Is It Hard To Get Into Amsterdam University?

How to get into the University of Amsterdam

University of Amsterdam,(UvA), or Vrije University of Amsterdam (VA)?

The first thing you must decide is precisely which university you wish to apply to: the University of Amsterdam,(UvA), or Vrije University of Amsterdam (VA) – they are NOT the same institution, although both are excellent and located in the same lively and exciting city!

In addition, you need to be aware of the existence of Amsterdam University College,(UAC), a traditional liberal arts and sciences institution, whose degrees are, just to confuse you even more, validated and  issued by the University of Amsterdam.

The differences between these options are not simply a question of names, for AUC is 100 per cent residential and only accepts an extremely small number of students every year, whereas the University of Amsterdam has 39,000 students and uses non-profit housing associations to secure rental properties. Tuition fees also differ, see below.

How to get into the University of Amsterdam – an overview

Established in 1632, the University of Amsterdam is a public, high research output university, ranked in the Top 20 in Europe and 55th in the world (QS, 2022). It has consistently been rated No 1, globally, for Communication Sciences and Media, while the following courses are in the world top 50:

education system in the netherlands - University of Amsterdam,(UvA), or Vrije University of Amsterdam (VA) –

Most common asked questions:

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University of Amsteram and Erasmus exchange programe

The University of Amsterdam has 15 designated research priority areas and runs 28 research institutes. It has produced six  Nobel prize winners and five Dutch prime ministers, among its many high-profile alumni.

The university takes part in Erasmus exchanges with 200 institutions and has over 40 academic partners in other continents. At present 20 courses at the undergraduate level are taught only in English, while at the Master’s level, the choice is larger –some 180 courses.

English courses at the UvA:

The University of Amsterdam has seven faculties: humanities; social and behavioral sciences; economics and business; science; law; medicine; dentistry. Its overall acceptance rate for international students is somewhere around 4.3 percent, although this varies greatly from course to course.

The academic year is split into two 20-week semesters.

Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Amsterdam

BA and BSc (Hons) degree courses are taught at Amsterdam University College, first established in 2009, as a joint initiative between VU and the University of Amsterdam.

A close-knit community with under 1000 students, AUC has built a reputation for excellence and is part of the new wave of liberal arts colleges being created by the Dutch government.

Entry requirements depend on whether you intend to take science, social science, or humanities majors. Good scores in maths and English are important.

Thus, maths proficiency grades vary, with science students needing to score 5 at a higher level, and 6-7 at a standard level in the IB, whereas social science students are asked for 5 and 6 respectively, and humanities students must achieve a 7 at a standard level in the IB, and 4 at a higher level.

This is a general guide, and if you wish to check how your national examinations translate into AUC’s equivalents, then call Elab and we will provide you with the information you need, relating to your course.

All applications for Liberal Arts and Sciences have to be submitted by 1 February. You will live on the premises at AUC throughout your course and should budget:

University of Amsterdam - Università di Amsterdam - Uniwersytet w Amsterdamie (12)

Study in Amsterdam


Some courses at the University of Amsterdam are highly selective and expect applicants to go through a series of steps to secure a place. If you wish to study Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, for example, the only course of its kind, which has an annual intake of 200 students, you will have to submit your initial forms to Studielink, the central Dutch admissions system, by 1 February.

Classes at the University of Amsterdam

Classes at the University of Amsterdam during the Liberal Arts and Sciences programe are small and each student will be assigned a personal tutor and have the opportunity to put together the program they wish to follow since AUC is flexible and has a multidisciplinary approach to learning.

You will be given the opportunity to acquire both specialist and interdisciplinary knowledge and deal with real-world problems in science and in society.

In your first year you will take ten courses, four or five of which are compulsory: academic writing skills, logic, information flow and argumentation,  a language( French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese), and The Global Identity Experience. Depending on your major, you will then take an introductory theme course: 

By the end of the first year, you will choose your major and concentration in science, humanities, or social sciences.

AUC students do not live in the middle of Amsterdam but are housed in the nearby Science Park, a modern campus set up around 1996, with dormitories located next to the academic buildings.

All students can use the facilities of the other two universities in Amsterdam. AUC admits a maximum of 300 students every year, so competition for a place is fierce.

How to get into the University of Amsterdam - selective and fixed quota courses

Some courses at the University of Amsterdam are highly selective and expect applicants to go through a series of steps to secure a place. If you wish to study Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, for example, the only course of its kind, which has an annual intake of 200 students, you will have to submit your initial forms to Studielink, the central Dutch admissions system, by 1 February.

These consist of the application form, supporting transcripts of your diploma and grades, along with a 500-word letter of motivation that explains why you wish to do the course at this university. In addition, you have to put together a CV.

This cannot resemble the type of CV you would use to apply for paid work but has to outline your academic history in Word or PDF format.

This document has to be between one and two pages long. This admissions board will evaluate what you have written ad decide who goes through to the next stage of the application process.

If you get through to Round 2,you will have to sit a test. You will receive the materials you need to prepare for the test five days beforehand. You will be asked to answer 1-2 open questions, and the rest of the paper is made up of multiple-choice answers. You will also need to submit a study plan and a financial plan. The university will send you a template for the two plans, which must be submitted on the same day as you sit the test.

Round 3 is an interview. 

Applications to PPLE can only be submitted between 1 October and I February.

Certain programs, such as Psychology and Business Administration, have enrolment quotas. Applications have to be sent in by 15 January, through Studielink, and if more people apply for the course than the number of places available, a selection process will be unrolled between 1 January and 15 April.

You will be given a number by Studielink, based on your grades and results, and if they are good enough you will be offered a place – which you have to accept within 14 days.

If you do not, you will be removed from the list, and the next person down from you will be offered the place.

