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Honours Programma Faculty of Social Sciences

Are you an excellent student? Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Take on an extra challenge by joining the Honours Programme! By joining this programme you will get access to specially designed courses that will broaden your perspective. The programme offers an excellent opportunity to prepare for scientific research within the faculty. When you succesfully complete all parts of the programme, you will receive a Bachelor Honours’ Degree.

In short

Ambitious students who perform above average during the first year of their studies are eligible for the Honours Programme. The programme consists of additional courses (a total of 30 ECTS) of which 18 ECTS are courses open to all Honours students at the VU and 12 ECTS are course specific to the Faculty of Social Sciences. The latter are meant to deepen your knowledge within your own field of study.


Would you like more information to decide whether the Honours Programme fits your needs? Please contact Dieneke van der Meulen of the FSS Education Office.

Pelin Zenginoglu - Honours Programme student

Pelin Zenginoglu - Honours Programme student

The HP gave me a lot of insights in other fields of the academic world, which enriched my way of thinking and doing research. To give an example: I learned new ways of doing field work, by going on a field trip to Istanbul and working on this for five days straight. This skill I used for one of my regular courses where I had to do observatory field work again".

More information about the programme

  • Benefits and added value

    The Honours Programme is an extra challenge for highly motivated students. What is the added value of the HP?

    • You follow special courses that have been developed for the HP and will complete the programme within the three years of your Bachelor's degree.
    • You participate in courses given at the VU, UvA and AUC, which are only accessible to HP students.
    • You immerse yourself in exciting subjects outside of your own discipline.
    • You work in small groups and are taught by top academics, therefore the speed and level of the courses will be high
    • You meet other HP students within your own faculty and discipline.
    • You learn to collaborate with HP students from other faculties. 
    • An excellent CV!

    And beyond that:

    • Participate in a special and festive Graduation Event. 
    • Become a member of Extensus, a study association for HP students who organize study trips, Master classes and other activities. 
    • Gain access to a large Alumni network; very useful to your career and personal life

    And... a small group of HP students are eligible for the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School: 5 weeks of study at a prestigious university in China! Your grades must be >8 average. There is a selection procedure, because a maximum of 100 Dutch students can participate, usually an average of 5-8 VU students are selected to participate. If you are selected, you will follow an intensive preparation process. The personal contribution is 1150 euro excl. personal expenses.

  • For whom and when

    You are eligible if you have secured all credits from your first year and have been awarded with a weighted average grade of at least a 7.5. In a weighted average a 12 ECTS course counts twice as much as a 6 ECTS course. If you have a 7.3 or more, you may apply for a wildcard. If the wildcard is granted, at the end of the HP you still have to meet the conditions to be able to graduate with Honours. All honours courses you pass appear as extracurricular courses on your BSc diploma. Upon successfully completing the entire programme, you receive a special BSc diploma stating that you have participated in the VU Honours Programme, and that you have completed your BSc degree within three years, with an average of at least 7.5 for your BSc courses and with an increased study load of 30 EC of honours courses. A successful completion of the Honours Programme is a great addition to your CV and increases your future opportunities.


    In principle, you follow the HP in year 2 and 3 of your bachelor's degree. There are two compulsory courses within the Faculty of Social Sciences, the other courses you follow outside the faculty. These are courses that are offered on a VU-wide basis. There is a very wide range of subjects you can choose from. You incorporate these into your study plan yourself. First-year students who are already looking for an extra challenge can register earlier to take an HP course in the second semester.

  • Courses and structure

    What courses can I take?
    When you enrol in the FSS Honours Programme, you will take both interdepartmental courses (a total of 18 ECTS) and faculty courses (a total of 12 ECTS).

    Interdepartmental Courses
    The programme offered to all Honours students (interdepartmental courses) at the VU consists of a large number of interesting courses you can choose from! An overview can be found on

    These interdisciplinary courses are taught mainly in the evening by the finest lecturers from VU Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University College, as well as guest lecturers from the Netherlands and abroad. The classes are small and you will be expected to give presentations, write papers and make an active contribution to discussions.

    Enrolment in the Interdepartmental VU HP courses takes place right after each info session at the end of the semester, the so called VU Try Out Classes.

    Faculty courses
    The faculty courses give you more in-depth perspective within your own field of studies. You will take two courses: (1) HP Big Data meets Small Data and (2) a course linked to your own bachelor programme, which is usually an individual research project . The latter may differ per bachelor programme and your personal preferences are also taken into account. The faculty courses can be found in the study guide of your bachelor's programme under 'Honours'. Note: PPE students who enrol in the FSS HP, will take part in the Political Science Honours Programme.

    Registration for FSS honours courses is done in the same way as registration for regular FSS courses, via the "course registration / intekenen onderwijs" option on VUnet.

    HP Study planner

    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 3
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
    First year

    VU Try Out Class
    Enrolment VU HP courses*

    Deadline 1 May
    Application HP
    VU Try Out Class
    Enrolment VU HP courses*
    Second year

    VU Try Out Class
    Enrolment VU HP courses*

    HP Big Data meets Small Data (S_HPBDMSD)
    VU Try Out Class
    Enrolment VU HP courses*
    Third year

    VU Try Out Class
    Enrolment VU HP courses*

    Start of research project**


    *For first year students who already wish to start in semester 2. Application is due end of November.

    **Research projects; more information to be found in the studyguide.

    B&O    HP Research Project in PAOS (S_HPRPao)

    CW     HP Research Project Communication Science (S_HPRPCW)

    CAO     HP Individual Project Anthropology (S_HPIPA)

    POL    HP Research Colloquium in Political Science (S_HPRCPS)

    SOC     HP Individual Project in Sociology (S_HPIPS) 

    Mohammed Idrissi - Honours Programme student

    "The course Students for a Future Society gave me an opportunity to experience a different way of doing research. I recommend future students to try courses that are normally not within your field of interest. It gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and learn more about myself."

  • Application

    Would you like to start with the Honours Programme in year 2? Then you have to apply before 1 May. After an interview with the HP coordinator of your own programme, you will hear whether you have been conditionally admitted. If you complete your first year within nominal terms and your average is >7.5, you will be granted your final admission.

    First-year student and eager to start? Make sure that you apply before 26 November and you will be able to follow an HP course in the second semester!

    Your application must include the following: 

    1. A letter of motivation
    2. Your resume
    3. A gradelist and the grade average of all courses passed so far

    We are looking forward to your letter of motivation! This letter...

    ... is written in English

    ... no more than 1.5 pages (A4)

    In this letter we would like to read...

    ... why you want to participate 

    ... which honours courses arouse your interest

    ... what you hope to achieve during the honours programme

    ... why you are capable of successfully completing the programme. Also consider other plans beside your studies.

    You can find the application form on We hope to meet you in the VU Honours programme!

Do you want to know more about the Social Sciences honours programme?

Please contact Dieneke van der Meulen.