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How to apply to Semester in Amsterdam

Semester in Amsterdam is available to all students who meet the programme requirements and apply on time. How you apply to the programme will depend on whether you are applying as an individual student or through a local study abroad provider.

If you are applying through a study abroad provider, please only fill out the application form when you are specifically directed to do so. Not sure?  Please contact the international office at your home university to check what their policies regarding individual enrollment are. If you are not currently enrolled in an academic programme, but you meet the minimum programme requirements, you can already fill out an application via the link below.

How to Apply

  • Who Should Apply?

    • Students who are not eligible to participate in their university's exchange programme with VU Amsterdam, or who come from universities that do not have an Exchange partnership agreement with VU Amsterdam. Not sure? Check the world map. If you cannot find your programme and university on the World Map, there probably is no existing exchange agreement and you should apply to Semester in Amsterdam instead.
    • Individuals who are not currently enrolled at a university are welcome to join as long as they have completed at least 1 - 2 years of university-level coursework before arrival in Amsterdam. Please see the general admission requirements included below for more information.

    Before applying, please make sure you have read the Semester in Amsterdam General Terms and Conditions.

  • General Admission Requirements

    • All applicants must have completed at least 1 year of university studies in order to be admissible to the programme. If you have completed less than 1 year of university studies, please see the VU Gap Year programme instead.
    • In most circumstances, applicants should have completed at least 2 years of university-level coursework before arrival. If accepted, applicants who have only completed 1 year of university-level courses will be limited to 100 and 200 level courses.  
    • Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) based on the 4.0 American scale (comparable to a 7.5 average on the ECTS system).
    • All applicants should have a minimum C1 (CEFR) level of English. While English language test scores are only required of Master-level applicants, all applicants are expected to possess an adequate level of English before arrival.
  • Course Specific Requirements

    While students are admitted to the programme based on the general admission requirements outlined above, students are also expected to meet the background requirements for each of the courses they wish to take. Please pay special attention to any recommended or required background knowledge listed in the course descriptions for each of your chosen courses. While some courses are open to be taken as elective courses by students with all different kinds of academic backgrounds, other courses require you to have more specific background knowledge in a specific field. We will check to make sure you meet the requirements before we enroll you in courses.

    Faculty of Behaviour and Movement Science 

    Courses listed within the faculty of Behaviour and Movement Science have a limited capacity. Students must have completed the equivalent of at least 30 ECTS of psychology courses to be eligible to participate in these courses. 

    Faculty of Business and Economics 

    Students who wish to take Business and Economics courses should pay special attention to the listed background requirements. For these courses, the recommended background knowledge is usually required. 

    Master-level Courses 

    Bachelor’s students are not allowed to follow Master’s courses unless these courses are also listed in the Exchange Study Guide under Bachelor’s courses. 

    Please make sure to only choose courses from the options listed here

  • Language Requirements for Master-level Applicants

    Master-level Applicants

    Please note that Semester in Amsterdam does not require English language test scores from Bachelor-level applicants. 

    Applicants who have completed their (English-taught) education in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia are exempt from this requirement, as are those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only), or Surinam VWO diploma. If you have completed a full Bachelor's degree programme in English, you are also exempt from this requirement.

    Please note that you can apply before taking this test and/or submitting your results. 

    Deadline for English language test submissions: 

    • 1 June for students who require a visa or residence permit
    • 31 August for students with the EU/EEA nationality and other students who do not need a visa or residence permit

    Please be aware that it may take longer than expected to receive your English language test results. It is therefore best to take the test in advance. VU Amsterdam accepts the following recognised English language proficiency exams with the following minimum requirements:

    • IELTS (academic): 6.5 overall
      Note: the online IELTS Indicator is not accepted
    • TOEFL internet-based test: 92
      Note: for 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 we are also accepting the online test TOEFL iBT special home edition: 92. TOEFL Essentials is not accepted. 
    • TOEFL paper-based test: 580
    • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)/C1 Advanced: grade A, B or C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)/C2 Proficiency: grade A, B or C
    • VU English proficiency test: TOEFL ITP: 580  (only the TOEFL ITP test from VU Amsterdam is accepted)
      Note: the TOEFL ITP test is a different test than the official TOEFL test (TOEFL iBT). The VU TOEFL ITP  is not accepted for students who require a study visa/residence permit to study at VU Amsterdam. For international EU/EEA students only the VU campus version is accepted.
    • State exam vo (information only in Dutch): pre-university school-leaving examination level (VWO) in English language and literature

    Test Validity

    TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Please note that the TOEFL MyBestScore is not accepted.