University in Amsterdam


Some courses at the University of Amsterdam are highly selective and expect applicants to go through a series of steps to secure a place. If you wish to study Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, for example, the only course of its kind, which has an annual intake of 200 students, you will have to submit your initial forms to Studielink, the central Dutch admissions system, by 1 February.

How to get into the University of Amsterdam: deadlines and documents

Deadline and documents – application to the University of Amsterdam.

Selective courses have specific deadlines, see above, but the general deadline is 1 April, if you also wish to apply for housing through the University of Amsterdam and 1 May if you intend to organize your own accommodation.

It is worth bearing in mind that accommodation is not necessarily easy to find in Amsterdam, particularly if you leave it to the last minute, and many first-year undergraduates prefer to get onto the University of Amsterdam housing list as soon as they are offered a place.

Dutch university applications are processed through the central admissions system, Studielink.

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with your University of Amsterdam student number and information on what to do next.

You will upload your completed application form and documents – proof of English proficiency (IELTS 6.5+; TOEFL 100;CAE Grade A) school grades, transcripts, CV, etc- through the MyInfo portal on the website.

You can apply for four courses at a time – but only two of these can be Numerus Fixus (fixed quota) courses.

Financial support and general costs at the UvA

Study at the University of Amsterdam - costs:

EU students will pay the statutory annual tuition fee of  3 252 euros (2021-2022), but the Dutch government is currently offering a 50 percent reduction for first-year undergraduates, in response to the pandemic, so this reduces the first-year fee significantly.

In terms of living costs, Amsterdam is not the cheapest -nor the most expensive – city in the world.

It has been calculated that you will need between 925 and 1 500 euros a month for all your expenses, with tuition fees on top.

Transport can cost from 70 to 100 euros a month, and since Amsterdam is a small city, most students buy bicycles.

A good bike will cost you 100-200 euros and a sturdy lock is about 50 euros, so this is an excellent option for economizing.

 If you do find a job and work 56 hours a month, all through the year, then you will be eligible to apply for Studiefinanciering  – see below.

The first thing you must decide is precisely which university you wish to apply to: the University of Amsterdam,(UvA), or Vrije University of Amsterdam (VA)

UvA or VA?


The first thing you must decide is precisely which university you wish to apply to: the University of Amsterdam,(UvA), or Vrije University of Amsterdam (VA)

Financial support at the University of Amsterdam:

Studiefinanciering

Once you have been in employment for three months, and have the payslips to prove it, you become eligible to borrow 1016 euros a month under this scheme – a sum which includes tuition fees. This means that you will not be able to apply for the loan for at least three months after arriving in Amsterdam, and you, therefore, have to make sure that you bring enough money with you to cover this period.

Once you have the payslips, apply.

You will need to pay back this cost-of-living loan over 30 years and the government currently charges 0.81 percent interest. You will also have to purchase full health insurance, which costs in the region of 90 euros a month – 70 of which will be refunded since you are a student. If you fail to repay the loan, the government will track you down, and the sum you owe could go up by 300% and also incur a prohibitive interest rate. Do not risk it.

Collegegeldkrediet

EU students who are under 30 and have a Dutch bank account and citizen service number – similar to the UK’s national insurance number – which you can get once you have a permanent address in Amsterdam, can apply for this tuition fee loan.

You will need to start repaying it two years after you have graduated, and you can take up to 15 years to pay it all back. If you earn very little, the amount you must repay reflects this fact, since repayments are calculated on a sliding scale, rather than fixed.

Huurtoeslag

Housing benefit. EU students who have a lower income than the minimum income defined by the government may be able to apply for this financial aid. You must have a rental contract in your own name and the cost of your housing has to fall into a  specific bracket.

In addition, no one who is under the age of 18 is entitled to claim housing benefits in the Netherlands.

Other financial help :

It has been estimated that 10-15 percent of the University of Amsterdam’s students are awarded financial help from the generous university scholarship fund.

Some courses at the University of Amsterdam are highly selective and expect applicants to go through a series of steps to secure a place. If you wish to study Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, for example, the only course of its kind, which has an annual intake of 200 students, you will have to submit your initial forms to Studielink, the central Dutch admissions system, by 1 February.

Study in the Netherlands


Bicycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, and it is possible to cross the entire city in a short period of time.

How to get into the University of Amsterdam – living in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city that attracts millions of tourists every year, and we have all seen images of its tree-lined canals, winding ancient streets, and stunning seventeenth-century merchants’ houses. With a population of approximately one million, Amsterdam is small and cozy enough to feel like a large town, and living there makes you part of a close and friendly community.

Bicycling is a way of life in the Netherlands, and it is possible to cross the entire city in a short period of time. Amsterdam’s historic heart and its canals make it a visually entrancing backdrop for the many bistros, bars, restaurants, and cafes where students congregate between lessons and at the end of the day.

Amsterdam is a  multicultural city, so you are as likely to find soul food as couscous and pancakes being sold on street corners. Amsterdam has many open spaces which host regular cultural events, from music and food festivals to craft fairs and farmers’ markets.

Pop-up shops and Fashion Fairs, film festivals, and annual events like The Festival of Light and National Tulip Day all provide interesting leisure events and activities, while quiet cruises down the canals and afternoons picnicking in Westerpark are ideal for days when you just want to sit down peacefully, and admire the natural world.

The opportunity to spend three or more years living in Amsterdam is without a doubt one of the reasons why students decide to apply to the University of Amsterdam. A fascinating city and an excellent university are a marriage made in heaven!

If you would like to apply to study at the University of Amsterdam and need further guidance or information, do not hesitate to contact Elab.

One of our experienced specialist consultants will work together with you, to ensure you choose the best course for your interests, talents, and career plans. Call or email us and let us begin preparing your application to the University of Amsterdam.

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