CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY

Make a difference in today’s and tomorrow’s world
Keuzegids stickerBest rated programme within its own discipline in the Netherlands in Keuzegids Universiteiten 2018

Make a difference in today’s and tomorrow’s world

What attracts people to populism? How do differences between rich and poor affect a neighbourhood? To what extent does our colonial past influence today’ s society? Why are people concerned about climate change, but do not change their behaviour to prevent it? Where do we stand today with racism, xenophobia and “white privilege”?
   
The more the world throws these kinds of questions at us, the less we seem to understand them. Anthropologists shed light on issues of this kind by studying them from close up. They are different from other scientists, because they look at the world through the eyes of the people they study – in many cases people and groups that the rest of society overlooks. Anthropologists make complex subjects human and accessible.

The Bachelor’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at VU Amsterdam is ranked the best in the Netherlands the best in the Netherlands, and it is the only English Bachelor’s programme in Anthropology in the country.


Looking further as an anthropologist

As an anthropologist, your own senses are your research tools. You observe people as they go about their lives; you interview them; sometimes you spend months with them. You discover what motivates them, what they find important, what choices they make, and why. You hear what they think and feel, and find out what is going on under the surface.

The whole world is your professional domain. You address universal themes such as globalization, power, migration, emancipation and inequality by zooming into local situations: PVV-voters in Rotterdam, the women’s movement in Egypt, the effects of climate change on residents in Florida… You then link your findings to anthropological theory and previous research, so that your local study generates know-how that the whole world can use!

Do you want to make a difference to our world by investigating and understanding the everyday lives of people, and by providing a critical perspective and alternative to topical social issues? As an Anthropology graduate you can find employment as, a researcher at a civil society organization, (culture) specialist in the public or private sector, journalist, policy advisor in local or national institutions, or as community manager. And if you are interested in a specific theme such as for example sustainability, this bachelor offers you the possibility to specialize.

The programme is taught using the so-called “international classroom” principle. You find yourself surrounded by fellow students from diverse (national) backgrounds. What you all have in common is your drive to better understand different groups of people and to put what you learn into practice. All our lectures, seminars and practical sessions explore global issues from an international perspective. Our lecturers also come from different parts of the world, bringing with them a wide network of fellow researchers and partners. Learning in our international classroom is an exciting and challenging experience. You build your own network, develop your intercultural skills and improve your proficiency in English. All of which are sure to give you a head start on the international job market.

If you have obtained or will obtain a Dutch diploma, please check the criteria on our Dutch webpage.


Applicants holding a diploma from another country must meet a number of requirements:

  1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO diploma

    See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country. Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

  2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English

    See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirement.

  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics

After you apply to the programme and upload the required documents in our student portal, your International Student Advisor will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your diploma is equivalent to the Dutch VWO diploma and whether your mathematics level is sufficient.

These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the required level of mathematics:

  • International Baccalaureate: Math Studies, Math Standard Level or Math Higher Level.
  • British GCE A-Levels: A-levels or AS-level in Mathematics with a grade A, B or C.
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife
  • European Baccalaureate: Mathematics; written or oral examination, at least 3 hours during the Orientation Cycle.

If your diploma is not considered to be at the right level and/or if your proficiency in mathematics is considered to be insufficient, your International Student Advisor will inform you about the possibilities how to meet the requirements with additional certificates. 

When advised to sit an entry exam, the following certificates are deemed equivalent to the required Dutch VWO Mathematics C level.

International Exams

  • International Baccalaureate certificate in Math Studies, Math Standard Level or Math Higher Level.
  • Another option for obtaining a separate course certificate in the required subjects is to take an A-level or AS-level in Mathematics examination at a registered Cambridge school. Please check here to find the nearest Cambridge school in your country.

Exams in the Netherlands

  • Boswell-Bèta (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a VWO Mathematics C exam in December, May and July.
  • CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX also offers a VWO Mathematics C exam.


Please check our step-by-step application guide for more information. 


International applicants will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • Transcript(s) of records (e.g. High School grade list)
  • Curriculum Vitae (your personal details, previous education and any relevant work experience in approximately one A4 page)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • English language test results (if already obtained)

Deadline: International students who require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 May. You will be informed about your admission within four weeks after the completion of your application (including all required documents).

Ready to apply?
Great! All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal.

VU Matching enables you to check whether you have chosen the right degree programme. The matching programme consists of two steps: a digital questionnaire on VUnet, which is part of the application process, and a matching activity. By taking part in the matching activity, you can check whether the programme is really the right one for you. For more information, please see the VU Matching website.

Please note: You will only be invited to the Matching activity if you have logged in to VUnet, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s information portal. It is also important that you fill in the digital matching questionnaire on VUnet before you join the matching activity! Doing so means you have completed the first step of VU Matching and are well prepared for the matching activity.

Matching for Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology: Friday 8 June 2018.

The VU Matching activity for the Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology programme will be held on Friday, 8 June on the VU campus.

You have to prepare for the Matching activity by reading the relevant literature in advance. You will be sent the link for downloading this literature together with the matching activity programme when you respond to the invitation by signing up for the matching day. The invitations will be issued in April.

On the matching day itself, you will attend two lectures on the literature. There will then be a test on the topic discussed in the literature and during the lecture.

Following the test, the questions will be discussed in a tutorial. This also gives you an opportunity to meet your fellow students, one of your lecturers, and students already taking the Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology programme. You can ask them anything you like about the programme, the research carried out by the teaching staff, and the career prospects for anthropologists.

