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The critical study of design and fashion

Are you interested in sustainable clothing, activist poster campaigns, authored chairs, 3D-printed bricks, design exhibitions, history, theory, research?

Then the Master’s in Arts & Culture: Design Cultures is the programme for you.

Check whether you meet the programme requirements and apply

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor’s degree, VU pre-master's or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    Direct admission to the master’s programme in Arts and Culture, with a specialisation in Design Cultures, is possible with an academic bachelor’s degree (WO) in MKDA, art history, art, industrial design, graphic design, architectural design or fashion.

    If you have an academic Bachelor’s degree in history, (visual) cultural studies, anthropology or sociology, you must have completed a minimum of 30 ECTS in the history and/or theory of the decorative arts, dress, design or fashion. Students with an interest in history and theory are particularly welcome.

    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 20-23 on each component.

    The TOEFL ITP will not be accepted

    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 (pre-master's)

    If you have an applied Bachelor’s degree (HBO) in design, you can apply for a a pre-master's programme. The pre-master’s programme is put together by the Admissions Board, based on your previous qualifications. Please note that the pre-master’s programme is only offered in Dutch and is not accessible for students who do not speak the language.

    If you have an applied Master’s degree (HBO-MA) in art, industrial design, graphic design, architectural design and fashion, you need to submit an application to the Admissions Board for assessment.

    English language requirements

    This pre-master's programme prepares students for an English specialisation of the MA Arts & Culture. It is required to present official test results proving your proficiency in English before the start of the pre-master'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 pre-master’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 pre-master's programme:

    • (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 20-23 on each component.

    The TOEFL ITP will not be accepted

    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 1 June 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 personal dashboard.

    In your personal dashboard you are required to upload an Application File. Please download the correct file from this page. In this file you can see which documents are required to apply for your programme.

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

    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.

    The Master’s programme in Arts and Culture with a specialisation in Design Cultures is designed for students with an academic Bachelor’s degree in design, fashion, art or (visual) cultural studies. You may also be accepted if you have an academic Bachelor’s degree in other disciplines of the Humanities (history, journalism, communication studies) or in anthropology or sociology, with a major or specialisation in design, fashion, art or visual culture (equal to a minimum of 30 ECTS). Students with a historical and theoretical interest in the broad field of design are particularly welcome.

    English language requirements

    If you are applying for one of our English-taught Master's degree programmes you will have to demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency by submitting English test results.  

    Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. 

    You can find an overview of all accepted tests and scores that can be used to demonstrate your English language proficiency on the language requirement page.

  • Application with an international degree

    Application documents

    To apply you are required to provide the following documents:

    • Scan of your passport or national ID card (ID for EEA students only) valid at the start date of the programme
    • Master Application File please download the correct file from this page. In this file you can see which documents are required to apply for your programme.
    • Proof of English language proficiency (if already obtained): upload your proof of English language proficiency or English language test results. Please find the English language requirements here.

    After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure

    Application fee & deadlines

    All students seeking admission to an international 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

    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

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

Call +31 (0)20 59 85020 (Mon – Fri: 10:30 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 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, stating your student number.

Also, make sure to take a look at our FAQ page - you might already find your question answered there.

Contact

  • Nina Vredegoor
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • masters.hum@vu.nl