Master in Economics


Program Description

Master in Economics

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.

Study programme

The Master's in Economics is a high-quality one-year programme. The first part of the programme consists of three compulsory core courses focusing on the foundations of the discipline at an advanced level. You also take three elective courses that can be combined into a specialization. Two pieces of independent academic work, a research project and a final thesis, complete the programme requirements. Thanks to the compact, personal nature of the programme there is plenty of interaction with the teaching staff.

The programme is highly esteemed by its students and is one of the top Economics programmes in the Netherlands. The academic year is divided into six teaching periods: four periods of eight weeks and two periods of four weeks. The programme’s study load is 60 credits. Credits are expressed in EC: European Credit (Transfer System). Each credit amounts to about 28 hours studying.

During your Master’s studies, you will have the option of specializing in one of the following key areas in the domain of economics:

  • Development Economics
  • Global Challenges
  • International and Macroeconomic Policy
  • Labour and Health
  • Public Policy

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.

Apart from focusing on high-profile job opportunities, programme participants develop an eye for economic issues of societal and scientific relevance and develop a critical attitude for analysing and judging these issues. Economics is at the very heart of the social sciences. Economists are therefore involved and committed members of society.

Admission requirements Master's programme Economics

  • The MSc programme Economics welcomes ambitious students who want to develop an advanced knowledge in economics and apply their knowledge to study a wide range of topics. Therefore, students should start with a solid academic background in economics and have sufficient knowledge of mathematics and statistics.

    In order to gain admission to our Master's programme, you need to have at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academics study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. You need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

    Microeconomics Varian, H.R., Intermediate Microeconomics, Northon, 9th ed., 2014
    Macroeconomics Gärtner, M., Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, eth ed., 2016
    Econometrics and Statistics Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W., Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7)
    Mathematics for Economists Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al., Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016

    Applications not providing proof of having passed coursework at the minimally required level may be rejected, or applicants may be requested to make up for deficiencies by means of self-study. Good students with technical backgrounds (Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, and possibly Engineering) are encouraged to apply.

    International degree holders from Universities of Applied Sciences (polytechnics, vocational colleges, etc.) cannot be admitted.

    English language proficiency
    The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

    VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:

    IELTS (academic)

    • Minimum general score 6.5
    • Minimum writing score 6.0


    • Paper based test 580
    • Internet based test 92-93

    Cambridge English

    • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
    • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 130 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Read less