Online matching for international students
Are you an international student and not able to make it to the VU campus in June? We will prepare an online VU Matching activity just for you. Just make sure that we can send you an invitation by logging in to VUnet.

Would you like to know more?
Further details about VU Matching are available at VU Matching website.
If you have specific questions about the Cultural Anthropology and Developmental Sociology matching day, please get in touch at matching.fsw@vu.nl.

Do you have questions about the content of the programme or information activities? Ask them via contact@vu.nl.

If you have questions about matching, you can send an email to matching.fsw@vu.nl.

International Student Advisor
For questions about admission and other matters, please contact international student advisor Frieda Schaufeli.

Frieda Schaufeli
Frieda Schaufeli
E bachelors.fss@vu.nl
T +31 20 5982883

Bachelor's Day 4 November
At the Bachelor's Day, you can gather detailed information at the information market and visit the information round of the programme.

What you will be doing

This three-year international specialization of the Bachelor’s programme in Anthropology expressly relates anthropology as a (social) science to modern-day societal challenges. Year 1 starts with an introduction to core concepts of anthropology, followed by immediately putting academic theory, research skills and methods into practice. In year 2 you will deepen your knowledge of various key anthropological themes, such as development, migration, identity and political economy, and apply a multidisciplinary approach to anthropology. The third and final year focuses on the anthropology theme you are passionate about. The study programme concludes with writing a thesis based on your own ethnographic research.

  • Contact hours: ± 14 hours
  • Independent study: ± 28 hours
  • Total: ± 42 hours

Get acquainted with important themes, theories and concepts in anthropology, such as culture, ethnicity, nationalism, power, religion and inequality. You will learn how to do general research in the social sciences and study anthropological methods in particular. You will also master various techniques such as (open) interviewing, observing and ethnographic writing.

Programme overview

Deepen your knowledge of current themes, such as the anthropology of economics and politics, development anthropology, as well as diversity, religion and migration. You will take interdisciplinary courses with students from other programmes such as Communication Sciences, Public Administration and Organization Theory, and Political Science. In these interdisciplinary teams, you will work together on “wicked problems”: complex societal issues as climate change, for instance. Year 2 includes two distinct research projects, on issues relating to large cities and organizations.

Specialize further in the area of your own choice. You will take a minor, do an internship or study abroad during the first semester. In the second semester you will learn about digital anthropology, be part of a team doing a research project, and conclude with writing a bachelor thesis based on your own ethnographic research.

Get acquainted with important themes, theories and concepts in anthropology, such as culture, ethnicity, nationalism, power, religion and inequality. You will learn how to do general research in the social sciences and study anthropological methods in particular. You will also master various techniques such as (open) interviewing, observing and ethnographic writing.

Programme overview

Deepen your knowledge of current themes, such as the anthropology of economics and politics, development anthropology, as well as diversity, religion and migration. You will take interdisciplinary courses with students from other programmes such as Communication Sciences, Public Administration and Organization Theory, and Political Science. In these interdisciplinary teams, you will work together on “wicked problems”: complex societal issues as climate change, for instance. Year 2 includes two distinct research projects, on issues relating to large cities and organizations.

Specialize further in the area of your own choice. You will take a minor, do an internship or study abroad during the first semester. In the second semester you will learn about digital anthropology, be part of a team doing a research project, and conclude with writing a bachelor thesis based on your own ethnographic research.

GAYA NIKOLSKY

STUDENT, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND DEVELOPENT SOCIOLOGY

I’ve always found people and different cultures interesting, so Cultural Anthropology at VU was an easy choice. CAO is a very enriching programme. I’m now in my second year and I’ve already learned so much. You start looking at the world from a completely different perspective, learning critical thinking and many other important skills that you can use for the rest of your life.

IROSHA DRIESSEN

STUDENT, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND DEVELOPENT SOCIOLOGY

I’m interested in global issues, social activism, traveling and conversations with a wide variety of people. Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology is therefore a study after my own my heart.
Anthropology offers unique tools for understanding the world and people in all of their complexity. During and after your studies, you can make a social contribution in countless ways. Eventually, you will see the anthropological perspective reflected in your daily meetings, your own frame of reference and all the issues that cross your path. That's intense, wonderful and extremely educational. As societies become more complex and struggle with increasing tensions and misunderstanding towards ‘the other’, anthropologists are urgently needed!

KOEN DONATZ

STUDENT, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND DEVELOPENT SOCIOLOGY

My name is Koen Donatz, second-year student in Cultural Anthropology. In addition to the normal study programme, I follow the VU Honours Programme and I’m active at the VU as student counsellor and as a member of the Faculty Student Council. In my free time, I like to travel, read and listen to music.
Cultural Anthropology has greatly changed my perspective on life. The issues that I previously took for granted, including concepts like culture and family, came into question; what do these words actually mean? I think one of the best things about VU is the small scale of the programme; there is plenty of room for interaction and discussions in the lectures. Also, Anthropology at VU has an enthusiastic, inspiring and engaged team of instructors.
Do you have questions for Koen? Send an email to k.l.donatz@student.vu.nl

Overview Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

3 years (fulltime)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April (students requiring visa and/or housing services) / 1 May (students who do not require visa and/or housing services)

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

BINDING STUDY ADVICE

A minimum of 48 credits

FIELD OF INTEREST

Behavioural and Social Sciences