The Master’s in Economics has been developed for the prospective professional economist with an interest in social issues. It teaches you the essentials of modern economic theory and how to apply them to everyday problems in a number of core policy fields. Using behavioural economic models and statistical techniques, economists seek to answer macroeconomic and microeconomic questions. Areas of focus include poverty and inequality, social security, growth and inflation, and environmental policy. You will learn how to take a structured approach to practical problems when applying the economic techniques learned at the Bachelor’s level. As a Master’s student, you will become a versatile, all-around economist with the ability to independently tackle important economic issues.

Beyond acquiring new and highly relevant knowledge in coursework, you will engage in two pieces of independent academic work. Your research project will comprise a critical literature review on a coherent set of scientific papers. In your Master’s thesis, you will report on results from your own academic (theoretical or empirical) research. The thesis can, where appropriate, draw on the literature review from the research project. Writing these academic pieces takes place under the close supervision of a faculty member, making use of regular face-to-face meetings to critically discuss approach, methods, data and results. We emphasize quality and progress.


Those who wish to gain more expertise in a particular policy field can choose from among the following four specializations:

  • Development economics: how do families make choices when facing large risks, inequality and a lack of basic provisions? What are viable strategies for improving the economic situation of large numbers of people?
  • Economic and social policy: why do people become unemployed, and how can we get them back to work? How does health affect economic decisions; what decisions affect health? How can industries best be regulated, and how can we promote healthy competition?
  • International and macroeconomic policy: what forms of coordination and cooperation are needed to promote the integration of European economies? What strategies for growth are promising, and where does innovation come from?
  • Spatial economics: what is the exact role of cities in modern societies, and how can regional disparities be addressed? How does economic activity impact the environment, and what policy choices are available to mitigate the effects of overcrowding and externalities?

Why VU University Amsterdam?

Two departments, three research groups
Researchers from two academic departments, Economics (Economics and Development Economics) and Spatial Economics, teach in the programme. All have prominent international profiles and are involved in national policy debates.

Teaching staff
We have an excellent and highly esteemed teaching staff. Members of the economics research group include internationally renowned professors like Pieter Gautier (labour and macroeconomics), Maarten Lindeboom (health economics), Eric Bartelsman (firm behaviour) and Jan Willem Gunning (Globalization, poverty and economic growth). Erik Verhoef, Piet Rietveld and Peter Nijkamp conduct research into transport and the environment, as well as regional economies.

Career prospects

A graduate of the Master’s programme in Economics is a well-trained economist, with extensive knowledge of economic techniques and economic policy.

Graduates become policy economists at consultancy firms or with government agencies or work in various positions in financial and non-financial industries. Others start working as market analysts at, for example, the Netherlands Competition Authority, or De Nederlandsche Bank. Still, others go to work for multinationals such as banks and insurance companies. Some graduates work at economic research institutes or join PhD programmes at highly competitive research universities before continuing with their academic career.

Admission requirements

Applicants with a Bachelor's degree in Economics (or very closely related) from an accredited university must have a sufficient knowledge in both Micro- and Macroeconomics and a solid background in mathematics and statistics for economists. Specifically, students ought to be familiar with mathematics (calculus and algebra), intermediate economics and econometrics at a level commensurate with all of the following texts:

Microeconomics Varian, H.R., Intermediate Microeconomics, Norton, 7th ed., 2006
Macroeconomics Gärtner, M., Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, 2nd ed., 2006
Econometrics and Statistics Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, chapter 1-7, Pearson, 2nd ed., 2006
Mathematics for Economists Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond, Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 3rd ed., 2008

See 13 more programs offered by VU University Amsterdam, Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration »

This course is Campus based
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1 year
1,713 EUR
EU/ 12000 EUR. NON EU
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