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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

  • Coronavirus: additional information admission

    Generally speaking, students* must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘Ba-before-Ma rule’. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

    Under certain conditions exceptions to this Ba-before-Ma rule can be made for Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam. This means that students who meet these conditions and are lacking credits for no more than a few courses, will still be able to start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2021-2022 academic year, in other words no later than August 31st 2022. Please read carefully below which rules apply for admission into this Master’s programme.

    The following rules apply this year for admission into this Master’s programme:

    • You have earned at least 162 EC of the wo Bachelor’s programme that confers entitlement to admission, 216 of the hbo Bachelor’s programme that confers entitlement to admission or at least or at least 80% of the total EC of the bridging or pre-Master’s programme. In all of these cases you must have completed your bachelor thesis or other final work in order to qualify for this scheme.
    • You must complete all educational components of your current programme before 1 September 2022 or before you obtain the Master’s degree certificate, whichever comes first. If this condition is not met, you will not be able to continue or complete the Master’s programme.
    • Are you enrolled in a switching or premaster program? Then you must have completed the module Academic Skills/Academische vaardigheden before the start of the master’s degree.

    For students who come in through an integrated programme, an additional requirement is that a maximum of 6 EC may still be open at the start of the master's programme.

    *The above supplements do not apply to non-EEA students who must complete a Bachelor’s programme outside of the Netherlands.

    All conditions can be found in the Addendum Pertaining to the 2021-2022 Teaching and Examination Regulations

    Request exceptional admission
    Do you meet these conditions or do you expect to meet these conditions by 31 August at the latest? If so, you can request exceptional admission no later than 1 August.

    • Do you want to start a Master’s programme in September? Complete and submit this form.
    • Do you Do you want to start a Premaster’s programme in September? Complete and submit this form.

    Do you not yet meet all of the criteria, but do you expect to meet them by August 31st at the latest? Please apply for exceptional admission already.

    This scheme is meant for students that were faced with unavoidable study delay as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Please note that you are expected to obtain all missing credits in the academic year 2021-2022 (before 1 September 2022), and will therefore have a higher study load.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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 <aster’s programme in Studielink, within two days you will receive emails with your login details for VUnet (the VU student portal). Please complete your application in VUnet . Don’t forget to fill in your specialisation on Vunet.

    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 VUnet!

    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 following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

    • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Motivation Letter
    • Transcript of records
    • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
    • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature. You can use this format

    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:

    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 or

    Student Ambassadors

    Some International students are happy to tell you about their experience with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various Bachelor's and Master's programmes.

    Our Student Ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam.

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:

For general questions, please send an e-mail to

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 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, please contact the Student Desk: