Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Established in 1880 as one of the three constituent faculties, the Faculty of Law has been at the forefront of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s mission of societal development and spirit of public service.

Why Choose VU Amsterdam?

VU stands for Vrije Universiteit. VU Amsterdam was the first university in the Netherlands established in 1880 by Abraham Kuyper, with no interference from the church or the state. This heritage is still very much part of who we are. From the very beginning, the university has determined its own areas of research, created its own study programmes and practised its own didactic methods. The teaching style can be described as student-centered: we stimulate students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. VU Amsterdam is open to all cultures, nationalities and religions.

About Amsterdam & The Netherlands

Did you know that:


• Amsterdam is the city with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands?


• Amsterdam has approximately 800,000 inhabitants?


• Amsterdam has 165 canals?


• There are more bikes in Amsterdam (881,000), than permanent residents?


• According to Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living Ranking, Amsterdam is ranked 11th worldwide, ahead of London (39th) and New York (44th)?


• Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in the world?


• English is widely spoken in the Netherlands?

International Environment

Vu Amsterdam offers an international study environment. A quarter of all students in our English-taught programmes comes from abroad; Our International Office offers excellent services and assists international student with housingvisa, residence permits (if applicable) and other practicalities relating to studying in the Netherlands.


Research at VU University’s Faculty of Law is inspired by the overarching topic of the functioning and relevance of law in society. What is the role of law in a fast-changing society? Where should we draw the social, moral and other boundaries of legal solutions? How does law relate to other scientific disciplines? Such questions shape our pioneering research into the foundations of law.


The faculty of Law is organized into six departments, responsible for education and research. Academics are employed at one of these departments while their research is embedded in one of the eight research programmes. Directors of the research programmes form the research board which supports the faculty board in the development and implementation of research policy and strategy. All research programmes form part of the overarching Kooijmans Institute for Law and Governance. Academics associated with these research programmes also participate in other research institutes of the VU University Amsterdam. Centres of expertise have been established to bring together research expertise and to raise the profile of certain research projects and themes. 

Alumni Network

The Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education (Nuffic) has set up the Holland Alumni network. This network aims to be an international network of Holland alumni, alumni-to-be, and relevant organizations.

For more information, visit their website: 

Exchange Programme

The Faculty of Law of VU University Amsterdam is a medium-sized faculty with approximately 3000 students. It has a long tradition in law and society, having contacts in the legal and judicial institutions both in the Netherlands and abroad. Also, VU University Amsterdam is widely renowed for its ground-breaking criminological research. It hosts the internationally renowed criminological research institute NSCR

Located in the capital city of a country with a long tradition of international trade, the Faculty of Law is experienced in teaching students about an open legal system. Historically, the Dutch have borrowed important elements from different European legal traditions. The mix of Roman law and the peculiarities of the Dutch legal system, together with French, German and English influences produces a perfect environment to become acquainted with the characteristics of the internationally complex legal systems. 

VU University Amsterdam offers many English-taught courses in a variety of subjects. We encourage you to explore our corporate website to look for possibilities and information about studying at the Faculty of Law. More information about the Exchange programmes can be found here.

Application Procedure for International Degree Holders

Step 1: Create an enrollment application in Studielink (the Dutch national education application system) 

Please note: Only if you already live in the Netherlands, you will need a DigiD. DigiD applications take up to two weeks: apply for DigiD .

Check out our handy guide for the studielink procedure here 

Log in to Studielink and create a new enrolment application for the study programme you wish to follow.


Important points when creating an enrollment application

  • When using login details for creating an enrollment application in Studielink, please select Apply for username and password.
  • Make sure that the e-mail address you fill in in Studielink (My details) is correct: you will receive important notices                          concerning your enrollment via this address.
  • Please enter your prior education (on the basis of which your application will be judged) correctly.
  • Select the study programme of choice with (Master) at the end from the list in Studielink.
  • Enter your payment details so that the correct tuition fee can be calculated. This does not generate and automatic payment.          The deadline for payment is 31 August 2017.
  • Please be aware that your enrolment must be fully completed on 31 August 2017 in order to start your study programme              on 1 September 2017. If your enrolment is not complete on this date, you will have to postpone your study programme until        the following academic year.


Step 2: Pay the application fee

All students with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable, €100 application fee.

After we have received the application fee, we will start processing your application immediately.

Once you have completed your enrolment application in Studielink, you will receive an e-mail (sent to the address you supply in Studielink) with information on how you can pay the fee. Please do not delay paying the fee as this will delay your application.

  • Application fee procedure


Step 3: Complete your application in VUnet

In order to upload the required documents and complete your application, you will need to log into VUnet, the university's student portal. We advise you to do this as soon as possible after applying in Studielink.

Please note: you do not need to send original documents when applying, but you will need to send these if you are admitted by which time you will be informed about the requirements in more detail.

After you complete your enrolment application in Studielink you will receive a VUnet-ID (username and password) in two separate e-mails sent to the address you entered in Studielink. This may take up to two working days.

Once you have received these login details, log in to VUnet, answer the questions asked and upload documents as requested.

If you can prove to be a top student then you may want to apply for a VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP) scholarship and/or a Holland Scholarship Programme scholarship. You can select these scholarships during the application process in VUnet.

