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The ethics behind medical decisions

Are you fascinated by the ethical debate surrounding healthcare? Do you have a Bachelor’s degree in health sciences, medicine, psychology or biomedical sciences? And are you ambitious, self-disciplined and up for a challenge?

Then the Master’s in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health may be the programme for you. Check whether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

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 or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    To be admitted to the programme, you should:

    • have a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, Psychology, or related disciplines.
    • be eligible to one of the three Health-related Master's programmes: Medicine, Psychology, or Health Sciences. Most of our students aim at obtaining two Master's degrees, that is to say Philosophy, Bioethics and Health as well as a Master’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, or Psychology (another health-related Master's degree may also lead to admissibility, this is up to the Admission Board).

    Part of the PBH-programme consists of courses that are offered by the Departments of Medicine, Psychology, and Health Sciences. Therefore it is a requirement that PBH-students are admissible to one of these three Master's programmes, too. It is recommended to enroll in two Master's programmes (PBH and: Medicine, Psychology, or Health sciences).

    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 VU Amsterdam:

    • (academic) IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 on each item;
      Note: the IELTS Online Academic and the online IELTS Indicator tests are not accepted.
    • TOEFL paper based test: 600, with a minimum of 55 on each component and 4.0 in TWE;
      Note: TOEFL ITP tests are not accepted
    • TOEFL internet based test: 100, with a minimum of 20-23 on each component.
      Note: TOEFL Essentials and TOEFL iBT Home Edition are not accepted. MyBestScore is also not accepted.

    The TOEFL ITP will not be accepted

    Applicants 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 are exempted from the above requirements.
  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (pre-master)

    Students with a higher vocational education qualification (hbo) cannot proceed directly to the Master’s programme in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree can apply via Studielink before 1 June for the Master’s programme Bioethics and Health under the label Filosofie 2 jaar/Philosophy 2 years.  

     If you haven't obtained 30 ECTS in a health-related discipline at a Masters level yet, then make sure you apply for one of the three Health- related Masters; Medicine, Psychology, or Health Sciences or another health- related discipline before the required app

    If you have a Dutch diploma, follow this application procedure.

    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 by email within two days. Please complete your application in your personal dashboard. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization.

    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.

    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

    To be admitted to the programme, you should:

    • have a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine, Health Sciences, Psychology, or related disciplines.
    • be eligible and admitted to a health-related Master’s programme at the Faculty of Science, VU Amsterdam.

    Part of the PBH-programme consists of courses (30EC in total) that are offered by a health-related Master's programme from our Faculty of Science. This means that it is mandatory to be admitted to one of the health-related Master programmes at the Faculty of Science (*alternatively, students who have already finished a health-related Master programme can also apply to the programme).

    We highly recommend you to check your choice of programme with the International Student Advisor ( in order to see whether the health-related Master programme of your choice is a good fit for the Master in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health.

    This means that you should take the following steps:

    • check whether you satisfy the admission requirements of one of our health-related programmes
    • apply for a health-related Master programme and receive admission
    • apply for the programme in Philosophy, Bioethics and Health
    • complete your enrolment for both Master programmes: 1. Philosophy, Bioethics and Health and 2. a health-related Master programme. If you are not admitted and enrolled to a health-related Master programme at VU Amsterdam, you will not be able to successfully finish and graduate from Philosophy, Bioethics and Health.

    Please be aware that EU students pay the tuition fee once for both programmes. Non-EU students, however, have to pay two tuition fees as long as they are enrolled in two Master programmes. More information about the tuition fees.

    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 or

    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: 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:

If you have questions about the tuition fee, Studielink or your personal dashboard on, please contact the Student Desk:, 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 or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisor of this programme

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


  • Nina Vredegoor
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Humanities