communicated to you in the offer letter.
    • Foundation year programmes for international students: International students who do not meet the direct admission requirements for an undergraduate degree have the option of applying for a preparation programme at the Holland International Study Centre.  Students can choose to study the Business, Economics and Social Sciences International Foundation Year for progression to the Philosophy, Politics and Economics programme. Upon successful completion of the International Foundation Year programme, students can progress to the first year of PPE at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
  • Admission requirements: Dutch previous education

    If you have obtained or will obtain a Dutch diploma such as the VWO-diploma, please check the criteria on our Dutch webpage.

    Want to know more?
    If you have any questions about the application process or your eligibility, please contact

  • Application

    Note that for diplomas obtained outside of the Netherlands an application fee of €100 applies.
    Application fee payment options and possible exemptions

    Application documents

      • Scan of your passport or national ID card (ID for EEA students only) valid at the start date of the programme
      • The PPE assessment form; we use this assessment form instead of a letter of motivation
      • Diploma or Diploma Statement:
        - upload a scan of your obtained diploma
        - Not graduated yet? Ask your school to complete the Diploma Statement document
      • Proof of English language proficiency (if already obtained): upload your proof of English language proficiency or English language test results.
        PPE English language requirements
      • Transcript of records; a transcript of the grades obtained over the final two years of your high school and any further education up to the moment of your application.
        Your transcript of records can be in English, German, Dutch, French, Italian or Spanish. All other documents need be written in or translated into English. IB and A-level applicants are asked to also upload their official predicted grades if available. Applicants from the US education system are requested to include any obtained AP College Board exam scores. 

    Application deadline

    If you apply before 14 February, we aim to send you our admission decision within 4 weeks after you have received confirmation from the International Office that your application is complete. Note that during holiday times such as Christmas and in case we require further information from you (by e-mail or in a Skype/Zoom interview) the processing and decision time will increase. For applications received after the Early Bird deadline the decision time after confirmation of your file being complete will be 4-6 weeks.

    The final application deadline for non-EU/EEA students is 1 April  and for Dutch and EU students the final deadline is 1 May.
    Do you have a non-Dutch nationality? Then you may be eligible for housing  via the International Office Accommodation Services. An early application is then strongly recommended.

    Ready to apply?

    Great! Click here for the application procedure.

    Make sure to submit your application with all the abovementioned documents before the application deadline. Unfortunately, incomplete applications or documents that do not meet our conditions will not be taken into consideration. 


    If you have any questions about the application process or your eligibility, you can always contact the International Student Advisors Rosa Vijftigschild and Julia Tan (international diploma applications) or (Dutch diploma applications).

  • Foundation year

    International students who do not meet the direct admission requirements for a Bachelor’s programme at VU Amsterdam have the option to apply for a so called Foundation Year. This Foundation Year is a bridge programme for international students that studied the highest level of secondary education in their home country, but are not directly eligible for an academic Bachelor’s programme in the Netherlands.

  • Self-assessment test mathematics

    In order to help you prepare for the expected level of Mathematics required for PPE, VU Amsterdam has developed a self-assessment test. This diagnostic test is free of charge and its only purpose is to give you an idea of your proficiency in the subject. It lets you know how your current quantitative skills fit with the topics that will be covered in the methods course. If your current skills are lower than advised, the diagnostic test will also provide suggestions on how to improve (an online summer prep-campus in August). The self-assessment test and online courses are for preparation purposes only and do not replace the mathematic requirement in any way. 

  • Binding Study Advice (BSA)

    The BSA is an advice given to all Bachelor’s students on four occasions during their first year of studies concerning their study progress. The fourth recommendation, issued at the end of the first year, is binding in nature. To continue to the second year you must have obtained a certain number of credits.

    To receive a positive BSA for this study programme you must have obtained a minimum of 54 EC (credits) at the end of the first year of enrolment. Every student has access to an overview of the obtained study results and assessments are available for inspection after registration of the test result.

Want to know more?

General questions

Send an email to

Call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00)

Or send a Whatsapp message to +31682548367

International diploma applicants

International diploma applicants are welcome to send an email to or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisors of this programme

Applicants with a Dutch diploma can contact the PPE Admissions Officer via


  • Rosa Vijftigschild
  • International Student Advisor
  • John Stuart Mill College (PPE)
Rosa Vijftigschild