How to apply

  • Students from universities that do not already have an existing exchange partnership with VU Amsterdam. Not sure? Please contact your home university. *Please also verify with your home university that you are allowed to participate in an individual enrolment/free mover programme.
  • Students who are not eligible to participate in their university's exchange programme with VU Amsterdam.
  • Individuals not currently enrolled at a university but seeking academic or professional development opportunities. *At least one year of university-level experience is required.

Before applying, please make sure you have read the Semester in Amsterdam General Terms and Conditions.

  • All applicants must have completed at least 1 year of university studies in order to be admissible to the programme. If you have completed less than 1 year of university studies, please see the VU Amsterdam Gap Year Experience instead.
  • In most circumstances, applicants should have completed at least 2 years of university-level coursework before arrival. If accepted, applicants who have only completed 1 year of university-level courses will be limited to 100 and 200 level courses.  
  • Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) based on the 4.0 American scale (comparable to a 7.5 average on the ECTS system).
  • All applicants should have a minimum B2 - C1 level English. While English language test scores are only required of Master-level applicants, all applicants are expected to possess an adequate level of English before arrival.

While students are admitted to the programme based on the general admission requirements outlined above, students are also expected to meet the background requirements for each of the courses they wish to take. Please pay special attention to any recommended or required background knowledge listed in the course descriptions for each of your chosen courses. While some courses are open to be taken as elective courses by students with all different kinds of academic backgrounds, other courses require you to have more specific background knowledge in a specific field. 

Please make sure to only choose courses from the options listed here. 

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme does not require English language test scores from Bachelor-level applicants. 

Master-level Applicants

Applicants who have completed their (English-taught) education in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia are exempted from this requirement, as are those who have obtained an International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate diploma (English-taught programmes only), or Surinam VWO diploma. If you have completed a full bachelor degree programme in English, you are also exempt from this requirement.

Please note that you can apply before taking this test and/or submitting your results. 

Deadline for English language test submissions: 

  • 1 June for students who require a study visa
  • 31 August for students with the EU/EEA nationality and other student who do not require a study visa

Please be aware that it may take longer than expected to receive your English language test results. It is therefore best to take the test far in advance. We accept the following tests and minimum scores:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (only the Academic IELTS test is accepted)
  • TOEFL Internet-based Test: 92
  • VU TOEFL ITP: 580 (only the TOEFL ITP test from VU Amsterdam is accepted)
  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): Grade A, B or C/ minimum score of 176
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade A, B or C/ minimum score of 176

Tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the current academic year.

If you will be participating in the Semester in Amsterdam Programme through a provider, please follow the application instructions given to you by your provider and only submit an application for the Semester in Amsterdam programme when/if you are specifically directed to do so by your provider or university.  

The 2021/2022 costs for the Semester in Amsterdam programme can be found below. Please be aware that Semester in Amsterdam is a non-government funded study abroad program which serves as the alternative to the Exchange Program at VU Amsterdam.  For this reason, there is no EU tuition fee.  Fees for the Semester in Amsterdam programme are based on international student rates. All Semester in Amsterdam fees are standardized and cannot be modified or changed in any way.

Tuition Fall 2021€6.995
Tuition Spring 2022€6.995
Tuition Academic Year 2021-2022€13.490
Housing costs are not included in tuition fees and are determined by the housing provider.  All costs listed are approximate and do not include the housing fee of €250.  The housing provider may also require a refundable deposit of €750 - €1000.
  • Our Campus/Our Domain: Off-campus private studio with bathroom and kitchen
  • Hotel Jansen: Off-campus with private bathroom and shared kitchen
  • Homestay Program (*Placement not guaranteed)
  • Non-refundable Housing Fee: €250
  • Our Campus/Our Domain: €875 - €975 per month
  • Hotel Jansen: €800 - €850 per month
  • Homestay Program: €3.500 per semester  (not available for academic year)
Visa/residence permit costs, not included in tuition**€275


**Depending on your nationality, you may not need a visa and may be excused from this cost.

In addition to the above costs, experience shows that living in the Netherlands costs €1000-€1300 per month:

