Master in Mathematics


Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)

Mathematics: The Language of Science

Mathematics is a vibrant and versatile field. In research and teaching, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam focuses on both pure and applied mathematics. We perform research in algebra, number theory, geometry, analysis, dynamical systems, probability, statistics, and operations research.

Abstract mathematical theory often finds its way to unexpected applications. For example, modern cryptography makes essential use of prime numbers, bacterial growth is governed by differential equations, and the spread of forest fires and infections can be predicted by stochastic models. At VU Amsterdam we apply mathematical theory in business analytics, big data, forensic statistics, systems biology, neuroscience, and complex systems.

As a Mathematics student at VU Amsterdam, you have a very wide variety of courses to choose from, including all courses offered at the two big research universities in Amsterdam (UvA and VU) and the national Mastermath programme. Our Master’s programme in Mathematics thus provides you with excellent opportunities to deepen your general mathematical knowledge and skills and specialize in one or more areas of your choice.

Study programme

The Master’s programme in Mathematics is a two year programme, divided into four semesters. It consists of specialized courses, optional courses and seminars, and concludes with the Master’s Project, which is either a research project or an external internship.

Courses and Tracks
During your Master's you specialise in one of the tracks Algebra and Geometry, Analysis and Dynamical Systems, Stochastics, Biomedical Mathematics, or an educational track. Each track comes with its own set of courses, but the tracks are not strictly separated, and you have a lot of freedom to choose your own study path (see Tracks below for more information).

Our programme is offered in full collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Thus, you benefit from the expertise, networks, partnership projects, and international reputation of both VU Amsterdam and UvA. Moreover, you may choose from about 40 courses in the nationwide Mastermath programme (offered jointly by nine Dutch universities). Many of these courses are given at our campus.

Master Seminar
During the entire first year, you will participate in the weekly Master Seminar. The seminar is led by active mathematicians who will introduce you to the local research groups in your field of specialisation. You will also learn about possible thesis projects, practice giving advanced mathematical presentations, and experience what it means to be part of an active research community.

Master's Project
The last semester is dedicated to the Master’s Project, which is either a research project under the supervision of a staff member, or an external internship at a company or research facility. In the latter case, you will have an on-location advisor and a supervisor from the Department of Mathematics. The Master's Project is completed by writing a thesis and presenting your results in a colloquium.


In the Master's programme you choose one of the following tracks:

  • Algebra and Geometry
  • Analysis and Dynamical Systems
  • Stochastics
  • Biomedical Mathematics
  • Science teacher degree

Career prospects

An MSc in Mathematics prepares you for an exciting (international) career. Professional mathematicians work in research, education, business, finance, technology, healthcare, et cetera. Your analytic and problem solving skills make you a valuable asset for employers. If you graduate with excellent academic achievements, you are encouraged to apply for one of our PhD student positions and pursue an academic career.

Science teacher degree
Science education is the foundation of innovations that improve our world. Due to the shortage of certified science teachers and the fact that our economy is knowledge-based, you will be highly valued both in and out of the classroom. With a science teaching degree you can become involved in improving science education both as a teacher or other positions in the educational industry. Practical and scientific knowledge of teaching methods and educational psychology can steer your career in many directions.

Short track Master's programme

We offer a special programme in Mathematics for outstanding students from our partner universities. The short track programme consists of one full year of study. You should be able to obtain at least 66 EC in courses (30 EC) and a Master’s project (36 EC) in this one year. Application for this programme is possible if you have finished at least 60 EC of courses at Master's level at one of our partner universities that entitle you to exemptions for master's courses at VU Amsterdam.

Why VU Amsterdam?

Excellent reputation
The Department of Mathematics at VU Amsterdam has an excellent reputation as a training and research institute. The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) regularly awards prestigious VENI-VIDI-VICI grants to our researchers.

We are located at the Zuidas campus in Amsterdam, which is very well connected to the inner city of Amsterdam, Schiphol international airport, and the rest of the Netherlands.

Close to where mathematics is applied
The mathematical department at VU Amsterdam maintains close ties with companies in the financial epicentre of The Netherlands, located at a stone’s throw from the university campus. The campus also houses the VUmc academic hospital, and mathematical research is conducted in a variety of biomedical collaborations. In addition, the university programmes in other fields of science provide opportunities for combining mathematics with key areas of application, such as economics and the modern natural and life sciences.

Mathematics in the Netherlands: nationwide courses
Our programme is offered in full collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Thus, you benefit from the expertise, networks, partnership projects, and international reputation of both VU Amsterdam and UvA.

Moreover, the Departments of Mathematics at the Dutch universities have combined their efforts by offering courses open to all Master's students in Mathematics. This Mastermath initiative offers students the highest quality of instruction and opens opportunities for interaction with students from other mathematics institutes. The joint courses widen the options for students who intend to pursue a PhD programme after completing their Master's programme.

Active student life
STORM is the study association for Mathematics students. The goal of STORM is to look after the interests of the students in mathematics, which is interpreted in a broad sense: STORM is not only a serious association which sell books, keeps an exam archive and maintains contact with interesting companies, but STORM also creates a homely atmosphere at the VU. To this end they organise many social activities and study trips. Please see their website for more information.

Admission requirements

The requirements are split up into specific Master's programme requirements and general requirements.

Specific Master's programme requirements
Direct admission to the Master's programme in Mathematics is possible with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics or Engineering Mathematics from a university in the Netherlands. If you have a Bachelor's degree in another subject from a university or institute of higher education in The Netherlands or elsewhere, you require the approval of the Examination Board. The main admission criteria are:
- A Bachelor of Science.
- 90 EC (European Credit points) or equivalent of Mathematics courses at the BSc level, including some advanced courses.
- English language skills at the level of TOEFL score 580 or above.

For more details, please consult the Teaching and Examination Regulations for Mathematics Master's programme.

Entrants from higher vocational education (HBO) generally have to follow a large part of the Bachelor's programme before they can be admitted to the Master's programme in Mathematics. Students who hold a teacher's degree mathematics (“tweedegraads bevoegdheid wiskunde”) will likely be admitted to a premaster's programme. For specific question, please contact the programme coordinator.

General language proficiency requirements
VU Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia, or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma. Please check out the admission and language requirements for international students for more details.

Overview Mathematics.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students. Non Dutch EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through VU Amsterdam can still apply until 15 July.
  • Start date: 1 September or 1 Febuary
  • Study type: Part-time, Full-time
  • Spezializations: Algebra and Geometry, Analysis and Dynamical Systems, Stochastics, Biomedial Mathematics, and Education
  • Field of interest: Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

Last updated Feb 2020

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 122 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. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less