Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programs at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community.
VU Amsterdam is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. The campus is surrounded by one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands hosting over 700 companies.
With more than 26,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance. We distinguish ourselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student, this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek tangible solutions for a better world. In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.
Quality of education
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) has a sterling reputation for the fine quality of its teaching. You work in relatively small groups, in which considerable emphasis is placed on interaction and a personal approach. The teaching is well-organized. This is reflected, for instance, in the clear structure of the study programs.
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Living in Amsterdam
The university is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. As a student of VU Amsterdam, you stand to benefit from all the advantages offered by the capital. In just over fifteen minutes you are in the lively center of Amsterdam, where there are numerous shops, places of entertainment, parks, and pavement cafes. Amsterdam is safe and English is widely spoken.
If you plan to study at VU Amsterdam it is essential to think of a place to live. Unfortunately, finding a room in Amsterdam is difficult and stressful. The housing market in the Netherlands is extremely tense, especially in Amsterdam. Many Dutch and international students are searching for student rooms. Housing prices are high: rental prices at the private market often start at €750 and up. Start your search early and be prepared to search in surrounding villages and towns. We advise you not to come to the Netherlands if you do not have a permanent accommodation before the start of your study programs.
VU Amsterdam devotes considerable attention to personal study advice. Right at the start of your course of study, you will be introduced to your program’s study advisor. This person will offer you advice about any problems that you might have with your course of study, and answer questions about the job market.
VU Amsterdam was the first university in the Netherlands established by a private person, with no interference from the church or the state. This heritage is still very much part of who we are: VU stands for Vrije Universiteit, which translates literally as ‘Free University.’ From the very beginning, the university has determined its own areas of research, created its own study programs, and practiced its own didactic methods.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is fully recognized by the Dutch Ministry of Education as a research university. All degree programs at VU University Amsterdam are either accredited by or in the process of being accredited by NVAO, the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands, and Flanders. This body was established by an international treaty and guarantees the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium through the accreditation of study programs.
Types of programs
VU Amsterdam offers four types of programs:
- Bachelor’s degree programs (leading to BA/LLB/BSc)
- Master’s degree programs (leading to MA/LLM/MSc/MPhil)
- Ph.D./Doctorate programs (leading to Ph.D./Doctorate)
- Non-degree programs (Study Abroad & Exchange/ Summer/Winter School)
VU Amsterdam is a traditional Dutch university presided over by an Executive Board (three members) and has 10 faculties directly under the Executive Board. Each faculty provides one or more Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree programs and carries out research. They are all organized differently, but most have a board, a central staff, and several departments and graduate schools. The university also has a number of service departments, of which the International Office is one, and there are a number of interdisciplinary research institutes.
Private or public?
VU Amsterdam is one of 14 public universities which are recognized by the Dutch Ministry of Education and is therefore partially government-funded. Under the Dutch system, the government subsidizes recognized universities on the basis of their student numbers and also sets limits and guidelines for the tuition fees that these universities are allowed to charge. This ensures access to quality higher education for all Dutch citizens, rich or poor. VU Amsterdam welcomes applicants from all backgrounds.