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Masters in Chemistry (Joint Degree)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program overview
2 years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Virtual open day
Virtual open day
Start dates
September 2022

September 2023

September 2024

Program description

Masters in Chemistry (Joint Degree)

Are you interested in finding out how to use inexpensive organic materials to capture CO2 or discovering whether carbon can form a fifth bond? Are you keen to find new methods of seeing through non-transparent material, such as using laser measurements to trace tumours? Or how about developing new analytical methods to determine low levels of bioactive proteins in complex biological samples?

The Master’s programme in Chemistry is a challenging degree programme for students who already have a solid background in chemistry and who are eager to expand their knowledge and experience. Chemistry is not an isolated discipline: it forms the bridge between biology at one end of the spectrum (biomolecular chemistry) and physics at the other end (physical-theoretical chemistry). A Master’s in Chemistry can lead to an exciting, well-paid career with extensive opportunities for pursuing your ambitions.

Joint degree programme with the University of Amsterdam

Chemistry is a joint degree programme of the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Courses are taught at locations of both universities. UvA and VU jointly issue a degree certificate to graduates. As a Chemistry student in Amsterdam you benefit from expertise, networks and research projects at both universities and affiliated research institutes.

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Admission requirements

The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements.

Specific requirements master’s programme

  • Students with a Dutch preliminary education
    The Master’s in Chemistry is open to students: - with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry with a Bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences 
    - with a Bachelor's degree from a relevant Dutch hbo programme
  • HBO (HLO) graduates If you are a hbo graduate you do not have to take a premaster’s assessment to gain admission to the Master's programme in Chemistry. Instead, the Master's coordinator will hold an intake interview with you. When you fulfill all requirements, the Master's coordinator will provide you a declaration stating that you do not need to take the premaster’s assessment. Send in this declaration with your application form. Please visit our website for information on entering the programme with a higher vocational degree in Laboratory Science (HLO).
  • Minor If you are a hbo student and you would like to follow one of our minor programmes, please subscribe as a bachelor student.
  • Students with an international preliminary education Direct admission tot the Master's programme in Chemistry is possible with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. Students with a Bachelor's degree in a related subject will have to satisfy certain entry requirements depending on the course they have in mind. The Master's programme provides opportunities to fill specific gaps in your knowledge.

General language proficiency requirements

VU Amsterdam requires allapplicantsto take anEnglish testand to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.


All students must first have an intake interview with the Master coordinator. Please contact the master coordinator of your specialization.

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Program content

The Master's is a two-year programme (120 ECTS) taught in English. The Master’s programme consists of your individual specialisation track combined with your chosen profile.

Your programme is depending on the specialisation you choose. In general it consists of the following components:

  • introductory courses
  • advanced courses
  • optional courses 
  • research project in the field of your specialisation (including a Master’s thesis)
  • a literature survey 
  • a colloquium
  • ethics and portfolio academic skills

Each track encompasses compulsory (theoretical) courses, a research project including a Master's thesis, a literature thesis and a colloquium, as well as optional courses or a work placement. The first year focuses on your knowledge of chemistry theory. The second year is devoted to your specialisation or career profile. 

The three tracks you can choose from:

  • Analytical Sciences
  • Molecular Sciences
  • Science for Energy and Sustainability

There are four principal routes through the Master's programme, called career profiles. Each specialisation track within a career profile can be tailor-made to a student's personal requirements. At the initial planning stage, and with advice from the master coordinator, the optimal personal programme can be defined. Each career profile and specialisation includes a striking balance between compulsory courses, optional courses and research training. The first year of your master is focused on the specialisation you choose, the second year is focused on the career profile of your interest.

You can choose between the following career profiles:

  • Research. Focuses on the research in the field of your specialisation interest. (English)
  • Social. Focuses on policy, management and entrepreneurship in the field of Chemistry. (partly in Dutch)
  • Communications. Focuses on science communications theory and research, as well as in practice. (partly in Dutch)
  • Science teacher degree: With this track you acquire a teaching certification for secondary education. You become a specialist in your field and at the same time get to share your passion and inspire the scientists of tomorrow. Furthermore a teaching degree will give you job flexibility, freedom, autonomy and a great sense of contribution.

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 fees

  • Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 14,026


MSc in Chemistry

Continuing studies

Organizations and companies in the chemical sector are always on the lookout for talent. There are many different career opportunities, depending on your choice of profile and specialisation track.

A job as a researcher

Research positions are available with institutes like TNO or Solvay. Industrial giants like AKZO Nobel and DSM are eager to hire chemists. 

A job as a manager or consultant

Are you more interested in a job in public administration or business? You can find work in industry or in government institutions. These are often posts in the chemicals industry, with inspection services or consultancy firms, where there is an emphasis on management and/or policy aspects and where communication with professionals from different backgrounds is an important skill. Government posts might include jobs with ministries or enforcement agencies.

A job in education

Science education is the foundation of innovations that improve our world. Due to the shortage of certified science teachers and the fact that our economy is knowledge-based, you will be highly valued both in and out of the classroom. With a science teaching degree you can become involved in improving science education both as a teacher or other positions in the educational industry. Practical and scientific knowledge of teaching methods and educational psychology can steer your career in many directions. 

A job in communication

Students who opt for the communication profile often find work as a public relations officer, a science journalist or an education officer at a publishing house or museum.

Career opportunities

Graduates with excellent grades can apply for one of our PhD student positions. This is normally awarded for four years, during which the student is expected to complete a research project. The main task of a PhD student is to conduct research resulting in a thesis.

Many PhDs end up in research positions, or in managerial posts at universities, large companies, government institutions, or banks. 

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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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