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The moral philosophy behind legal systems

Are you brimming with questions about the mechanics behind legal systems? Are you an independent, critical thinker who enjoys reading and research? And do you have a Bachelor’s in Law or a subject with legal credits?

Then the Master’s in Philosophy of Law and Governance may 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.

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 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.
    • You must demonstrate before 1 September 2021 that you are eligible for a (different) scientific Master's degree programme (which may be subject to different exceptional admission requirements).

    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 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.

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

    To be admitted to the programme, you should have a Bachelor’s degree in Law. With a broad university Bachelor's with a legal track of at least 60 EC (such as Liberal Arts and Sciences or PPLE) you may also be eligible for admission. The Admissions Committee will invest this. 

    Do you have another university Bachelor's degree that is relevant to the specialization you want to follow? And do you have knowledge and insight into a sub-area of ​​law, at least at the level of the final attainment levels of the VU Bachelor's Rechtsgeleerdheid? And can you demonstrate this with at least 60 ECs in legal courses or knowledge or experience gained in the legal field? Then you may be eligible for admission. This will be investigated by the Admissions Committee.

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

    Students with a higher vocational education qualification (hbo) cannot proceed directly to the Master’s programme in Philosophy of Law and Governance.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

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

    If you have a Dutch diploma, follow this application procedure

    What happens after I have applied?
    After you have applied for the Master's programme in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU Amsterdam studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet.

    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 Law. With a broad university bachelor with a legal track of at least 60 EC (such as Liberal Arts and Sciences or PPLE) you may also be eligible for admission. The Admissions Committee will invest this. 

    Do you have another university Bachelor's degree that is relevant to the specialisation you want to follow? And do you have knowledge and insight into a sub-area of ​​law, at least at the level of the final attainment levels of the VU Bachelor Rechtsgeleerdheid? And can you demonstrate this with at least 60 ECs in legal courses or knowledge or experience gained in the legal field? Then you may be eligible for admission. This will be investigated by the Admissions Committee.

    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.

    • Transcript of records (scan from original)
    • Course descriptions (i.e. for courses related to the discipline of the Master, and for courses on general academic skills). You can use this format
    • List of literature (the most important literature used for the courses)
    • CV
    • Motivation letter (max. one A4)
    • Thesis or sample of academic writing

    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

For general questions, please send an e-mail 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

Send an e-mail to: studentdesk@vu.nl

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