    The TOEFL-ITP exam is offered by the VU Taalloket and takes place at the university. The test costs €90 and is only valid for admission to VU Amsterdam. 

  • Applying via Provider or Partner University

    If you will be participating in the Semester in Amsterdam Programme through a study abroad provider, please follow the application instructions given to you by your provider and only submit an application for the Semester in Amsterdam programme when/if you are specifically directed to do so by your provider or university.  

  • Application Deadlines

    Spring SemesterFall Semester 
    1 October1 April
  • How to Submit an Application

    If you are applying as an Individual student or you have been specifically directed by your home university or study abroad provider to fill out the Semester in Amsterdam programme application, please carefully review the information below and click on the link at the bottom of this page to begin the application process. 

    This link will take you to our university-wide application system. This system will require you to complete several steps so that you have access to the VU Amsterdam student portal, your VU Dashboard (also referred to as VUnet). Please check your e-mail and spam folders regularly and keep in mind that it can take a day or two before the system creates your new account and sends you a VUnet ID. Please also note that if you don't verify your email address on time, your account will be deleted and you will have to start again.

    You should NOT fill out the Semester in Amsterdam application form via the link below if any of the following situations apply to you:

    • You are a student of another Dutch university wishing to follow a minor programme. In this case, please follow the steps listed for non-VU students.
    • You wish to apply to a degree programme. Semester in Amsterdam is not a degree programme. Please follow the application procedure listed on the degree programme page.
    • You have been nominated by your home university to participate in Exchange and your university is a partner university of VU Amsterdam. Please visit the Exchange programme website and contact the Exchange Team at incoming@vu.nl if you have questions about how to apply. Semester in Amsterdam is a separate programme from the Exchange programme at VU Amsterdam.  
    • You are participating in Semester in Amsterdam through a study abroad organization/provider such as IES Abroad, CIEE, CEA, or ISA and you have not yet been directed to submit a Semester in Amsterdam application. **Only after you have been accepted by your provider should you complete the Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application. If you are not sure, please contact your study abroad organization before submitting an application.

    Before You Apply:

    1. Review our step-by-step Application Guide before submitting an application. This is a detailed document with screenshots. Keep this open and use it as a reference throughout the application process.
    2. Start the application process on time! It takes a few days to complete the entire process because you must first create a VU Dashboard account. During the first 10 steps of the application process (see the guide above), you are simply creating an account in your VU Dashboard. You have not submitted an application yet. After you receive your VU ID by email and create a password, you still have to log in to vu.nl/en/dashboard and upload the necessary documents to complete your application.
    3. Take care to select the correct registration period from the drop-down list on the programme application page . Semester One always refers to the Fall semester taking place from August to January. Semester Two always refers to the Spring semester taking place from February to June. Ac. Year (September) refers to the whole academic year, meaning you plan to study for two semesters beginning with Semester One in the Fall semester. If you have questions about the academic calendar, please carefully review the information found here before you apply.
    4. Make sure to select "Semester in Amsterdam" from the drop-down menu. If you apply to the wrong programme, you will have to start again from the beginning.

    You can find a link to the online Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application here.

  • Proof of Enrollment and Registration

    The Declaration of Registration (also known as Proof of Enrollment) is an official document that proves you are registered and enrolled as a student at VU Amsterdam. Once you are fully enrolled, you can download a digital copy using this link. This also serves as your proof of acceptance.

    You will first need to log in with your VU ID and password.

Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us!

Semester in Amsterdam is a separate programme from the Exchange programme at VU Amsterdam. If you have been nominated by your home university for Exchange and your university is a partner of VU Amsterdam, please contact incoming@vu.nl. Are you currently a student of another Dutch university wishing to register for a minor? Please contact the student desk at studentdesk@vu.nl.

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