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Don't just become something, become someone at VU Amsterdam

How is the world changing today and what will it look like tomorrow?

With the course ‘A Broader Mind’, we challenge you to look at knowledge, society and at yourself with a broader perspective.

Knowledge is becoming increasingly accessible, society is facing complex challenges, and the role and significance of the university is under debate. How do we remain relevant in a world where science is dismissed as merely an opinion? With the course A Broader Mind, we are responding today to the developments of tomorrow. The unique identity of VU Amsterdam is paramount in this: a diverse student population, socially oriented, strong interdisciplinary research and a campus in the heart of the Zuidas business district.

We at VU Amsterdam believe it is important that we offer students the opportunity to develop more broadly, from an academic, personal and social perspective. We teach our students to play a meaningful role in the world. At VU Amsterdam, you will not simply become something, but rather someone. That is why in the course A Broader Mind, you will not only think about yourself and who you are, but also about your role in society and how you relate to others. Now more than ever, it is important that you take a broader view than just your own discipline. This way, you will be better prepared to face the challenges of the future.

  • What is A Broader Mind?
    - A Broader Mind goes beyond the boundaries of your study programme or discipline. You will work together with students from other study programmes, so you learn to approach issues from different disciplinary perspectives. Covering eight different themes related to current social issues, you and your fellow students from across VU Amsterdam will work on A Broader Mind together—online, offline and sometimes hands-on. This will help you develop yourself academically, socially and personally. And you will be contributing to a better world.
    - A Broader Mind is closely linked to Community Service Learning (CSL), where you learn as a student how to better apply the academic knowledge and skills you have acquired to improve society. Want to know more about Community Service Learning? Find out here.
  • Why take the course A Broader Mind?
      • You will work on interesting themes—multidisciplinary themes that play an important role in our daily lives and that extend beyond your discipline. You will examine them from personal, academic and social perspectives. This will help you get the best out of yourself.
      • You will choose from two tracks with four societal themes. In track A, you will address The Human Body, Poverty, Rebellion, and Success. Track B covers The Digital World, Health & Happiness, Sustainability, and Viewpoints & Worldview. You will spend two weeks on each theme.
      • You will alternate between online and offline activities. View inspiring videos, read articles and chat with other students in the online forum. Then complete a challenge in which you also seek to be confronted with yourself. You will finish with an event.
      • You will work together with students from other programmes. This will help you broaden your horizons by learning to approach societal issues from different scientific and personal perspectives.
      • You will become more aware of your own roles and behaviour. With social issues, you are often a contributor to the issue. So, you are also part of the solution. This realisation helps us change and improve the world together.
      • You will strengthen your CV and network. By further developing your abilities and working together with other students, you will automatically strengthen your network, your CV and therefore your future prospects.

The course is available to first-, second and third-year Bachelor's students. The language of instruction is English and when you successfully complete the course, you will receive a certificate.

Curious about the program? You can email us with all your questions: