Communication Science

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Communication Science

Studying Communication Science?

How trustworthy is news if everyone with a vlog thinks they are a journalist? Are your friends really as happy as they appear on their Instagram account? What influence do social media have on political decision-making? During the Bachelor’s programme in Communication Science at VU Amsterdam, you will study how recent developments have turned the media landscape on its head. 

At VU Amsterdam, you will conduct a lot of research independently. You will examine the real problems faced by real organisations and look for feasible solutions. As a result, you will not only gain knowledge of communications, but you will also learn important skills like how to set up an experiment and analyse data. As a student of this Bachelor's programme you are part of an international classroom with students and teachers from various (national) backgrounds. All courses are English-taught and designed from an international perspective. 

There is increasing demand in the labour market for communications experts. Technical developments are happening continuously and rapidly, and media use is constantly changing. Therefore, organisations need experts who understand these changes and know how to deal with them. As a communication scientist, you will be able to work at any organisation with a communications department, regardless of the sector.

During the Bachelor’s programme, you will examine the effects of media and communications on what people think and do. On the basis of a specific theme, you will study how people use different forms of communication and how this is changing society. You will conclude each semester with your own research, through which you will learn how to analyse data and present research results. 

Programme overview

First year
The first semester will focus on media use. How do people use media and how do they communicate with each other? Where do you get news from and how do you know if it is reliable? You will investigate your own media use and conduct research among fellow students.
During the second semester, you will study how organisations communicate. How do they convey their messages to the outside world and how do they communicate internally with employees? You will also develop an in-depth understanding of crisis communication. How can an organisation reassure clients and shareholders in the midst of a scandal?  For more information on the first year, see our study guide.

Second year
The focus is on marketing communication and political communication. You will explore how you can persuade people with your message and how you should set up a marketing campaign. Which messages work and which do not? And how can you test whether or not they work? In the second semester, you will investigate the role of communication in society. How do people deal with information about health? How do they discuss major crisis events on Twitter? Along with students from other disciplines, you will take the course Social Sciences for Society. You will choose one of the three major themes from social sciences: globalisation, diversity or networks. In lectures and study groups, you will work towards developing solutions for the societal challenges of the world today. For more information on the second year, see our study guide.

Third year
In the first semester, you will largely determine what your study will look like. You can choose to do an internship, study abroad or follow a minor. This will allow you to specialise in your area of interest and to already start preparing for the labour market. During the second semester, everything will come together. While writing your bachelor’s thesis, you will utilise everything you have learned to research a relevant issue. Your thesis could be about the effectiveness of awareness campaigns or advertising, or about how Greenpeace members try to raise awareness of climate change. Or you could research how much trust people still have in politicians, journalists and experts in the time of Trump and Brexit. For more information on the third year, see our study guide.

  • At VU Amsterdam, you will receive a lot of personal attention and intensive guidance. In addition to lectures, you will work on assignments in small study groups. This allows you to develop a personal bond with instructors and fellow students.
  • You will have a lot of room to conduct your own research. You will be taught the knowledge and techniques, but the research questions are up to you. In doing so, you will learn skills, such as data analysis and presentation skills, which will come in handy later on.
  • Communication Science at VU Amsterdam is a multifaceted and socially relevant programme. You will learn to look critically at how communication affects society and your own life.
  • You are part of an international classroom with students and teachers from various backgrounds.
  • VU Amsterdam is an easily accessible campus university where you will meet students from all disciplines.
  • Diversity is important at VU Amsterdam. Everyone is welcome.
  • You will work together with students from other disciplines to find solutions to contemporary societal challenges such as globalisation, diversity and networks.
  • You are curious about how people use different media and what effects that use has on how people think and act. 
  • You are interested in current affairs as well as in the story behind them: How is news made and distributed? 
  • You would like to know more about how media technologies affect society.
  • You do not wait for ready-made answers, but like to search things out for yourself. 
  • You want to play a role in finding solutions to socially relevant problems.  
  • You enjoy working in teams.

Master’s programmes
After the Bachelor’s programme, you can move on to a Master’s programme in Communication Science. Because you learn many research skills and methods during the Bachelor’s programme, Communication Science prepares you for other Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam, such as Policy, Communication and Organisation, Sociology, Journalism, Marketing or the Research Master’s in Societal Resilience.

Job opportunities

Communications experts are highly demanded in professional settings. Organisations need employees who are aware of new techniques and developments and know how to deal with them. Therefore, as a communication scientist, you will be able to work at any organisation with a communications department, regardless of the sector. For example, you could get a job as a communications advisor at a commercial business or cultural institution, as an information officer with the government, or as a content manager at an advertising or media agency.

Do you have questions?

  • You can call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00).
  • Or email us at
  • Furthermore, you can also send us a text message on Whatsapp on +31 6 825 48 367.

Do you have a question about admission?

Students with a Dutch degree:

  • Please contact the Student Desk on +31 20 5985020 from 10.30 – 12.30 or 14.00 – 17.00).
  • Or email them at

Students with an international degree:

For questions about admission and entry requirements, please contact the International Student Advisor:

Gijs van Ierssel

Contact a Student Ambassador
Would you like to hear from an international VU student about their student journey, what it is like to study at VU, the programme that they are doing 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.

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

Taster day
Come to a Taster day at the VU campus in Amsterdam's Zuidas district and experience what it is like to be a student at VU Amsterdam. Please sign up for the Taster Day.

VU Matching
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 an online 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. The invitations for the activity will be issued from the end of April 2020.

Would you like to know more?
Further details about VU Matching are available at VU Matching website. If you have specific questions about the Communication Science matching day, please get in touch at Have a look at: Application and registration regulation.

Admission criteria and application

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: All IB Mathematics subjects.
  • 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.

Exams in the Netherlands
Boswell-Bèta (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a VWO Mathematics C exam in May, July and August.

Application procedures
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 portal.

Overview Communication Science




3 years (fulltime)


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


1 September




norm 42 EC

VWO Profile



Behavioural and Social Sciences