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Masters in Business Administration: Leadership and Change management

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
01 September 2022

About this program

Masters in Business Administration:Leadership & Change management

How can you effectively lead a group of people to a common goal when they each have differing interests? How can you create a compelling call to action when addressing multiple stakeholders?

The Leadership & Change Management Master’s programme offers a unique proposition: it teaches you to lead a team through organisational change, to manage the change project, and to get buy-in from all involved. Leadership and change are a natural combination – no change management can be effective without good leadership, and only an effective leader can create positive change. Having completed the programme, you’ll come away with the organisational, political and rhetorical skills you need to be a successful future leader. Whether you want to find a role in consultancy, work internally for a large firm, or become an entrepreneur or project manager – this is the first step.

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Admission requirements

We welcome and look for motivated and ambitious students who are actively developing themselves and are aware of their position and role in society. In order to be successful in this programme you will need a solid academic basis in, for instance, (International) Business Administration, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and other related disciplines. Typically, successful students in this programme have at least a 7 average grade (or an equivalent GPA score for international students) in the third year of their Bachelor’s programme*, or a GMAT score of 600. Prior relevant work experience and experience with volunteering or other citizenship behaviours are encouraged and also taken into account.

Admission requirements

In order to gain admission to our Master’s programme, you 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 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score, but we do take into account your motivation, prior relevant work experiences, and any relevant volunteering experiences and/or citizenship behaviors. Furthermore you need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

Organizational Behavior:

  • Sinding et al. (2014). Organisational Behaviour. 5th edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill
  • Brehm, S. S. Kassin, S. M., & Fein, S. (2002). Social Psychology. 4th edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin

Organization Theory / Strategic Management:

  • Jaffee, D. (2001). Organization Theory: Tensions and Change. London: McGraw-Hill
  • Hitt, M. A., Ireland, D. R., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2014). Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization – Concepts and Cases, 11th Edition. Stamford: South-Western College Pub

English language proficiency

The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can already apply online without having the test results. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum general score 6,5
  • Minimum score writing 6


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92

Cambridge English

  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

The Leadership & Change Management programme will set you up as an academic professional, with knowledge of the theories of organisational change and leadership, as well as skills in implementing change and being an effective leader. In addition to courses that are unique to the Leadership & Change Management programme, you’ll also be able to take electives from the other Business Administration specialization programmes.

To break it down:

  • You’ll take two mandatory courses:
    • Perspectives on Organisational Change – Different perspectives on change, both theoretically and practically.
    • Intervention & Project Management – Practise organisational skills and project management.
  • You’ll take three elective courses in period 2 and 3; these should include at least two of the following three courses:
    • Change Rhetoric and Politics – Make and deliver an effective speech that resonates with multiple audiences.
    • Leadership: Advanced Perspectives – Practise your project management skills, and swap leadership styles to discover how diversity and bias come into play.
    • Organisational Change Serious Game – Simulating a company’s political landscape, you’ll accrue power throughout the game by earning points for your various change leadership skills.
  • You’ll take a course in Business Ethics in Leadership and Change Management. Explore current debates in business ethics and learn how to apply your insights to workplace moral dilemmas.
  • You’ll learn academic research skills and put them straight into practice by writing your Master’s thesis.  
  • Whatever your personal career ambitions, you can tailor your Master’s to ensure success. Select from many potential electives and three different types of internships to customise your Master’s. Choose to specialise exclusively in Leadership & Change Management or generalise your degree with other BA courses from Human Resource Management, International Management, Management Consulting or Strategy & Organisation. 

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.


  • Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 15,546


On completion of this program, students will receive a Masters in Business Administration: Leadership and Change management

Continuing studies

  • What skills make you interesting to potential future employers?
    • Students of the programme are “change agents” with the project management and leadership skills needed to drive change effectively. This is an attractive proposition for potential future employers.
  • What kinds of jobs are available to you?
    • A Master’s in Business Administration – Leadership & Change Management will set you up to become a change manager, project manager, business developer or consultant at a range of different firms.
  • What have alumni of the programme gone on to do?
    • Many of our students have become change managers at Akzo Nobel, GVB or Philips, for example, while others have become project managers. Some students now work for the Big Four consulting firms, such as Deloitte.
  • How does the programme help prepare students for the job market?
    • During the programme, you’ll have plenty of contact with the business world. You’ll also have the opportunity to do an internship (e.g. at Philips, KPMG, Deloitte, VUmc or Royal Haskoning), and to create a portfolio for potential future employers.

Career paths

The program will be the kick-off to your career as specialist of both leadership and organizational change that, up to 10 years after graduation, may open doors for you as a project manager, a consultant, or a specialist in organizational transformation or change management, or general management in private, public or large-scale institutions.

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU 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 more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for 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.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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