Devise, build, and perfect the computer systems that connect our world

Computer Science

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Information interaction

Computer Science is all about our interaction with information. That information can range from railway timetables to personal health care data or exciting new virtual games. Computer technology has given us a wealth of new opportunities, but unfortunately it has also created serious risks. The Bachelor’s in Computer Science at VU Amsterdam focuses on both aspects, with Networks and Security as two major topics in the program.

In addition, the VU offers students the only full-fledged academic specialization in software engineering in Amsterdam. You get your skills from researchers who are specialized in this field. During the bachelor you can opt for the engineering minor Deep Programming. After the bachelor you can go for the Master's track in Software Engineering and Green IT. This track is unique because of its focus on teaching you how to engineer energy-aware software and ICT systems, making our digital society more sustainable.

If you want to go for a top-class education in engineering of distributed computer systems, you can opt for our selective master's programme in Parallel and Distributed Computer Systems (PDCS) after your bachelor. PDCS was founded by professor Andy Tanenbaum, a world-renowned researcher in computer networks, and the creator of MINIX.

The openness and transparency that we value in the Netherlands are reflected in our educational system. You will receive a pro-active and challenging education, and our lecturers’ doors are always open for any questions you might have. Our lecturers combine teaching with top-level research. They also maintain solid relations with various businesses in the field, and projects you will work on during your program are often organized in cooperation with such companies.

Can't wait? Check out this lecture on Computer Systems by top-researcher Herbert Bos, which is part of the actual curriculum.

The Computer Scientist looking further

We are moving towards a world in which everything and everyone is connected. This will affect all of us. For this very reason, VU Computer Scientists will be joining researchers from practically a wide range of academic disciplines as they examine the theme of the Connected World. We invite you to enter this world: as a Computer Science student at VU Amsterdam, you will be uniquely qualified to contribute to this theme as an expert in the field with technical as well as multidisciplinary skills.

Thinking about Computer Science? Visit a taster day

Are you up for joining VU Amsterdam’s international talent network? Are you tenacious and do you enjoy learning from others? Do you have an affinity with computers, programming and math? Are you creative, inquisitive and ambitious? Do you wish to make things simpler, and are you the problem solver this world needs? In that case we would be happy to meet you during one of our taster days. 

Upon graduation you’ll receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. You’ll be able to use your knowledge to develop state-of-the-art computer programs, evaluate potential network security weaknesses, or design a secure network. Our graduates have landed jobs as software engineers with Google, Nokia and the City of Amsterdam. Others have become Licensed Ethical Hackers at XS4ALL, consultants with Accenture or are now CEOs of their own companies (e.g. Voiceworks). Computer Science is invaluable for almost any modern industry or company, so you will have many options when it comes to finding the right job.

Even more doors will open for you if you decide to specialize further by pursuing a Master’s degree. VU Amsterdam offers six Computer Science Master’s programs, each with an excellent reputation in a decidedly international environment. Check out all our Master’s programs.

The Holland International Study Centre provides preparation programmes for international students who do not quite meet the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree. The Science, Engineering and Computing International Foundation Year is designed to develop your academic and English language skills
so that, upon successful completion, you can progress to the Computer Science Bachelor’s degree at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

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.

University preparation programmes
If you are an international student who does not meet the direct admission requirements for this Bachelor’s degree, you have the opportunity to apply for the Science, Engineering and Computing International Foundation Year at the Holland International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you can progress to the Computer Science Bachelor’s degree at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

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 subject Mathematics:

  • International Baccalaureate: Mathematics Higher Level.
  • British GCE A-Levels: A-level in Mathematics. At least grade A,B or C.
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife, including Mathematics as Leistungsfach.
  • European Baccalaureate:  Mathematics; written or oral examination, at least 4 hours during the Orientation Cycle.

If your proficiency in this subject 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 Dutch VWO Mathematics B.

Exams in the Netherlands

Boswell-Bèta (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides VWO Mathematics B with exams in December, May and July.

CCVX (Dutch and English). CCVX offers VWO Mathematics B.

Check your eligibility

Are you curious if you meet the admission requirements for the programme? Then you can fill out the online Student Self Check tool below to find out more about your chances to be admitted to the Bachelor’s programme Computer Science.
In the tool you will be asked some questions about your previous education and background. Based on your answers you will receive a personal preliminary advice on your eligibility for admission and the next steps you can take to continue your application.

Please note: no rights can be derived from the Self Check tool results. For a definite admission decision you will have to complete the official application procedure for this programme

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.

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage:

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Once you have made your choice of study programme, VU Matching offers you the opportunity to determine if the study programme corresponds to the image and expectations that you have and whether it suits you. VU Matching is part of the application procedure for all bachelor degree programmes. It consists of two parts: first you fill out a digital questionnaire on VUnet and second you participate in the matching activity of the programme.

This programme offers an online matching activity. In order for us to be able to send you an invitation it is necessary that you log in to VUnet and complete and confirm the application form (progress 100%). The start date for sending the invitations is not yet known. Keep an eye on your inbox: the invitation will be sent to the email address you entered when you registered. Check your spam folder regularly to make sure you don’t miss out on any messages from us.

For students based in the Netherlands it is possible to participate in a matching day on campus. This day will be scheduled in the period of Tuesday 26 May to Tuesday 9 June 2020. If you receive an invitation for the online activity but you would rather participate in the matching activity on campus, do please sent an email to

For general information about matching check out the website VU Matching [Dutch] or VU Matching [English]. If you have questions about the matching activity, please contact the matching coordinator of the Faculty of Science:

If you have a specific question about applying with a non-Dutch diploma you can contact our International Student Advisor. The ISA will help you with practicalities about your bachelor admission and support you throughout the application process.

Kim Daamen                                      Julia Tan
T: +31 20 59 85284                           T: +31 205984212        

Or email your question to:


How will you be spending your time?
Our three-year Bachelor’s program will teach you to speak and understand the language of computers, from the logic that systems are built on to the various abstractions of the code used to program them. Moreover, you'll learn how computer networks share information efficiently and securely, and how users interact with systems. You'll be in the driver’s seat with key skills and expertise, ready to start working in this fascinating field.

Study load
Computer Science is a full-time program with an intensive pace. On average you will spend 14 hours a week at the university. This time will be devoted to 3-4 lectures, practical classes and group assignments. You will also spend a significant amount of time  working  on  projects  at  home. You  will  take  two  courses  simultaneously  in  any given two-month teaching period.

Overview Computer Science




3 years (fulltime)


International Students
Students will have to spend approximately 200 euro per year for buying books. From 2020, new students are expected to possess a laptop computer, running either Windows 10 or mac OSX, for participating in educational activities (approx. 200 euro per academic year).


1 April (non-EEA students + EEA students requiring housing) / 1 May (EEA students who do not require housing)


1 September




Norm: 42 ECTS


Computer Science, Mathematics and Business

Steven van Beelen

Third-year Computer Science student

I have always been fascinated by everything involving computers. So studying Computer Science seemed only logical, and VU Amsterdam was at the top of my list. Over the past three years I’ve taken fascinating courses on algorithms, programming, problem solving and database architecture, precisely what I like! In addition, the contact between the professors and students is great, which really makes me doubly glad I opted for VU Amsterdam. It’s almost a pity I’m nearly done with my Bachelor’s. I want more!