Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Admission and Application

The admission process for the Philosophy, Politics and Economics programme is selective. We are looking for talented and ambitious students with an affinity for each of the disciplines who are motivated to contribute to the PPE community. To qualify for admission, you will need to satisfy the diploma requirements and meet specific selection criteria. Please read them carefully to determine whether you are a good fit for the programme.

If you have any questions about the application process or your eligibility please contact the PPE International Student Advisor: Rosa Vijftigschild.

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

For International Students

In addition to a strong motivation, your educational qualifications are assessed as part of the selection procedure. In order to be admissible you must meet our academic requirements as specified below.

Whether or not you will actually be offered a place in our programme will depend on your:

  • grade point average (GPA)
  • motivation and suitability to join an intensive programme like our PPE programme
  • commitment to contribute to the College’s international student and campus life

The latter two will be determined based on your CV and your answer to our assessment questions, and possibly an additional interview (over Skype in case of international applicants). The selection committee evaluates your application file as a whole, considering all these factors. If in doubt whether you meet the admission requirements, you can always contact the International Student Advisor (see contact information).

Academic requirements
Applicants holding a non-Dutch pre-university diploma must meet a number of requirements. If you do not yet meet the requirements but expect to do so in the future (such as obtaining your diploma), you can already apply. We will evaluate your application and inform you of our admission decision. All outstanding requirements need to be met in full by the time you enroll for the programme.

Admission to the programme will remain conditional until your diploma is awarded and your admission becomes unconditional.

Requirements that apply:

  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. A sufficient GPA
    We are looking for a Grade Point Average that is equivalent to ≥ 7.0 in the Dutch grading system. We calculate your GPA over the final two years of your secondary education. In its assessment, the Admission Board will put special focus on grades obtained for relevant courses such as economics, mathematics, philosophy and politics.
  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. You can find all accepted tests and scores below.
  4. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
    After you apply for the programme and upload the required documents in our Student Portal VUnet, the admission officer will evaluate your qualifications to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient.

All courses in the PPE programme are conducted in English and, since the student community is highly international, most conversation and socialising occurs in English as well. Consequently, we require English proficiency for all applications, with the exception of those who completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. Students who obtained either an International Baccalaureate Diploma or European Baccalaureate in English-taught programmes are also exempted.

All other prospective students must provide test scores from either IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge English, completed no more than two years before September 1st of the year their PPE study would begin.

We accept the following tests and minimum scores:

  • IELTS: 7.0 with at least 6.5 for each of the four components (only the Academic IELTS test is accepted)
  • TOEFL iBT: 100 with minimum scores of 22 for each component
  • VU TOEFL ITP: 600 (only the TOEFL ITP test from VU Amsterdam is accepted*)
  • Cambridge English Qualifications C1 Advanced (CAE): grade A or B
  • Cambridge English Qualifications C2 Proficiency (CPE): grade C or higher

*Students can register for a TOEFL-ITP exam offered by VU Taalloket at VU Amsterdam. The test costs €80 and is only valid for admission to our university.

For verification of your test results, please upload your results in VUnet or send it to us by email.

For online verification of your Cambridge test result please also include your ID-number and your ‘secret number’ (check the Candidate Results Online Service).

If you require a visa to study in the Netherlands, you must submit your test results before June 1st. If you do not need a visa to study in the Netherlands, you will need to show proof before August 15th. Your acceptance to the PPE programme will remain conditional until we have received proof of English proficiency. Please note that it can take a long time to receive your results, so plan your date accordingly, since you may want to leave yourself time to retake the exam.

The courses in our programme use a significant amount of mathematics and even though we provide mathematics training in the methods courses, this training moves at a fast pace. In our experience we have found that a minimum level of prior mathematic proficiency is required. The admission office will determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient.

These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in mathematics:

  • International Baccalaureate: Mathematics SL or HL, Applications & Interpretation HL, Analysis & Approaches SL or HL
  • UK British GCE A-Level: A-level in Mathematics completed with a grade A or B or C
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife including Mathematics Grundkurs or Leistungskurs as Prüfungsfach

Is your mathematics not sufficient?
If you do not meet the mathematics requirement but have an otherwise strong application, you could still be accepted with a conditional offer. You would then be asked to participate in an entry test in mathematics. If participation in the exam is necessary this will be communicated to you in the offer letter.

