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How to apply to Semester in Amsterdam

The Semester in Amsterdam programme is open to students of many different backgrounds.

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme welcomes:

  • Students from universities that are not partnered with VU Amsterdam or do not qualify for their university’s exchange programme with VU Amsterdam
  • Students from providers and partner universities who have a study abroad agreement with VU Amsterdam
  • Individuals not currently enrolled at a university but seeking academic or professional development opportunities

How you apply to the programme will depend on whether you are applying as an individual student or through a study abroad provider.

How to Apply

  • Requirements

    General Admission Requirements

    All applicants must have completed at least 1 year of university studies in order to be admissible to the programme. 

    Applicants with a background from a university of applied sciences are generally not admissable to the programme.

    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 7.0 (C) average on the ECTS system). 
        • If your transcript of records contains an overall GPA which is not in the 4.0 American scale or the 1-10 ECTS system, please attach a document containing a table of conversion provided by your university together with your transcript.
    • 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.

    More information about the course specific requirements can be found on our Courses page.

    Language Requirements for Master-level Applicants

    English language test scores are not required from Bachelor-level applicants. We do require a demonstrable sufficient level of English language proficiency from Master’s applicants. However, the following are exempted from this requirement:  

    • Applicants who have completed their (English-taught) education in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia  
    • Applicants who have obtained an International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only), or Surinam VWO diploma.  
    • Applicants who have completed a full Bachelor's degree programme in English. 

    You can submit your application for Semester in Amsterdam before taking an English language test and/or submitting your results. 

    Deadline for English language test submissions:  

    • Students who require a visa or residence permit: 1 June for Fall applicants or 1 December for Spring applicants 
    • Students with the EU/EEA nationality and other students who do not need a visa or residence permit: 31 August for Fall applicants or 31 January for Spring applicants 

    Please find all information on the minimum language proficiency requirements as well as which language tests we accept on this page. 

  • Applying via a 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.  

    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 enrolment are.

  • Applying as an Individual Student

    Application deadlines

    Spring SemesterFall Semester 
    1 October1 April

    Selection process

    In the case that we receive an exceptionally high number of applications, applicants that meet the entry requirements will be selected through a randomized lottery system. This will happen within 2 weeks after the application deadline. Following the selection, these applicants will be informed of their acceptance via email.

    If you are not accepted through the lottery, you will be placed on the waiting list.

  • How to Submit an Application

    Individual students and students who have been specifically directed by their home university or study abroad provider to fill out the Semester in Amsterdam programme application may proceed to apply to the prorgramme. Please carefully review the information below and click on the link at the bottom of this page to begin the application process. 

    Start your application well in time before the application deadline
    During your application you are required to complete several steps so that you have access to the VU Amsterdam student portal, also known as the VU Dashboard. After initiating this process it can take a day or two before the system creates your new account and sends you a VUnet ID. Therefore please initiate your application in time before the final application deadline. Please check your e-mail and spam folders regularly and keep in mind 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 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 Incoming Exchange Team at if you have questions about how to apply.
    • You are participating in Semester in Amsterdam through a study abroad organisation/provider such as IES Abroad, CIEE, CEA Capa, 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.
    • 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.

    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 7 steps of the application process (see the guide above), you are simply creating an account in your VU Dashboard. After you receive your VUnet ID by email and create a password, you still have to log in to 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 refers to the Fall semester taking place from August to January. Semester Two 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.

    It is now possible to apply! Start your Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application.

    We will only review submitted applications after the application deadline. You can expect to hear back from us after the deadline.

    Once you have been accepted to the programme and are fully enrolled, you can download a Declaration of Registration which is an official document that proves that you are a student and registered at VU Amsterdam. 

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 Are you currently a student of another Dutch university wishing to register for a minor? Please contact the student desk at

Send us a message

The easiest way to reach us is via e-mail at We normally reply within a few working days. During busy periods it may take longer to receive a response.

Schedule an online appointment

Are you a current or prospective student and you have a question that you would like to discuss with a member of the Semester in Amsterdam team? You can schedule a 15-minute online appointment with us on Tuesdays between 1 and 2 PM, Dutch standard time. Please use our online tool to schedule an appointment.