Nomination & application

1. Nomination

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 Step 2 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.

2. Online application

The deadlines for receiving your nomination are:

  • 1 April for the autumn/winter semester (1 September-31 January) or a whole academic year (1 September-July/August)
  • 1 October for the spring semester (1 February-July/August)

 After we have received the nomination from your home university, we will send you instructions on how to finalize your online application. Application deadlines are as follows:

  • 15 April for the autumn/winter semester or a whole academic year
  • 15 October for the spring semester

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

  • Copy of passport/ID
  • Passport photo
  • Transcript of records

Master's courses requirements
Students wishing to take Bachelor's level courses are not obligated to submit an English proficiency test as proof, however please note that 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 wish to take Master’s courses, you are required to upload additional documents, preferably before 1 May (first semester) or 1 November (second semester):

  • Bachelor's diploma in the relevant field of study. You are allowed to submit the diploma at a later stage if you have not yet received it. If you have not received your Bachelor's diploma by the time you start classes in Amsterdam, you should present us with a letter from your university indicating that you have in fact graduated before 1 September;
  • English proficiency test (see below for minimum requirements).

English language proficiency
If you submit an English proficiency test, please note that VU Amsterdam maintains the following minimum requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5 - 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
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A & B
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C

(For TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificates, the test must not be older than two years.)
Note that incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

3. Acceptance

You will be accepted as an exchange student only after your programme of study has been approved by the International Office (in consultation with the relevant staff at the faculty). After your acceptance we will start working on your accommodation and visa/residence permit, for which additional documentation is required.

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. 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 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 15 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).

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 exchange possibilities

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 and the Amsterdam Summer 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 School offers courses during the summer.