If you have not received your login details, please first check your spam. If you are still unable to locate them, then contact the UCIT service desk on ucit-servicedesk@vu.nl or +31 (0)20 598 0000.


Step 4: Wait for decision on application

Once your file is complete it will be handed over to the faculty. The faculty may contact you about any additional requirements. The Admission Board of the faculty will make a decision within six weeks.

For all questions about the evaluation of your application, please contact your International Student Advisor, whose contact details can be found on the contact page your chosen study programme.

If you are informed that your application has been successful, congratulations! A number of additional steps must now be taken.

  • What happens after admission?


Steps Deadlines for EU/EEA or Dutch students who do not wish to apply for university housing Deadlines for non-EU/EEA students who do not need study visa and/or residence permit or university housing Deadlines for students who need study visa and/or residence permit (do I need a study visa?) (also advised deadline if you want to apply for university housing (strongly recommended)
1. Create an enrolment application 1 June 2017 1 June 2017 1 April 2017
2. Pay the application fee  1 June 2017  As soon as possible after applying in Studielink (we can only process your application once we have received the fee) As soon as possible after applying in Studielink (we can only process your application once we have received the fee)
3. Complete your application in VUnet 1 June 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink) 1 June 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink) 1 April 2017 (please complete as soon as possible after applying in Studielink)
4. Wait for admission by the Examination Board of the faculty Admission board will decide within 6 weeks Admission board will decide within 6 weeks Admission board will decide within 6 weeks

Required Documents

After you’ve applied for the programme of your choice via Studielink, you will receive your log in details for VUnet, where you can upload the required documents. Every study programme may have a different set of required documents that you need to upload. For this reason you will need to check the programme page to find out which documents you need to prepare. Below a description of the documents that may be asked for. 

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID = only for EU residents) 
    A clear scan of the pages in your passport that contain your personal data. A copy of a passport (or ID) that is no longer valid cannot not be accepted. 
  • Curriculum Vitae 
    A curriculum vitae that includes your personal details and lists your previous education and relevant work experience. An Europass CV template could be used, however other formats will be accepted too. 
  • 2 Letters of recommendation
    Letters written by members of the academic staff at the educational institute where you studied (or are studying). Digital copies, uploaded in VUnet are preferred. If referees prefer providing their references directly to the university, please let them email your contact person in the international office . 
  • Letter of Motivation 
    A 1-2 page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme. Also, if applicable, please specify in this letter, the name of the specialization you are applying for. 
  • Diploma(s)* 
    A copy of the original Bachelor's degree or certificate. 

    Diploma requirements: Upload in VUnet a scan of your diploma with an English, German of French translation by your university or a sworn translator. 

    Please note: Before we can unconditionally accept you, we will need to you supply us with a certified copy of your diploma certificate. The certification can be provided by your home university of a public notary. Deadline for supplying: 31 August. 
  • Transcript of records 
    A list of grades that your previous academic study/studies. 

    If you have not yet completed your educational programme, please send temporary transcripts showing the grades you have received to date. In that case, please also send us a list of courses that are not on the temporary transcripts but that you will have to take to complete your programme. 

    Please note: The certified copy of your transcript must be in English, German or Dutch, or must be translated into one of these languages by your university or by a sworn translator.
  • Thesis (or alternative piece of academic writing)
    Part of a Bachelor's or Master's thesis (written in English). If your previous curriculum did not include the writing of a thesis, any other representable piece of academic writing will serve as an alternative. 

    If you have not written anything in English during your studies, you can write a 3-5 pages abstract of a piece of academic writing including bibliography, in English. Please note, we will always check application documents for plagiarism. 
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education 
    A list the most relevant courses/modules that were part of your Bachelor's (and Master's, if applicable) programme, with a short description of the contents of these courses. You can either copy this from a study guide or type a 5-10 line description for each relevant course, if a study guide is not readily available. 
  • A list of the main literature used during your previous higher education 
    A literature list (bibliography), summing up the most relevant academic textbooks or articles used during your previous education. 
  • English language test(can also be provided after conditional admission)*
    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia or Canada (English-speaking provinces) to provide us with an English language test score that meets the required minimum set for the programme of choice. If you cannot yet provide us with a positive score yet, please register for a recognized English language test. All faculties will accept IELTS tests, Cambridge tests, and TOEFL tests . 

    Please note: Acceptable minimum scores may vary per faculty / programme.
  • Nuffic Certificate (only for Chinese students) 
    Chinese students who wish to enrol in an English-taught programme at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate (former Neso Certificate). Nuffic will send the certificate directly to us, once it has been issued. 
  • Valid residence permit 
    If you already live in the Netherlands, a copy (front and reverse side) of your valid residence permit (if available). If your residence permit is no longer valid, please submit a copy of the expired card and an official statement from the immigration authorities (IND) acknowledging that you have applied for an extension. 



* Although complete applications are preferred, both the certified copy of the diploma certificate and the English test result, can be supplied to us after you've submitted the rest of your application. For EU students, the latest deadline for supplying us with these documents is set to the 31st of August, for non-EU students, the English test result need to be supplied to be before 1 June (due to it being a requirement for the visa/residence application procedure). Course registrations are not possible until all documents have been provided.