Information for refugees

Applying to a Bachelor's or Master's programme as a refugee

Refugees wishing to study at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) follow the same application procedure as all prospective UvA students who come from outside the European Union. 

Be sure to state whether you are interested in a Bachelor's or Master's programme, your prior education, if you have already obtained any diplomas (and if so, which ones) and the languages in which you are proficient.

If you meet the admission requirements, you can take part in an acclimatisation programme during the first semester of your studies alongside the regular course load.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps do I need to take if I want to study at the UvA?

  1. Visit the Study in Holland website to find the information you need about the Dutch educational system. You can read the information in English, Arabic, Farsi, French or Dutch.
    Study in Holland: procedures for refugees
  2. Apply to the UAF (Foundation for Refugees). The UAF provides advice and financial support for refugee students in the Netherlands. To find out if you are eligible for UAF support, fill out the Support Scan:
    UAF Support Scan
  3. If you still need to learn Dutch, you can take classes at the UvA Institute for Dutch Language Education. Classes take place at UvA buildings in the city centre of Amsterdam.
    UvA Institute for Dutch Language Education
  4. To apply for one of our English-taught programmes you will need to check the entry requirements on our website for that programme. You will also need at least a B1 level of Dutch in order to be eligible for UAF support. To apply for a Dutch-taught programme you will need proof of both Dutch proficiency and English proficiency.
    How to apply for a UvA Bachelor’s programme

What if I don’t meet the entry requirements for a Bachelor’s programme at the UvA?

Unfortunately we don’t offer any preparatory programmes for students who do not meet entry requirements because their prior education is not equivalent to the Dutch VWO secondary education.
To prepare for studying at a university in Amsterdam, you can take one or more of the following steps:

  1. Take the Dutch state exams at VWO level. Be aware that the level of Dutch needs to be at least at B2 level. There are several ways to prepare for and take the Dutch state exam:
    Complete secondary school and take exam (Joke Smit College)
    Take Dutch language courses to prepare for exam (INTT)
    Sign up for Dutch state exam (DUO)
  2. You can also apply for a study programme at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam), which has lower entry requirements and a preparatory programme.
    AUAS Language and Preparatory Programme
  3. Meet with your UAF Study Adviser to discuss these options and any other possibilities.

Do I still need to learn Dutch if I want to enrol in an English-taught degree programme?

  1. Even if you want to enrol in an English-taught programme, you will be expected to learn Dutch to integrate into the Netherlands:
    More information about integration: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
  2. If you require financial or other support from the UAF, you will also be expected to learn Dutch:
    UAF application criteria
  3. Finally, being able to speak, read and write in Dutch will strongly improve your chances of finding a job after graduation.

How can I finance my study?

  1. If you are taking a Dutch language course, you can apply for a loan through DUO, which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Find out more about financing your integration into the Netherlands through DUO:
    Pay for Dutch language course through DUO loan
  2. Once you are enrolled in a university programme, you are entitled to financial support through DUO (if you are below the age of 30).
    Student finance (DUO) - in English
    Student finance (DUO) - in Dutch
    • DUO student loans can cover your tuition fees, travel costs and some extra expenses. If you are doing a preparatory program or have other expenses not covered by DUO, UAF might be able to provide you with financial support. Contact your personal UAF study advisor for more information.
  3. Starting in September 2017, a tuition fee loan will also be available for students over the age of 30.
    Apply for a tuition fee loan via DUO
  4. Do you want to know more about the financial options available to you? Or do you have unanswered questions about financial aid? You can contact one of the UvA student counsellors.
    Contact a UvA Student Counsellor

Published by  University of Amsterdam

16 August 2018