Master in Marketing


Program Description

Study at the heart of marketing

The best marketers prove themselves where it matters: at the heart of the business world. This is where your Master’s in Marketing at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam begins.

Each of your seven courses kicks off with a briefing at a leading national or international organization – such as Heineken, Microsoft, SuitSupply, FrieslandCampina and TUI. These global brands will present their current challenges and ask you to provide a solution.

As a team, you will tackle the most pressing issues of the day. How can Microsoft Office 365 compete when almost everyone uses a free service such as Google Docs? What sales and product strategy should FrieslandCampina adopt for its Chocomel brand in France, Germany and China – markets where chocolate drinks are perceived very differently?

Get to grips with the real issues

You will be given the state-of-the-art knowledge and marketing theory you need to make a genuine difference in the field of marketing. You will be taught by the very best: leading experts who publish in the most prestigious international marketing journals. They will help you find your own way in the world of branding & advertising, digital marketing, geomarketing, marketing strategy, consumer marketing, retail and e-commerce, and cross-cultural consumer research.

Become a specialist, a critical thinker with a mind of your own and the academic skills to get to grips with complex issues. Learn to operate effectively in a team, to give inspiring presentations and above all to develop keen powers of observation: the ability to see what’s really going on in a company and to pinpoint precisely what needs to be done. This is what VU Amsterdam calls “Looking further”.

Study programme

The study programme consists of compulsory and elective courses, a project and concludes with a master thesis.

Marketing Strategy
Effective marketing strategy leads to a sustainable competitive advantage. Explore how to create value, brand and relationship equity to generate the greatest financial return. Discuss state-of-the-art knowledge about market orientation, innovation, branding, customer loyalty and customer lifetime value.

Consumer Marketing
Knowing the customer is key to success in the marketplace. Understand and solve consumer marketing problems by applying consumer behaviour and psychology theory.

Customer and Marketing Analytics
Familiarize yourself with the fundamental and state-of-the-art approaches to marketing decision-making to collect, analyse and act on customer information.
Learn to work with different types of customer intelligence data and obtain rigorous knowledge of the data analysis techniques for solving salient customer intelligence questions.

Retail Management and E-Commerce
The world of retail – online and offline – has never been so challenging. Understand and solve offline and online retail problems by applying consumer shopping behaviour and retail management theories.
Discuss basic retail concepts, browsing behaviour, store and website management and more. And step into the future by looking at retailing in 2020.

Digital Marketing
The world is getting more digital every day. Catch up with the latest theories about digital consumer behaviour and psychology, digital marketing strategy, the digital marketing mix, strategic digital and multichannel communication and digital relationship management.

International Product Management
Effectively apply sales and product management theories to understand real-life marketing problems and to design better market-based product strategies. Focus on themes such as product decisions, going to market, pricing decisions, sales promotions, communication decisions and managing customers.

Branding and Advertising
How to build a brand? Discuss literature about brand strategy and management, brand-related consumer behaviour and focus on topics such as internal branding and brand positioning, equity, extension, communication and communities.

Survey Research in Cross-Cultural Context
Understand why people in different countries are less or more willing to, for example, buy products or to appreciate advertising messages. Apply cross-cultural frameworks to understand and solve real-life international marketing problems, and gain a critical understanding of the challenges in cross-cultural survey research.

Experimental research
Which concepts and tools do you need for planning and designing laboratory experiments and for collecting and analyzing behavioural data? Learn to create conceptual and statistical hypotheses about the relationship between independent and dependent variables.

Big Data Analytics using Geographic Information Systems
Spatial (market) information is essential for many strategic and operational marketing decisions like assortment planning or micromarketing, location planning and direct marketing/CRM. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an important tool for carrying out such analyses.

Management Integration Project
Apply your knowledge of Marketing Strategy and Consumer Marketing to a number of real-life business cases presented to you by professionals.

Career prospects

Wondering what your career potential could be after graduation? A Master of Science in Marketing at the VU Amsterdam opens many different career opportunities*:

- Many bachelor students believe that marketing mainly serves the creative industry and industries related to communication services. However, many of our alumni come to work in fast moving consumer goods, consulting, and banking industries.
- Most alumni are active in management positions going from management traineeships to brand -, account -, process -, product -, project - and general management. Further, our alumni population is also well represented by positions in consulting (e.g. data analyst, intelligence manager, research consultant and sales & marketing analyst).
- Many of our alumni work for large organizations, (e.g. ABN AMRO Bank N.V., ING Group, PostNL, Henkel and FrieslandCampina), but also many alumni decided to start their own company after graduation.

