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Connect humanities; reimagine research

Are you fascinated by the connections between your research field and societal issues? Are you looking for a career in research? And do you have a Bachelor’s degree in a discipline that’s related to your chosen track?

Then the Humanities Research Master’s might be the programme for you.
Check whether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

Admission requirements

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

    The Humanities Research Master programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in their specific field of humanities. To be admitted to the programme, you should have:

    • a Bachelor’s degree in an academic degree related to their chosen specialisation.
    • a proficient level of academic English, 
    • proof of excellent study results: outstanding grade for your bachelor’s thesis (7.5 or higher), and an average of no less than 7.5 for a relevant selection of your bachelor’s programme (to be decided by the Admission Board). 
    • and clear motivation for doing academic research.

    The two-year Research Master's is a good option for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD after their MA, but also more in general for students who cherish critical attitude, arrive at original lines of questioning based on a profound knowledge of their research subject, and wish to develop their research skills.

    Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. For further details regarding the admission requirements, see the Teaching and Examination Regulations.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Critical Studies in Art and Cultures
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in art history, architectural history, design studies, media studies, or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Global History
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in history, European studies, anthropology, political sciences, cultural studies, or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Literature and Contested Spaces
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in literary studies, classical languages, modern languages (German, English, French, Dutch), cultural studies with a literary profile, or a related academic degree.
    This track will not accept new admissions for 2023-2024. You might also be interested in our new track Environmental Humanities.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Linguistics

    • Human Language Technology: to be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics, computer science, or a related academic degree.
    • Forensic Linguistics: to be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics or a related bachelor's degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Philosophy
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Environmental Humanities
    Applicants who wish to follow the track Environmental Humanities must, in addition to the provisions in paragraph 1, also meet the following requirements with regard to:

    1. knowledge: a background in literature, art history, history, linguistics, or philosophy, or in an ecological science with a minimum of 30 EC in one of the fields of literature, art history, history, linguistics, or philosophy;
    2. understanding: an understanding of methodologies in the fields of literature, art, linguistics, history, or philosophy;
    3. skills: an ability to critically analyse a diversity of primary sources (e.g. literary texts, archival maps, artworks); an ability to find, process, and critically reflect on secondary literature; the capacity to present analytical and critical arguments (orally and in written form).

    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.

    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.

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

    Students with a higher professional education qualification cannot proceed directly to the Research Master’s programme. You will have to complete a Bachelor’s degree programme first.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree can apply via Studielink before 1 June for the master programme Humanities (research).

    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 specialization.

    Prepare documents and apply online

    Next to this, you'll need to provide several documents based on which we can decide whether you are admissible. The following required documents should be uploaded in your personal dashboard:

    • Motivation Letter: a letter explaining your motivation for the application. Please also integrate in this letter your first ideas as to the subject or field you would like to focus your research on (for instance in the context of tutorials and/or your thesis).
    • Transcript of records: a certified list of the academic results obtained to date (qualifications and lists of grades). The transcript of records should show that you received an outstanding grade for your bachelor’s thesis (7.5 or higher), and an average of no less than 7.5 for a relevant selection of your bachelor’s programme (to be decided by the Admission Board).
    • Curriculum Vitae

    Not a student of the Faculty of Humanities at VU Amsterdam?

    In addition to the above listed documents, you must also upload the following documents in your personal dashboard: 

    • A copy of your bachelor thesis or other papers/essays you have written that might be relevant for the research master’s programme of your choice.

    Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink. Admission may also depend on the results of a personal interview with the Admission Board about your motivation.

  • I have an international degree

    The Humanities Research Master's programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in their specific field of humanities.  

    To be admitted to the programme, you should have:

    • a Bachelor’s degree in an academic degree related to your chosen specialisation.
    • a proficient level of academic English, 
    • proof of excellent study results: outstanding grade for your bachelor’s thesis (7.5 or higher), and an average of no less than 7.5 for a relevant selection of your bachelor’s programme (to be decided by the Admission Board). 
    • and clear motivation for doing academic research.

    The two-year Research Master's is a good option for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD after their Master's, but also more in general for students who cherish critical attitude, arrive at original lines of questioning based on a profound knowledge of their research subject, and wish to develop their research skills.

    Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. For further details regarding the admission requirements, see the Teaching and Examination Regulations.

    Additional admission requirements per specialisation

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Critical Studies in Art and Cultures
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in art history, architectural history, design studies, media studies, or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Global History
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in history, European studies, anthropology, political sciences, cultural studies, or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Literature and Contested Spaces
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in literary studies, classical languages, modern languages (German, English, French, Dutch), cultural studies with a literary profile, or a related academic degree.
    This track will not accept new admissions for 2023-2024. You might also be interested in our new track Environmental Humanities.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Linguistics

    • Human Language Technology: to be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics, computer science, or a related academic degree.
    • Forensic Linguistics: to be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics or a related bachelor's degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Philosophy
    To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy or a related academic degree.

    Additional admission requirements for the specialisation Environmental Humanities
    Applicants who wish to follow the track Environmental Humanities must, in addition to the provisions in paragraph 1, also meet the following requirements with regard to:

    1. knowledge: a background in literature, art history, history, linguistics, or philosophy, or in an ecological science with a minimum of 30 EC in one of the fields of literature, art history, history, linguistics, or philosophy;
    2. understanding: an understanding of methodologies in the fields of literature, art, linguistics, history, or philosophy;
    3. skills: an ability to critically analyse a diversity of primary sources (e.g. literary texts, archival maps, artworks); an ability to find, process, and critically reflect on secondary literature; the capacity to present analytical and critical arguments (orally and in written form).

    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 which test types and scores are accepted, the deadlines for submitting test results and all other relevant information on our application page under the Language Proficiency Requirements tab. 

  • Application with an international degree

    Required format and required documents

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

    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.

    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

Send an email 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

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