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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.

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.

Admission requirements

  • 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. 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 you fail to meet this condition, you will not be able to continue or complete the Master’s programme.
    • At the start of the master's programme, the grade average for all the bachelor’s educational components obtained must be at least 7.5.

    *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 using 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)

    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.

    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.

  • 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 June 1st for the master programme Humanities (research).

    After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet.

    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 send to toelating.fgw@vu.nl:

    • 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 e-mail the following documents to toelating.fgw@vu.nl:

    • An application form (Dutch)
    • 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.

    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.

    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
    • hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture from a Dutch university, or
    • hold a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Society with a degree in English: Literature and Society obtained at the VU, or
    • completed a minor in English at the VU Amsterdam and obtained 30 EC or more.

    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: a letter explaining your motivation for the application and an indication of your desired research focus.
    • 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).
    • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
    • 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 theprogramme, 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.

    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: vu.nl/ambassadors. 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: toelating.fgw@vu.nl.

Are you applying with a non-Dutch diploma? You can contact the International Student Advisor of the Faculty of Humanities, Irena Paap: masters.hum@vu.nl

International students are also welcome to call the International Student Advisor of the Faculty of Humanities, Irena Paap: +31 20 598 5252

Do you have any other questions?

For general questions, please send an email to contact@vu.nl.

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

Or send a Whatsapp message to +31682548367