Mathematics Exams (available in English and accepted by Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam):

  • Boswell-Bèta (Dutch and English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a Mathematics course in Dutch and in English with exams in December, May and July.
  • CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX offers Mathematics exams equivalent to the Dutch VWO Mathematics A level for Dutch-speaking and English-speaking applicants.
  • Online Mathematics Placement Test. The Online Mathematics Placement Test-A (OMPT-A ) offered by SOWISO is an online Mathematics test that you can take from home by means of online proctoring.

A positive result for the Mathematics examination (5,5/10 in the mathematics A exam or 65% in the OMPT-A online exam) is compulsory for admission to the programme.

Online Summer Prep-Campus
Even if you meet the mathematics requirements, some students find it difficult to know what is expected of them once they begin the PPE programme. To address this, we have developed the Online Summer Prep-Campus. A Diagnostic test will help you to determine if your current quantitative skills fit with the topics that will be covered in the methods course. If your current skills are lower than advised, the diagnostic test will provide suggestions on how to improve. You can take courses through the online summer prep-campus and freshen up your mathematics - and meet your new fellow students early! For those that already have the required level there is the option of an advanced course. More information will follow after admission.

You can find a list of accepted diplomas (pdf) here.

Is your diploma not included? Then first check if your diploma meets our diploma requirements.

Please note that our diploma list may be updated for future intakes. No rights can be derived from this list and the final decision on admission will be determined by the Admission Board.

  1. Check if you match the entry requirements.
  2. Register for the Bachelor’s programme before the application deadline via Studielink.
  3. After registering you will receive log-in details for VUnet.
  4. Then upload the following documents:
    • Transcript of records; a transcript in English of the grades obtained over the final two years of your high school and any further education up to the moment of your application. IB and A-level applicants are asked to upload their predicted grades.
    • A scan of your diploma (if you have already graduated).
    • Curriculum Vitae; the curriculum vitae should include your personal details and list your previous education and relevant work experience (± 1 page).
    • English language test results (if already obtained).
    • The PPE assessment form - we use the assessment form instead of a letter of motivation. Please fill it in and upload it in the application where a motivation letter is requested.
    • Copy of valid passport or ID (ID for EEA students only).
  5. Pay the application fee and submit your application.
  6. Wait for decision on admission.

If you need help with any of these steps please consult our step-by-step application guide.

Application deadline
If you apply before 14 February 2020 we will aim to send you our admission decision within 2-4 weeks after completion of your application. Note that during holiday times such as Christmas and in case we require further information from you (by email or in a Skype interview) the decision time will increase. After this date the processing time will be 4 weeks. If you wish to begin your study in September 2020 the final application deadline for non-EU/EEA students is April 1st, 2020, and for Dutch and EU students the final deadline is May 1st, 2020. For students wishing to use our Accommodation Services an early application is recommended.

Ready to apply?
Great! Click here to start your application.

Please note: the Studielink notification “The educational institution has yet to determine whether your previous education level is sufficient“ will only be ticked after you accept your place and send us a certified copy of your diploma.

Candidates with a foreign diploma can contact the International Student Advisor of VU PPE.

Rosa Vijftigschild

Rosa Vijftigschild
International Student Advisor

E: admissionsppe@vu.nl
T: +31 (0)20 5985641

Candidates with a Dutch diploma can contact info.ppe@vu.nl when experiencing any difficulties.

Contact a Student Ambassador
Would you like to hear from an international PPE student about their student journey, what it is like to study at VU, the programme and/or their student life in Amsterdam? Contact our student ambassadors! Our Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and would be happy to answer all your questions.

Social Media
Follow us on:

Facebook-icoon     Instagram-icoon     Twitter-icoon

Open Day
Come join our Bachelor’s Day and see for yourself what it’s like to study PPE at VU Amsterdam! Register here.

Taster Day
Experience what it is like to be a PPE student for a day. Register here.

Campus tour
You are welcome to contact admissionsppe@vu.nl to enquire about the option of a campus tour with a Student Ambassador and to discuss the admission process with the International Student Advisor during your visit to our university.

Keuzegids 2019 Top rated programme

Vlog PPE-students #3

A day out of the life of a VU PPE-student