Master in Philosophy: Philosophy of Neurosciences


Program Description

Neuroscience belongs to the sciences that in the future will have a large impact on virtually all aspects of our functioning as humans. Neuroscience has already changed the view we have on ourselves. This program offers an answer to a need for responsible scientists, scientists who are sensitive to the conceptual issues in their own specific subdomain and who are, on the other hand, able to reflect and communicate about the broader implications of their field, clinical as well as societal. We aim at philosophy in neuroscience instead of philosophy about neuroscience.

Study programme

Philosophy of Neuroscience
The curriculum for the track Philosophy of Neuroscience in the Master’s programme Philosophy of the department of Philosophy includes 30 ECTS in Philosophy, 36 ECTS in Neuroscience, 42 ECTS in Philosophy of Neuroscience, and 12 ECTS for the individual Master’s thesis, at the total of 120 ECTS. The programme is open for Master and Research-Master students in Neuroscience.

For information please contact Professor Gerrit Glas at:

Master courses in Philosophy
The Master courses in Philosophy include five courses of 6 ec on themes in the History of Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy, and Practical Philosophy. The themes and contents of the courses are specified on the website.

Master courses in Neuroscience
To be specified by the Department of Neuroscience. For information please contact dr. Leontien Diergaarde at:

Master courses in Philosophy of Neuroscience
The Master courses in Philosophy of Neuroscience include seven courses of 6 ECTS (number of weeks between brackets).

Career prospects

The directors of this programme (Gerrit Glas, philosopher, and Jeroen Geurts, neuroscientist) are convinced that this master programme will make you a better neuroscientist and scholar. For those who don’t aim at a scientific career this master program gives the necessary background, both philosophical and empirical, to address implications of neuroscientific research in the widest possible sense, as advisor, policy maker, writer or scientist in other domains of science.

Why VU Amsterdam?


This programme is unique in that that it offers a full master programme philosophy of neuroscience that is completely embedded in an already existing and well developed research master programme neuroscience at VUmc. It is the only programme in the Netherlands and, as a matter of fact, one of the very few in the world.

Admission requirements

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will 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 ECTS or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy, specialization in Neuroscience:

  • In order to be eligible for this Master’s programme, you must meet the admission requirements for the Master's programme Neuroscience.

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

  • TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C


If you have read the admission criteria 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.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcript of records
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature

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 email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Overview Philosophy: Philosophy of Neurosciences.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Philosophy, Health and Movement

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over 26,000 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