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Study the art of the present

Arts & Culture: Contemporary Art History

Are you interested in the art of the present?

Then the Master’s in Arts and Culture: Contemporary Art History is the programme 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 programme requirements and apply

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor’s degree, VU premaster or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    Direct admission to the master's programme in Arts and Culture, with a specialisation in Contemporary Art History, is possible with an academic bachelor's degree (WO) in art history or equivalent (such as the VU’s own MKDA programme).

    If you have an academic bachelor’s degree in the Humanities (history, media studies, philosophy, cultural studies), you must have completed a minimum of 60 ECTS in art history/theory. You must submit application to the Admissions Board, who will decide if you are directly admissible or if you qualify for a premaster’s programme.

    English language requirements

    All lectures and student presentations are in English, all written assignments as well. Therefore all prospective students must be proficient in English. 

    You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. You can apply online without having the test results, but in case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities.

    An applicant should demonstrate that he or she has sufficient level of proficiency in English by meeting at least one of the following standards, no more than two (2) years before the start of the programme at the VU:

    • (academic) IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 on each item;
    • TOEFL paper based test: 600, with a minimum of 55 on each component and 4.0 in TWE;
    • TOEFL internet based test: 100, with a minimum of 22-23 on each component.

    Exemptions from providing the English test scores are applicable to students, who:

    • completed an English-taught secondary or higher education degree in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or - have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an English-taught programme accredited by NVAO in the Netherlands, or
    • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in another member state of the European Union, or
    • have a Dutch VWO diploma, or
    • have obtained a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or a Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with a score of A, B, C

    The VU courses Academic English: Grammar and Academic English: Writing (or similar courses at another university) are strongly recommended in your Bachelor's programme.

  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (premaster)

    If you have a related applied Bachelor’s degree (HBO) with at least 30 ECTS in art history or art theory, you can apply for the premaster's programme.

    Language requirements

    Please note that the premaster’s programme is only offered in Dutch and is not accessible for students who do not speak the language.

    The premaster’s programme also prepares for an English specialisation of the MA Arts & Culture. Therefore it is also required to to present official test results proving your proficiency in English before the start of the premaster’s programme. You can apply online without having the test results, but in case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment.

    Prospective students of the premaster’s programmes will need to prove their English is sufficient by satisfying at least one of the following criteria, no more than two years before the start of the premaster programme:

    a. (academic) IELTS: 6.5

    b. TOEFL paper-based test: 580

    c. TOEFL internet-based test 92

    Exemptions from providing the English test scores are applicable to students, who:

    a. have completed their secondary or tertiary education in English in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

    b. hold an English-language degree from a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme in the  Netherlands that has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).

    c. hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited English-language degree programme in an EU country.

    d. have a Dutch VWO diploma

    e. have passed the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) and have achieved a score of A, B or C.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree can apply for the Master’s programme before June 1st via Studielink under the label Kunst- en Cultuurwetenschappen (Arts and Culture).

    What happens after I have applied?

    After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive your login details for your personal dashboard on vu.nl by email within two days. Please complete your application in your personal dashboard. Don’t forget to fill in your specialisation in your dashboard.

    During this step, you will be asked to upload the following documents:

    • Transcript of records (scan of the original)
    • Course descriptions (i.e. for courses related to the discipline of the master’s programme, and for courses on general academic skills)
    • List of literature (the most important literature used for the courses)
    • CV

    Please prepare these documents before you start filling out your application in your personal dashboard.

    Please note: students of the Faculty of Humanities at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam do NOT need to upload these documents.

    Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

  • I have an international degree

    Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admissions Board will decide on your admission after evaluating your complete online application. In order to gain admission to any specialisation of the Arts and Culture Master’s programme, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university. Your degree should include at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or the equivalent.

    Direct admission to the Master's programme in Arts and Culture, with a specialisation in Contemporary Art History, is possible with an academic Bachelor's degree (WO) in art history, MKDA, or an equivalent degree. If you have an academic Bachelor’s degree in the Humanities (history, media studies, philosophy, cultural studies), you must have completed a minimum of 60 ECTS in art history/theory. You must also submit a complete application for review by the Admissions Board.

    Due to a lack of distinction between applied and academic universities abroad, the level of academic theory that you have studied will be determined based on your course descriptions, literature lists and a sample of academic writing.

    English language requirements

    You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. You can apply online without having the test results, but in case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

    • TOEFL score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 (in each of the subtests).
    • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
    • Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam with score A, B, or C; or Cambridge Advanced Exam with score A, B, or C.

    Exemptions from providing the English test scores are applicable to students, who:

    • have completed an English-taught secondary or higher education degree in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia; or
    • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an English-taught programme accredited by NVAO in the Netherlands, or
    • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in another member state of the European Union

    The required evidence should, if possible, be included with the complete application. If either unsatisfactory or no evidence of English language proficiency has been provided with the application, admission will be conditional upon the provision of such evidence. This condition will be clearly indicated on the offer letter and must be fulfilled before enrolment at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    See the Admission and language requirements page for further information on the general requirements.

  • Application with an international degree

    If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your original documents are required.

    The application deadlines are:

    • 1 June for non-Dutch EU/EEA students
    • 1 June for holders of a Dutch Bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality)
    • 1 April for non-EU/EEA students*

    *non-EU/EEA students who do not need a study visa and/or a residence permit can still apply until 1 June

    Step 1: Review the admission criteria

    Step 2: Prepare your documents and apply online 

    Please prepare the required documents and arrange the payment of the application fee, a non-refundable €100 application fee applies. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

    Required format and required documents
    Please note: you will need to upload all required documents in one PDF file, using this template.

    After preparing the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

    Step 3: Await the decision on admission

    The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted to the programme, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email.

    Step 4: Finalise your registration!

    Make sure to finalise your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation on what to do after you are admitted. When all of the conditions are met, you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

    Application fee & deadlines

    All students seeking admission to an international Bachelor’s or Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.

    Information on how to apply with an international university degree and deadlines can be found here.
    For more information, international students may also contact the International Student Advisor: masters.hum@vu.nl.

    Grants and scholarships

    As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on www.vu.nl/scholarships or www.grantfinder.nl.

    International Student and Alumni Ambassadors

    Our International Student and Alumni Ambassadors are happy to tell you all about their experiences with studying at VU Amsterdam and living in Amsterdam.

    • Our Student Ambassadors are current students at VU Amsterdam that represent a wide variety of programmes and countries.
    • Our International Alumni Ambassadors are VU Amsterdam graduates who are currently either working in the Netherlands or abroad, or doing a PhD or (second) Master's.

    You will find the full overview of our Ambassadors here: vu.nl/ambassadors. There you can chat with them directly.

Want to know more?

Don't hesitate to contact us!

Are you applying with a Dutch diploma? You can contact the Educational Office of the Faculty of Humanities for questions and practical information: toelating.fgw@vu.nl

For general questions, please send an e-mail to contact@vu.nl.

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

International diploma applicants

International diploma applicants are welcome to send an e-mail to masters.hum@vu.nl or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisor of this programme

If you have questions about the tuition fee, Studielink or your personal dashboard on VU.nl, please contact the Student Desk: studentdesk@vu.nl

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