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Exchange nomination and application

Great that you are interested in applying for an exchange programme at VU Amsterdam!

Contact the International Office of your home university/faculty to find out if your university maintains a bilateral exchange agreement with VU Amsterdam. Have your International Office send us your nomination for the exchange programme.

  • If your university has a bilateral exchange agreement with VU Amsterdam, then go to the section "The application process" below.
  • If your university does not have a bilateral exchange agreement with VU Amsterdam, then go to "Other exchange possibilities" below.

We expect all exchange students to have an excellent command (both written and verbal) of the English language. If you lack sufficient knowledge of English you will not be accepted as an exchange student at VU Amsterdam.

The application process

  • Online application

    The deadlines for receiving your nomination are:

    • 1 April for the Fall semester (September-January) or a whole academic year (September-June);
    • 1 October for the Spring semester (February-June).

    Please note that details regarding our application procedure cannot be found online. After we have received and approved your nomination, we will send you instructions by e-mail about how to finalize your online application. Application deadlines are as follows:

    • 15 April for the Fall semester or a whole academic year;
    • 15 October for the Spring semester.

    Required documents
    As part of our online application, you are required to submit the following documents:

    • Copy of passport/ID (must be valid throughout your stay in the Netherlands);
    • Passport photo;
    • Transcript of records.
  • Additional requirements for following Master's level courses

    Additional Master's courses requirements
    All exchange students are expected to have an advanced level of English language proficiency (TOEFL IBT at least 92; IELTS at least 6.5). If you are planning to take Bachelor's courses only, it is not necessary to send us proof of your English proficiency.

    However, if you wish to take Master’s courses, you are required to upload additional documents, preferably before 1 June for the first semester or 1 November for the second semester:

    • Bachelor's diploma in a relevant field of study. If you have not received your Bachelor's diploma by the time you start classes in Amsterdam, it is also possible to submit a letter from your university indicating that you have earned at least 180 ECTS and/or will graduate before 1 September;
    • English proficiency test (see below for minimum requirements).

    English language proficiency
    Below you can find an overview of the English proficiency tests that we accept, as well as the minimum scores:

    • IELTS test: 6.5 (please note that you must take the Academic test and not the General one!)
    • TOEFL paper-based test: 580
    • TOEFL computer-based test: 237
    • TOEFL internet-based test: 92. We are now also accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. The test is available everywhere that TOEFL iBT testing is normally available, with the exception of Mainland China and Iran. Our institution's code is 7947. 
    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C

    Your English proficiency test must have been taken no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your exchange starts. 

    Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirements are made to students who:

    • completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia;
    • follow(ed) an entirely English-taught Bachelor's or Master's programme.
  • Acceptance

    After you have submitted your online application, the incoming exchange team will assess your application. If your application is approved, our services department will start working on your accommodation and visa/residence permit, for which additional documentation is required.

More information

  • Internships or research (thesis) projects

    Internships or research (thesis) projects do not fall under the exchange programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Nominated exchange students must always either choose a minor programme or follow courses from our exchange study guide (for more information about the course offering, please consult this web page). Exchange students are required to study full-time at VU and must be registered for a minimum of 24 ECTS per semester. Nominations for internships or research projects will therefore be rejected by our office.

    If you wish to perform an internship or research project, you will have to arrange it yourself by finding a supervisor. The supervisor in turn will have to arrange your registration at the university.

  • Extending your stay

    Are you enjoying your stay at VU Amsterdam so much that you don’t want to go home yet? Then we might have good news for you: in some cases it is possible for first-semester exchange students to extend their stay.

    Should you wish to extend your stay to a full academic year, please take the following steps:

    1. Consult the exchange study guide to get an overview of available courses. Take note of the fact that the course offering in the second semester is generally smaller than in the first semester. Also, minor programmes are not offered in the second semester. And finally, note that you are not allowed to perform an internship or project.
    2. Your home university must agree to the extension. Please make sure that your home university sends us an extension request on your behalf to internationalrelations@vu.nl. The deadline to send us a request is 1 November.
    3. You will be informed about our decision by email. Expect to receive a message in the second half of November.
    4. In case your request is approved, we will extend your exchange registration and contact the services department for housing and/or visa (if applicable).
      Important: in case your extension is approved and you booked a room through the accommodation department, you can unfortunately not stay in your room. Instead, our accommodation department can only offer you a different, more expensive room during the second semester, with an estimated rent of 1.000 euro per month. 

    We would like to emphasize that an approval of your extension request is partly based on the details of the bilateral exchange agreement between VU and your home university. Another factor is that we strive to maintain a balance of incoming and outgoing exchange students. Furthermore, we will take the grades you obtained for your courses in period 1 into consideration as well.

  • Other options to study at VU Amsterdam

    If your home university does not have a bilateral exchange agreement with VU Amsterdam, we have the following alternative option available to you:

    Study Abroad in Amsterdam
    You can choose our Study Abroad programme, which consists of the Semester in Amsterdam programme, the VU Amsterdam Summer School and the VU Graduate Winter School. As the names imply, the Semester in Amsterdam programme offers you the possibility to study at VU Amsterdam for a semester or year, while the Amsterdam Summer and Winter Schools offers courses during the summer and winter, respectively.

Send us a message
The easiest way to reach us is via e-mail: incoming@vu.nl. We normally reply within one or two working days. During busy periods it may take a bit more time.

Schedule an appointment by phone
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 between 1 and 2 PM, Dutch standard time. Please use our online tool to schedule an appointment.

Consultation hour (walk-in, no appointment required)
If you have questions that cannot be dealt with via e-mail or phone, or if you need us to sign your (Erasmus) forms, please visit us in person. Our consultation hour takes place every Wednesday between 12:30 - 13:30 in the Global Room (HG-1A36).

Please note that we have a Summer Break between Monday 14 July and Sunday 25 August. No consultation hours are scheduled in this period. We will resume our consultation hour in the Global Room on Wednesday 28 August. For questions or signing of documents, please send a message to incoming@vu.nl.

Contact

  • Arnold Pannenborg
  • Coordinator Incoming Exchange
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