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Exchange step 3: application at VU Amsterdam

Question about studying abroad
Last updated on 26 July 2023
Great! You have looked into the possibilities and decided that you want to go on exchange via VU International Office. How do you apply?

What do you have to do to apply?

  • Choose a university

    Vrije Universiteit has over 200 partner universities. Do you want to study as far from home as possible, or do you want to stay close to the Netherlands? There are many options! On our VU Study Abroad Map you will find all our partner universities. When you apply for an exchange semester you will eventually need to make a list of your top 5 preferred universities. The following points are important:

    • Select your own study programme on our VU Study Abroad Map; many agreements that we have with our partner universities are categorized by study programmes or faculties. 
    • Some universities have a minimum average grade requirement. This is clearly mentioned on the Study Abroad Map. If you do not meet the average grade requirement, you can unfortunately not choose this university.
    • Some universities also have specific language requirements that you need to fulfil (check the Study Abroad Map).
    • If you want to take part in the exchange during the first semester of the academic year, but you still need to complete exams in June and July, it is not possible to choose a university where the semester begins in July (for example South Africa, Oceania and some countries in Latin America). 
  • Choose courses

    You've taken a closer look at the universities that are available for students of your study programme on the VU Study Abroad Map. Now it's time to check the courses that are offered.

    • Foreign universities generally do not offer minors: it is up to you to put together a selection of courses.
    • You will generally need to take courses within your own field of study while you are abroad, even though the Examination Board will also allow you to take courses from other disciplines.
    • The Examination Board of your faculty has certain requirements for the courses that you follow abroad. For example, the Examination Board usually requires you to follow at least 12 ECTS on third year level. In the process of applying for exchange, you will receive more information about these requirements.
    • Partner universities carefully check whether you meet the pre-requisites of the courses.
    • If you wish to pursue a specific Master’s programme after you have obtained your Bachelor’s degree, you should also look closely at all entry requirements for the relevant Master’s programme. Sometimes specific Bachelor’s courses are required to be admitted to a specific Master's programme and it is often not possible to find the exact same (replacement) courses abroad.
    • If the courses for next academic year are not yet available, we advise you to base your choice on the courses from this academic year.
    • Check in which language the courses are offered, since not all courses are taught in English. Take a close look at the language requirements on the VU Study Abroad Map.
  • Required documents

    In order to go abroad, you have to apply via our module for application. Please choose universities from the list of available places and fill out and upload your motivation form (in English). Please follow the steps from this manual precisely. In this document you can find the available spots for the second application round. Please always check if a university is also available for your study programme on the Study Abroad Map

    Without the motivation form we cannot take your application into consideration. You will find more information about our selection procedure in our scorecard. 

  • Application deadlines

    If you want to take part in an exchange semester of the 2024/2025 academic year (first or second semester), you can apply in our first or second round. We organize these rounds in January and February.  

    First round
    As of December 1st you can apply for an exchange semester during next academic year. The deadline for applications is 8 January 2024 (13:00). Early February we will know the results. You will get an automatic email with the outcome (selected or not selected). Keep an eye on your (spam)inbox!

    Second round
    Did you not get selected in the first round? Then you can apply in our second round. The deadline for the second round is 19 February 2024 (13:00)

  • Application

    You can apply for exchange through our application module. Go to your dashboard on and log in with your VUnetID. Go to "Apps and pages" and click on the app "Application for exchange at partner university". This is only possible during one of the application rounds. Please make sure to carefully follow the steps from our manual. This is the list with available places for the second application round. 

  • How does the selection process work?

    The International Office will assess all applications after the deadline. The students will be placed according to a certain procedure. 

    For many partner universities there is a maximum number of places available. You can find the number of places on the VU Study Abroad Map. If there are more applications than available places, VU International Office will select the best candidates.

    Selection criteria
    The criteria for selection include:

    • Grade average 
    • Motivation
    • Language skills (this will only apply if courses are taught in a language other than English or Dutch).

    Selection procedure
    All students will receive a score in accordance with our scorecard. This makes it possible to make a comparison between students from different study programmes. We will rank students according to their scores. We will always try to place students on their first choice. If this is not possible anymore, we will look at your second, third, fourth or fifth choice. Please pay attention to the following:

    • You will be notified if you have been selected for one of the five universities.
    • You will then have three days to accept your place, otherwise it will be offered to another student. 
    • If you have not been selected in the first round, you can apply for the second round, for universities that still have places available. 

    Cancelling or making changes after you have been selected:

    • Once you have been selected, you are expected to take part in the exchange. Otherwise you will be taking up a place that another student could make use of.
    • After you have accepted your place, it is not possible to change your destination.
    • In exceptional cases, it may be necessary to cancel your exchange semester, for example due to personal circumstances or your study planning. If this is the case, you should cancel your exchange in your Mobility Online workflow. The partner university will then receive an email about your cancellation. 
  • Privacy statement

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam finds privacy important. If you apply at VU International Office for an exchange during your study programme, you have to accept our privacy statement. Read more about how we deal with your personal data and how your privacy is safeguarded if you are going to study at a partner university abroad via VU Amsterdam.

Outgoing Student Exchange Team

+31 (0)20 59 85745 (between 10:00 - 12:00, Monday, Wednesday and Friday)

Do you have a question? Mail us!

Consultation hour (walk-in, no appointment required):
Every Tuesday between 12:30 - 13:30 in the Global Room (HG-1A36). There will be no consultation hour on Thursday, 20th of February, due to the second selection round. 

Zoom consultation hour: 

to make an appointment please use this link

Emergency number for VU exchange students abroad: +31 (0) 20 6444117. This is the VU-wide emergency number. Emergencies for example include natural disasters, assault and (mental) health issues.