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Masters in Arts & Culture: Design Cultures

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
September 2020
Application deadline: 01 April 2020
2,143 EUR excl. VAT

Program description

The specialisation Design Cultures, of the Master's programme Arts and Culture, focuses on design in relation to our direct environment, interior spaces and buildings, graphic communication, dress and fashion, and other artefacts. Both material and digital design coexist in our society and they require adequate analysis. Design Cultures offers this analysis by taking a humanities perspective and connecting today's material cultures with their historical context and particular media. In doing so, this master explores design history and theory in connection with contemporary issues such as identity, sustainability, and multiculturalism.

Admission requirements

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 Master’s programme Arts & Culture, specialization in Design Cultures.

The Master’s Arts & Culture is designed for students with an academic Bachelor’s in either design, fashion, art or (visual) cultural studies. You may also be accepted if you have an academic Bachelor’s in other disciplines of the Humanities (history, journalism, communication studies) or in anthropology or sociology, with a major or specialization in design, fashion, art or visual culture (equal to a minimum of 30 ECTS). Students with a historical and theoretical interest in the broad field of design are particularly welcome.

Youmust always present official test resultsproving 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.

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements.

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Program content

Arts and Culture: Design Cultures is a one-year Master’s degree comprising compulsory courses (30 credits), electives or an internship and a Master’s thesis (18 credits).
Compulsory courses are:

  • Design, History and Culture
  • Methods of Design Analysis: The Meanings of Design
  • The Arts and Crafts of “Dutch” Design
  • Design in Words: Criticism, Writing & Theory
  • Trending Topics Arts and Culture (Lecture Series)

Opportunities for interdisciplinary electives include Transmedia Storytelling; Reading Concepts of Intermediality; Seminar Architecture; Crossmedial Exhibitions; Trajectory Global and Local, Global Changes and Human Choices; Literature Visualised; Trajectory Culture and Power; Culture and Identity in Organisations; Migrations and Circulations; Contemporary Art History; Digital Art and Ethnicity and Nationalism in East and South East Asia

Tuition fees

The cost of this program for students of EU/EEA countries is €2,143

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university.

The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.


MA in Arts & Culture

Continuing studies

As a Design Cultures graduate, you can look forward to a career in a cultural institution (editor, project manager) or a museum (researcher, curator), in the media, (author, critic, producer), in the government sector (administrator, advisor), at a design agency (researcher, consultant) or at an educational or research institute (teacher, researcher).

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About this institute

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 170 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 24,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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