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Masters in Economics

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
On campus
September 2021
Virtual open day
Virtual open day

Program description

Masters in Economics

How does the EU contribute to economic stability? How does globalisation impact local economies? How can we address the challenges of affordable education, effective healthcare and the aging population across the globe?

The Economics Master’s programme seeks answers to these questions by exploring modern economic theory, data analysis and real-life case studies. It prepares you for a career as a professional economist, whether your interests draw you to a career in the public or private sector, research or consulting. Versatility is key in the programme, allowing you to explore all aspects of Economics before deciding on the path that is right for you. And along the way, you’ll have the support and guidance of a faculty ranked number one in the 2015 accreditation of Dutch Economics programmes. Students rave about the programme, giving it a top ranking in the most recent National Student Survey (NSE). Join us to find the path that’s right for you.


Taking a specialization (consisting of a specific combination of elective courses and a related thesis) is optional. The possible specializations are

  • Development Economics
  • Global Challenges
  • International and Macroeconomic Policy
  • Labour and Health

Students with a strong interest in public policy, may consider applying for the Economics Programme inPublic Policy.

Students can also decide to freely pick and mix from our extended list of elective courses. In addition, students can choose one elective course from outside the programme (subject to prior approval from the examination board).

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Admission requirements

The MSc programme Economics welcomes ambitious students who want to develop an advanced knowledge in economics and apply their knowledge to study a wide range of topics. Therefore, students should start with a solid academic background in economics and have sufficient knowledge of mathematics and statistics.

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 academics study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. You need to have successfully completed courses and studied literature related to the core of this programme, consisting of (or equivalents of):

  • Microeconomics: Varian, H.R.,Intermediate Microeconomics, Northon, 9th ed., 2014
  • Macroeceonomics: Gärtner, M.,Macroeconomics, Prentice Hall, eth ed., 2016
  • Econometrics and Statistics: Stock, J.H. and Watson, M.W.,Introduction to Econometrics, Pearson, Updated 3rd ed., 2015 (chapters 1-7)
  • Mathemetics for Economists: Sydsaeter, Knut and Hammond et al.,Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2016

Applications not providing proof of having passed course work at the minimally required level may be rejected, or applicants may be requested to make up for deficiencies by means of self-study. Good students with technical backgrounds (Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics, and possibly Engineering) are encouraged to apply.

International degree holders from Universities of Applied Sciences (polytechnics, vocational colleges, etc.) cannot be admitted.

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 writing score 6.0


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93

Cambridge English

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

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

Please refer to thelanguage requirement pagefor the general requirements regarding the English language test.

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

With a Master’s degree in Economics from VU Amsterdam, you’ll be a qualified, all-round economist suited to work in a variety of positions and highly desired by employers. You can choose to explore a wide variety of aspects of Economics, or focus on a particular specialisation.

To break it down:

  • You’ll take three core courses, all of which will prepare you for any career in Economics:
    • Advanced Methods for Applied Economic Research
    • Advanced Microeconomics  
    • Advanced Macroeconomics 
  • You’ll take three electives, chosen from:
    • Economics of Climate Change
    • Economics of the Welfare State
    • Globalization, Growth and Development
    • Industrial Organization and Competition Policy
    • Macroeconomic Policy in the EU
    • Microeconomics for Development
    • Urban Economic Challenges and Policies 
    • Labour Economics
    • Human Development (UvA)
    • Time Series Econometrics
    • Macro and International Finance

      You may choose to select one elective from outside of the programme, upon prior approval from the examination board.
  • You’ll conduct a research project that will allow you to apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills, as well as preparing you to write your Master’s thesis.
  • You’ll write a Master’s Thesis on the topic of your choice, in consultation with your advisor.

If you choose to specialise in a particular area of Economics, your choice of electives and thesis topics becomes more focused. Find out more about a specialised Master’s in:

  • Development Economics
  • Global Challenges
  • International and Macroeconomic Policy
  • Labour and Health

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: € 15,546


MSc in Economics

Continuing studies

How employable will you be after completing the programme?

Our students are actively recruited after completing the programme. Your challenge won’t be finding a job, but rather selecting the job that suits you best.

What kinds of jobs are available to you?
A Master’s programme in Economics will prepare you to help write policy in the public sector or as an analyst in the private sector. You’ll be a valuable addition to any research or analytics team. Your skills in data analysis will make you a top consultant in any Economics-related field.

What have alumni of the programme gone on to do?

Graduates have gone on to consult for private corporations, one of the large consulting firms (Deloitte, McKinsey, etc.), or the big banks. They’ve taken analyst or consultancy roles at the Dutch Central Bank and the European Central Bank.  They’re researchers at the OECD. They sit on Steering Committees with the Minister of Economic Affairs.

How does the programme help students select the right career path?

Know where you want to go? You can tailor your study accordingly. Not sure yet? We’ll help you decide and offer a variety of options to explore along the way

Contact school

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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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