*Source: LinkedIn, group “VU Marketing Alumni”.

Why VU Amsterdam?

More than a Master’s degree
Digital, sustainable and diverse – this university embraces the key themes of the modern world with a view to building a better future. You will feel right at home with the benefits of our campus university and the personal approach of our dedicated staff. Find inspiration in our international setting and the cosmopolitan buzz of Amsterdam. Working on different teams for each course, you will quickly get to know students from many different countries and backgrounds.

During your studies, you will receive all the support and career guidance you need to become the master of your own destiny. The countdown to your future begins here; in one year you will be where you want to be, as a professional and as an individual. You will graduate with a first-rate degree and gain a strong alumni network, reinforced by interesting events and masterclasses we organize every year. After all, one of the keys to marketing is taking care of your personal brand!

Admission requirements

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious team players, who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, Business Economics, Business Administration, Communication Sciences or Psychology with a number of marketing specific courses in your program. However, given the importance of diversity in perspectives in our programme, students with other backgrounds, too, are strongly encouraged to consider this programme, provided they have a sufficient foundation in Marketing and in Statistics.

Admission requirements
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 academic 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 a) at least 18 EC in course work on Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, and b) at least 12 EC related to statistics (to a level of being able to use techniques such as (multiple) regression, ANOVA and factor analysis). We expect the students to understand the underlying intuition as well as the application of these methods in marketing research. Statistics in the master will build on this level covering more advanced techniques like MANOVA, Logistic Regression and Conjoint Analysis

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 7,0
• Minimum score speaking 7,0
• Minimum score listening 7,0
• Minimum score writing 7,0
• Minimum score reading 7,0

• Paper based test 600
• Internet based test 100

Cambridge English :
• Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
• Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at .

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.

Application Procedure

If you have read the admission requirements and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. You can already apply online without having completed your Bachelor’s degree. After admission, you will have until 31 August to send a proof of graduation by postal mail.

Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the non-refundable €100 application fee. You can find a more detailed explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English, and preferably in .PDF format.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU citizens)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Transcript of records
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education, with the main literature used for those course. You can use this format.
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing). If your thesis was not written in English, please submit the original with an added summary of about 3 pages in English.

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail. Please refer to the application page to see which application deadline applies to you.

Step 2: Await decision on admission
After submitting your complete application, the Admission Board will review all your documents to assess your eligibility. In general, we can inform students of the admission decision within 4 weeks. Around deadlines, this can take a bit linger, so we always recommend to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive your letter of conditional admission by email. After that, you can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 3: Finalize your enrolment and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your enrolment as a student before the start of the programme. Here on our website, you will find an explanation of all things to arrange after admission. When all enrolment requirements have been met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Admission via premaster programme

All international students are required to apply for the MSc programme of their choice first. If you do not meet the admission requirements directly, you could gain admission after completing the premaster programme.

The premaster programme is a deficiency programme that provides the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare you for this master's programme. It is a programme of 30 ECTS that is offered in the second semester, from February through July. Content details of the offered premasters can be found here.

Admission requirements for the premaster programme

  • You have a bachelor's degree from a non-Dutch university or from a non-Dutch university of applied science.
  • You have a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) combined score of at least 550 for the parts Verbal and Quantitative. Also note the following:
    • The score may not be older than two years, counted from 1 February
    • The Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment scores do not count for admission
    • You can use a Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) score for the parts Verbal and Quantitative to satisfy the GMAT score requirement. To convert your GRE score to its GMAT equivalent, use the GRE Comparison Tool
  • You can demonstrate sufficient English proficiency by meeting the requirements listed above

More information on the requirements, including GMAT preparations, can be found on the central premaster website.

Deadlines and application
The programme starts 1 February. Because of visa application deadlines, non-EU citizens must have completed their application before 1 November. EU citizens can complete their application until January 31st.

Note: When applying, you can find the premaster programme in Studielink after selecting "Type of study programme: Bachelor's or other non-master programmes".

Overview Marketing.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Spezializations: Digital Marketing, Branding & Advertising, Sales & Product Management, Retail & e-Commerce, Cross-Cultural Consumer Research, Geomarketing, Experimental Research
  • Field of interest: Economics, Business and Law

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