Economics and Business Economics

It's the economy, stupid!

Economics and Business Economics


Want to study Economics and Business Economics?

How do companies manage their money and how do they make the right choices? What makes people decide to purchase a certain product? During the bachelor’s programme in Economics and Business Economics at VU Amsterdam, you will study the behaviour of consumers, companies, and governments in the constrained pursuit of their wellbeing. They almost always make decisions that they believe will lead to the most prosperity or happiness.

When studying economic science, you quickly encounter major societal challenges. And, in line with the values of VU Amsterdam, sustainability is an important theme in this programme. What impact does environmental policy have on employment? Is economic development a key to addressing climate change?

After your bachelor’s programme, you can choose from a variety of master’s programmes. Once you have graduated, you will be in demand in the labour market. You can start working in business, with the government, financial institutions, research organizations or accountancy firms. You could work as an accountant, investment advisor, financial manager, researcher, or become an entrepreneur.

During the bachelor’s programme Economics and Business Economics, you will study the behaviour of consumers, companies and governments. You will seek and find solutions for social issues at both macro and micro levels. And you will do this from different perspectives, such as financial economics, spatial economics, development economics and business economics. The programme has strong ties with professional practice and is offered in English. However, in the first year only, you can choose whether you want to attend tutorials in Dutch or English.


First year
Economics is the foundation of this professional field. In the first year, you will build a solid foundation in both economics and business economics courses. At the end of the first year, you will choose between Economics or Business Economics.
Find more information about the first year in the study guide.

Second year
After you make your choice, you will work in smaller groups so you can get to know your fellow students and teachers better. Subjects that you might encounter include the relationship between income inequality and life expectancy in rich countries, the stock market and economic growth, or corporate culture and intrinsic motivation. If you choose Economics, your specialization begins at the start of the second year. If you choose Business Economics, you will take Finance, Marketing and Accounting in the first semester. And in the second semester you will further specialise in one of those three tracks.
Find more information about the second year in the study guide.

Third year
During the first half of your third year, you will have complete freedom of choice. You pick a minor and can choose within this segment to study abroad or do an internship. In the second half of the third year, you will complete the bachelor's programme by focussing on your specialisation more in-depth and writing a bachelor's thesis.
Find more information about the third year in the study guide

Click here for the annual schedule 2019-2020

  • Economics and Business Economics at VU Amsterdam is small-scale, which allows you to have more interaction with your teachers and fellow students. You will benefit from this even further after you choose your specialisation following your first year.
  • Economics and Business Economics at VU Amsterdam has strong ties with the professional world, especially thanks to enthusiastic lecturers who often come from professional practice.
  • VU Amsterdam feels a commitment to addressing major social issues and actually does so on a practical level. A course on transport and logistics at VU Amsterdam also deals with sustainability and you will be taught ethics. 
  • VU Amsterdam is an international player with a number of internationally recognized strong research groups.
  • VU Amsterdam is an easily accessible campus university where you will meet students from all disciplines. Around the corner from us is the Zuidas district, which is the economic and financial heart of the Netherlands.
  • You are more curious than average and do not hesitate to challenge teachers.
  • You like to conduct research, take your own initiative and think independently, analytically and numerically.
  • You want to earn a good salary, as well as contribute to society. That requires courage, a social vision and perseverance.
  • You are interested in the problems of today, such as the funding of new climate policy, the emptying of shopping streets and fraud at large and small companies.
  • You have a Dutch VWO diploma or an equivalent diploma.
Master’s programmes
By continuing your education with a master’s programme, you can further increase your chances on the labour market. For example, you could follow a master’s programme in Accounting and Control, Economics, Marketing, Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics or Finance. You can also qualify, for example, for the master’s in Econometrics by following the minor in Applied Econometrics.

Job opportunities
After your bachelor’s programme in Economics and Business Economics, you will be able to offer creative solutions for problems encountered by companies. You will think analytically and make connections very quickly. You will also possess quantitative skills in the areas of econometrics and finance. You can work for businesses and governmental organisations, as well as national and international organisations such as the European Commission, the World Bank and the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. Many of our graduates have successful careers as accountants, investment advisors, financial managers, entrepreneurs and scientific researchers.

Do you have questions about the course content or information activities? Get in touch via

International Student Advisor
For questions about admission, entry requirements and other matters, please contact the International Student Advisor via

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 Amsterdam, 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.

Feel free to contact the board members of Aureus at They will be more than willing to introduce you to a student who is currently participating in this programme.

VU Bachelor's day

Come join our Open Day on Saturday 9 February, and see for yourself what it’s like to study Economics and Business Economics 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!

Admission criteria and application

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

Admission for international applicants
Applicants holding a pre-university diploma from another country 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 enrol 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. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirement. You can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted.

  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
    After you apply to the programme and upload the required documents in VUnet (Student Portal), the International Student Advisor will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient. These examples of diplomas demonstrate sufficient proficiency in mathematics:
  • International Baccalaureate: mathematics standard or higher level
  • United Kingdom/GCE A-levels: A-level in mathematics completed with a grade A, B or C
  • Germany: Zeugnis der allgemeinen Hochschulreife including mathematics Grundkurs or Leistungskurs as Prüfungsfach

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 (English). Boswell-Bèta in Utrecht (the Netherlands) provides a mathematics course 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. From our experience, the math courses in the first period are major stumbling blocks for many students. This is why we have decided to offer this Online Summer Prep-Campus, so that you can refresh your math knowledge and start university with the math you need. Please visit our Online Summer Prep-Campus website.

Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students
Chinese students who wish to enrol on a programme taught in English at a Dutch higher education institution are required to apply for a Nuffic Certificate. More information on the Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students.

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

International applicants wille 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)

International students who require a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require 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). 

Matching for students with a foreign degree
VU Amsterdam believes that it is important you fit into our programme and university. The mandatory matching activity 'VU Matching' enables you to make your final decision with confidence. It’s a two-step process: fill in a digital questionnaire as part of your application, and take part in an online matching activity. You will receive a personalized recommendation afterwards.

Please note that if you have not taken part, you cannot register for the programme. If you apply for the programme before 1 May, the recommendation is not binding. If you apply after 1 May, the recommendation is binding. If you receive a negative binding recommendation, you cannot register for this programme. 

If you are a student with a Dutch degree, please find your information about VU Matching for this programme here.  

More information about VU Matching

If you have any questions about matching, email

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

Overview Economics and Business Economics




3 years


1 April (students that require a visa), 1 May (students that do not require a visa)


1 September




A minimum of 42 credits including the course Quantitative Research Methods I

Admission Requirements


Economics, Business and Law

Nouri Mabrouk

Student Economics and Business Economics

Nouri Mabrouk

“This programme strikes a good balance between a thorough theoretical background and diverse training in field applications. After my graduation I would like to implement the techniques we learn in sectors in which these are not widely available. One challenge that piques my interest is how to provide accessible, personalized education to large groups of people. I believe econometrics, and data, can play a large role in tackling this challenge. “

Walter Verwer

Student Economics and Business Economics

Walter Verwer

“I really enjoy studying at the VU. What I like about the study is that I have a lot of options and I can determine my own direction as a student. The groups are relatively small with easy approachable teachers. During the subject Accounting, we went to KLM's head office to put the theory into practice. The determination of KLM cost prices was explained to us by the KLM staff. This turned out to be extremely complex, but also very interesting.“