Food€150-300: This depends on how much you cook or eat out. You can reduce this price by shopping at discount supermarkets such as ALDI or LIDL, or shopping at one of the local markets.
Insurance€50-100:  All students are required to have health insurance. You can sign up for discounted student insurance during the arrival days if your home insurance does not cover you in the Netherlands.
Public transportation€25-100: This depends on how much you bike and walk. Cycling will greatly reduce your public transportation costs.
Books and supplies€0-150: Most professors make their reading materials available online.  
Other CostsThis depends entirely on you and your personal lifestyle and preferences. If you want to go out to bars, clubs, or events every weekend you can expect to spend much more than if you prefer cheaper alternatives. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in Amsterdam! We also highly recommend getting a museum card for anyone that plans to spend their weekends at one of the many world famous museums!  Below is a general estimate of average costs to help you budget for your semester. You can find more information about how to budget for student life in Amsterdam here. 
  • Coffee: €2,50 - €3,50
  • Soup: €5,00 - 6,00
  • Sandwich: €6,00 - 12,00
  • Main course: €12,00 - €25,00
  • Beer/house wine: €3,00 - €6,00
  • Cocktails: €9,00 - €20,00
  • Museum Card: €64,90
  • Entrance to Rijksmuseum: €20,00
  • Entrance to the Anne Frank House: €14,00
  • Entrance to nightclubs: €10,00 - 20,00
  • Haircut: €15,00 - €35,00
  • Cinema ticket: €10,00 - €15,00
Payment Options: 

Type of applicantPayment plan
Applying via a partner university or providerYour payment may be coordinated by your university or provider. Unless you are an individual applicant, please verify your payment plan with your provider or university.
IndividualOption 1: One payment. Students will receive the invoice after registration for all programme costs, due one month after the application deadline.Option 2: Two payments. Students applying for one semester will receive the first invoice in the amount of € 4.000,00 due one month after the application deadline. The second invoice will include all remaining costs and is due at least one month prior to arrival.

Cancellation Fees and Deadlines:

Spring 2021 SemesterFall 2021 Semester
Before 1 December: No Cancellation Fee (all previously made payments will be refunded)Before 1 June: No Cancellation Fee (all previously made payments will be refunded)
After 1 December: 1000.00 Cancellation Fee After 1 June: 1000.00 Cancellation Fee
After Arrival: No RefundsAfter Arrival: No Refunds

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme offers three scholarships in the amount of €2.500 each (to be subtracted from tuition costs) to prospective Semester in Amsterdam students. Please note that the scholarships do not cover all expenses and scholarships cannot be combined. You can choose to apply for more than one scholarship to increase your chances, but you will only receive one.

Application Deadlines for All Scholarships:

The deadlines for the Fall 2021 semester have passed. If you wish to submit a scholarship application for the Spring 2022 semester, please e-mail the Semester in Amsterdam Team at semesterinamsterdam@vu.nl for more information. The deadline is 1 October 2022.

Blogger Scholarship 

We offer one scholarship to a talented and motivated student blogger! Need some ideas? Check out our current VU Amsterdam student bloggers!  

Photographer and Videographer Scholarship  

More into video and photography? We offer one scholarship to a talented and motivated student videographer and photographer!  

Academic Excellence Scholarship  

The Semester in Amsterdam Programme offers one scholarship to a motivated student who has a minimum grade point average of 85% and has demonstrated academic excellence. For example, if the highest possible mark is a 10, you must have a GPA of at least an 8.5. We will take into account the differences in grading cultures. While no official language certificate is required, applicants must have mastered approximately B2-C1 level English.  

If you are applying individually as a student whose university does not have an official partnership with VU Amsterdam or you have been specifically directed by your home university or provider to fill out the Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application, please click on the link below to begin the application process.  This link will take you to our new, university-wide application system.  This system will require you to complete several steps including creating a password so that you have access to the VU Amsterdam student portal, VUnet.  Please check your e-mail and spam folders regularly and keep in mind that it can take a day or two before the system creates your account and sends you e-mail verification.

You should NOT fill out the Semester in Amsterdam application form via the link below if:

  • You are a student of another Dutch university wishing to follow a minor programme. In this case, please follow the steps listed for non-VU students here.
  • You wish to apply to a full degree programme. Semester in Amsterdam is not a degree programme. Please follow the application procedure listed on the degree programme page.
  • You have been nominated by your home university to participate in Exchange and your university is a partner university of VU Amsterdam. Please contact the Exchange Team at incoming@vu.nl if you have questions about how to apply.  Semester in Amsterdam is a separate programme from the Exchange programme at VU Amsterdam.  
  • You are participating in Semester in Amsterdam through a provider such as IES Abroad, CIEE, CEA, or ISA and you have not yet been directed to submit a Semester in Amsterdam application. **Only after you have been accepted by your provider should you complete the Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application.  If you're not sure, please contact your provider before submitting an application.

Before you apply, please consult our detailed Application Guide.  You may wish to keep this document open and use it as a reference throughout the application process as it will likely answer many of the questions you may have.

Semester in Amsterdam Programme Application: Register.vu.nl

*Please make sure to select "Semester in Amsterdam" from the drop-down menu.


Fall 2021 Semester      1 April - Payment Deadline: 1 May
Spring 2022 Semester1 October - Payment Deadline: 1 November