If so, the Master’s Theology and Religious Studies at VU Amsterdam is for you.
Study the societal impact of religion and theology
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 on 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 2022-2023 academic year, in other words no later than August 31st 2023. 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, 216 of the HBO Bachelor’s programme that confers entitlement to admission or at least 24 EC of the bridging or pre-Master’s programme, in all of these cases 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 2023 or before you obtain the Master’s degree certificate, whichever comes first. If this condition is not met, you will not be able to continue or complete the Master’s programme.
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.
* Non-EEA students who have to complete a bachelor's programme outside the Netherlands cannot enroll using this scheme.
All conditions can be found in the Addendum Pertaining to the 2022-2023 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.
- Do you want to start a Master’s programme in September? Complete and submit this form.
- Do you Do you want to start a Premaster’s programme in September? Complete and submit 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.
Please note that you are expected to obtain all missing credits in the academic year 2022-2023 (before 1 September 2023), and will therefore have a higher study load. Also don't forget to re-enrol for your current programme, as you will not be able to graduate otherwise!
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 accepted for one of our Master’s tracks, you need to have at least the following two qualifications:
- a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Social Studies or related studies, Humanities, Psychology or Law; this will need to have been obtained from an accredited research university. You must have at least three full years of academic study, amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. You may also apply if you have a Bachelor’s degree in a different discipline provided it is from a research-oriented university; in this case you will need to do a premaster’s programme in Theology and/or Religious Studies.
- an introduction to World Religions, non-Christian Religions or Religious Literacy. This could be part of your Bachelor’s degree, a separate course or the do-it-yourself course Religious Literacy on https://online-learning.harvard.edu/course/religious-literacy-traditions-and-scriptures. If you do the Harvard mooc, make sure that you do the test and receive a certificate in time.
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 Religion and Theology.
Applicants should demonstrate that they have 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:
- (academic) IELTS: 6.5
- TOEFL paper based test: 580
- TOEFL internet based test 92
- 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
- have obtained a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or a Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) with at least a score of A, B or C, or
- have a Dutch vwo diploma
are exempted from the above requirements.
I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (premaster)
Dutch students with an appropriate HBO degree (and international students with the equivalent) can apply for a premaster’s programme in Theology and/or Religious Studies. Our Admission Board will have to approve your application.
Dutch students with an appropriate HBO degree (and international students with the equivalent) can register via Studielink for the premaster Theology & Religious Studies until 1 June at the latest. First select 'Bachelor's or other non-master's programs' in Studielink and then the pre-master.
After registering in Studielink, you will receive an email with your login codes for your personal Dashboard on VU.nl within two days. Complete your registration in your personal dashboard, and enter your specialization.
English Language Requirements
Prospective students of the premaster’s programme Theology and Religious Studies (with the exception of students who would like to do the track Spiritual Care in the Master’s programme Theology and Religious Studies (1 year)) 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 premaster’s programme:
- (academic) IELTS: 6.5
- TOEFL paper-based test: 580
- TOEFL internet-based test: 92
Prospective students will be exempted from the above requirements if:
- they have completed their secondary or tertiary education in English in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.
- they 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).
- they hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited English-language degree programme in an EU country.
- they 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
If you want to apply for and enrol in a master's programme at VU Amsterdam, the procedure you need to follow depends on your prior education and whether you obtained your diploma in the Netherlands or abroad.
Please first check whether or not you are eligible for this programme and then apply.
You can apply for the Master's programme Theology & Religious Studies via Studielink. The application deadline is: 1 June.
If you have a Dutch diploma, follow this application procedure.
I have an international degree
The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.
In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.
Students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology or Religious Studies from a university abroad will only be admitted following an assessment of their degree by the admissions board.
Students with Bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines are also welcome to apply, provided that the degree obtained is from a research-oriented university. Before the start of the academic year the student needs to have an intake with the coordinator of the specialization. The aim of this intake is to discuss possible deficiencies in theological knowledge of the student.
English language requirements
VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can, however, begin your application without having the test results. Exceptions are made for students who have completed a bachelor or master in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.
The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to this master programme are:
Please note that students who need a study visa must submit their English test results before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate before 31 August (preferably sooner).
TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Note that TOEFL MyBestScore is not accepted. Our institution code is 7947.
A PDF copy of your English language test results can be sent to the following email (for non-Dutch degree holders): firstname.lastname@example.org
The general requirements regarding language proficiency can be found here.
Application with an international degree
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.
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.
Step 3: Await the decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about three 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: email@example.com.
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!
International diploma applicants