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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers hundreds of English-taught courses at both the Bachelor's and Master's level, ranging from arts & culture and social sciences, neurosciences and computer science, to economics and business administration.

Below is an overview of course offerings and minor programmes available to incoming exchange students.

Course offering

  • Exchange study guide

    Exchange students must always select courses from our exchange study guide. Selecting courses from our regular Bachelor's or Master's programmes is unfortunately not possible:

    Online study guide for exchange students 2021-2022

    Note that the exchange study guide is subject to change.

  • Exceptions

    Courses taught in Dutch
    If you wish to take Dutch-taught courses, you need to be sufficiently proficient in the Dutch language (C1 level). Attaining such a level of proficiency usually takes several years of study. If you wish to take courses taught in Dutch, please contact us at

    Courses for students from PPE partner universities
    If you are a PPE student from one of our PPE partners, you are allowed to also choose from a total of 18 courses from our PPE Bachelor's programme. You can find the overview of courses on the programme page in the VU study guide. Note, however, that your choice is limited to the second-year courses within the Track Philosophy 2nd Year, the Track Political Science 2nd Year & the Track Economics 2nd Year.

Minor programmes (first semester only)

Practical information

  • Entry requirements

    Many Bachelor's and Master's courses have specific entry requirements, which you can find in the exchange study guide.

    In addition to course specific entry requirements, students interested in following Master’s courses must also meet the admission requirements for the Master’s degree programme to which the course belongs. This includes a copy of your Bachelor’s diploma and submitted proof of an English proficiency test. 

    For more information please see our nomination and application procedure.

  • Courses and registration deadlines

    The International Office will ask you submit your course selection in advance. If approved, your course list will be made available in your VUweb account. Please note that you must still register for courses yourself in VUweb. Course registration for the first semester of each academic year will start in July. Course registration for the second semester will start in December. Any changes to your course selection must be emailed to before the registration deadlines (see "Semesters and periods").

  • Exams and resit exams

    When you register for courses in VUweb, you must also register for work groups (if applicable) and for the first exam. In the event of failing a course, you must register for the resit examination at least two weeks prior to the examination date.

  • Semesters and periods

    At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the academic year is divided into 2 semesters. Each semester is divided into 3 periods:

    Academic year 2021-2022

    1st semester (Fall)Calendar datesCourse registration & deadlinesDe-registration deadline
    Period 16 September - 29 October26 July until 13 September13 September
    Period 21 November - 24 December27 September until 18 October8 November
    Period 310 January - 4 February29 November until 13 December17 January
    2nd semester (Spring)

    Period 47 February - 1 April20 December until 17 January14 February
    Period 54 April - 3 June20 December until 7 March 11 April
    Period 66 June - 1 July20 December until 9 May13 June

    For details about our semester dates, please consult our academic calendar:

    Academic calendar 2021-2022

  • Dutch grading system

    Dutch grades range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Grades of 5.5 and higher are passing grades. The highest grade, 10, is very rarely awarded. An 8 is considered a high mark and a 7 is more common. Grades from 1 to 3 are also quite rare.

    ECTS %Quality AssessmentDutch grade
    10%Excellent/Very good8.0 - 10.0
    25%Good7.5 - 7.9
    30%More than satisfactory7.0 - 7.4
    25%Satisfactory6.5 - 6.9
    10%Sufficient5.5 - 6.4
     Fail0.0 - 5.4
  • Credits (ECTS)

    VU Amsterdam uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) which is based on the workload students should have in order to achieve expected learning outcomes. ECTS is based on the principle that 30 ECTS credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one semester (and 60 ECTS for a full academic year). In addition, each ECTS credit is equivalent to 28 study hours (which includes both classroom hours as well as self-study). Most courses are 6 ECTS credits.

    If you are nominated on a faculty contract, you are expected to follow the majority of your courses at that faculty with a minimum of 18 ECTS out of 30. Additionally, you are allowed to follow 12 ECTS at other faculties, provided you have the relevant academic background. As an exchange student, you must take a minimum of 24 ECTS credits per semester (or 48 ECTS for the whole academic year).

  • Dutch language courses

    The Department of Dutch as a Second Language (NT2 Academy) offers extensive Dutch language courses for exchange students. These courses cover eight weeks and take place two evenings a week. In addition to attending these class hours students are also expected to commit at least five hours of self-study per week. Exchange students can obtain 3.5 ECTS for completing this course. Please note that there are costs involved. As an (exchange) student you get a discount on the course fee.

Do you have any questions about our exchange programme?

During your stay in Amsterdam, you can either contact us through e-mail or visit us during the office hours of the International Service Desk (currently closed due to Covid-19).

If you have questions about the exchange programme, you can schedule a 15-minute appointment by phone with a member of the incoming exchange team. You can book an appointment on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 1 and 2 PM, Dutch standard time. Please use our online tool to schedule an appointment.


  • Arnold Pannenborg
  • Incoming Exchange Officer
Arnold Pannenborg, International Officer
  • Neira Becar
  • Incoming Exchange Officer
Neira Becar, International Officer
  • Karoline von dem Berge
  • Incoming Exchange Officer
Karoline von dem Berge, International Officer