Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

City: Amsterdam
Language of instruction: Dutch, English
  • Vrije Universiteit or “Free University” Amsterdam was established in 1880
  •  First institution of higher education in the Netherlands independent from both the Church and State
  • VU Amsterdam is a leading European research university with about 25,000 students and 2,500 academic staff. 14% of the student body is international.
  • One of the highest-ranked universities in the Netherlands and globally ( World University Rankings 2019-2020, # 146th)
  • The Vrije Universiteit is made up of several faculties, responsible for teaching and research, as well as a number of interdisciplinary research institutes.
  • The university offers a wide choice of study options;50 Bachelor degree programmes ( 4 completely taught in English), and over 70 English taught Master degree programmes
  • A strong reputation for high quality teaching; Students work in relatively small groups, in which considerable emphasis is placed on interaction and a personal approach.
  • Located on a compact urban campus in the southern Buitenveldert neighbourhood of Amsterdam and adjacent to the modern Zuidas business district.

Read student reports

Partner university's areas of study

ArtsCommerce (UBCV)EducationHealth SciencesLand and Food SystemsManagement (UBCO)Science

Notes on Language of Instruction

The language of instruction for most bachelor's courses is Dutch. However, the university offers a few undergraduate programs fully in English. Over 70 master's programmes at VU are offered entirely in English. 


Terms offered

Term 1Term 2Full year Term 1 + 2 (UBC Term 1 start)

Who can go?

Exchange students can take coursework in most areas of study

Term dates

Academic year consists of 6 periods.

Fall Semester ( UBC Term 1)

  • Period 1: September - October
  • Period 2: November - December
  • Period 3: January - February 

Spring Semester ( UBC Term 2)

  • Period 4: February - March
  • Period 5: April - May
  • Period 6: June - July

 Periods 3 and 6 are both ‘stand-alone’ periods and therefore optional.

There is significantly more coursework available in English during the Fall semester.

Courses + Transfer Credits


Course equivalency formula

2 ECTS = 1 UBC Credit

Passing grade

Grades of 5.5 and higher are passing grades.

Grading scheme

Dutch grades range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Grades of 5.5 and higher are passing grades. The highest grade, 10, is very rarely awarded. An 8 is considered a high mark and a 7 is more common. Grades from 1 to 3 are also quite rare.

Credit transfer process

The transfer credit process takes approximately 16 weeks following each submission deadline. You should allow sufficient time to meet important deadlines that may affect you (e.g. application for graduation, registration in courses that require prerequisites that you took on exchange, entry to a major/honours program, etc.)

For more information about Go Global transfer credit

Course Information

* Students who have special requirements or require academic accommodation should contact a Go Global advisor regarding their needs at least six weeks prior to the application deadline.

Type of Go Global Experiences

Exchange (pay UBC tuition)

Course information and restrictions

There is significantly more coursework available in English during the Fall semester.

Students have the opportunity to follow special "minor" programs offered in the first semester.

Full course load information

30 ECTS = 15 UBC Credits

Courses and Minors

Transfer credits and equivalent courses at this university

Check out the courses that students have successfully transferred back in the last 3 years. If you don't see a course you need listed, it simply means you need to submit the course to be evaluated through the Transfer Credit Portal while on exchange.

* Areas of study at partner universities are subject to change. This list is to be used as a general guideline and is not exhaustive; research the partners' websites for additional course information.

No courses found.
Tuition, Fees and Awards

Scholarships + awards

The Go Global award $1000

All students accepted to Go Global for Exchange, Research Abroad, or Study Abroad programs are automatically considered for this award. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you'll be notified of your award after you're accepted to Go Global and after you get nominated to apply to the partner university.

Additional awards

Students who are eligible for awards may receive one UBC or UBC-affiliated international learning award. If you're eligible, you are always offered the highest-value award. Unless stated otherwise, you need to meet eligibility criteria set out by the University Senate regarding awards.

Check out international learning awards and eligibility.

Information for US students

If you are a student from the United States, please check the US Department of Education Lookup Tool to ensure that any partner institution you wish to attend on Exchange is Title IV ‘eligible’ for Federal Student Aid for the year in which you intend to study there. For institutions outside of the US, select “Foreign Country” from the “State” dropdown menu.

If you attend an eligible institution, then you may receive Title IV federal student loans while on Exchange.

If you attend an ineligible institution:

  • You will not be eligible for US federal student loans,
  • You may invalidate any US student aid you have previously received for your studies at UBC,
  • You may be required to immediately begin repaying your US student loans, and
  • You may not be eligible for any future US student aid for the remainder of your studies at UBC.

Types of accommodation available


Housing notes

The International Office offers accommodation to participants in the Exchange programmes.

  • There are furnished rooms with private or shared facilities. The number of rooms available is limited so provision of accommodation for every student is not guaranteed ( However, the International Office will do its utmost best to find suitable accommodation for everyone). 
  • Once your application has been accepted and you have confirmed your participation in VUnet, you will be able to apply for accommodation in VUnet. Accommodation will be assigned based on a first paid, first serve system. 

Accommodation for Exchange Students

How to applyBack to UBCO