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The Academic Excellence Track (AcET) is an honours programme for Master's students that focuses on academic depth and opportunities for professional development. It is designed for excellent law students with evident research talent. The programme can be pursued in addition to all LLM programmes (Dutch and English). You will receive advanced training in research methods and academic skills as well as gather first-hand research experience during a research internship at one of our research projects.

Study programme

The Academic Excellence Track is worth 18 ECTS. The curriculum comprises of the course Law as a Change Maker (6 ECTS), a substantial research internship (9 ECTS) and a topped-up Master’s thesis (+3 ECTS).

  • Law as a change maker, 2nd semester, period 2

    In this course you will be acquainted with different approaches and methods used in legal research to critically reflect on the questions how law produces change.

  • Research internship (part-time), 3 months, 2nd semester

    You will contribute to a research project at the Amsterdam Law School under the supervision of an experienced researcher.

    For instance*

    • The N-EXTLAW will explore how law could contribute and foster the uptake of non-extractive economic practices
    • The Financing in Networks project focuses on public financing of societal projects in the Netherlands
    • The project '(Re)coding Value(s) in the Digital Economy' studies how digital technologies, such as blockchain allocate value in a more fair and equitable way.

    * These projects are examples. AcET research internships will involve many more ongoing research projects.

  • Extended Master’s thesis

    While writing your Master’s thesis, you can receive extra credits for accomplishing a higher methodological and analytical complexity in your thesis research.

Student Amber Mulder
Copyright: Marleen Bakker
The programme is a good addition to your cv, even if you already know you want to work in practice. Amber, student Constitutional and Administrative Law Read the interview with Amber

Please consult the UvA Course Catalogue for more details about the Academic Excellence Track.

Master’s degree

The Honours Master’s Academic Excellence Track is supplementary to the Master’s programme you are enrolled in. Graduating from the Honours programme will be recognized on your diploma supplement. ECTS earned during this programma will be listed on your transcripts.

Career prospects

Graduating from the Honours programme will testify to your academic and professional excellency. AcET will prepare you for a career in academic research, policy making or strategic advice where advanced research skills will be an asset. The programme will also equip you with the skills required to meet the high demands of working in ministries, courts, national and intergovernmental organizations and top law firms.

Where can you work?

Are you a policy maker or a policy taker? AcET is an ideal programme for students who aspire to careers as researchers inside and outside a university, strategists of the public interest and leading lawyers at national and international levels:

  • Become a PhD candidate at a university in the Netherlands or abroad;
  • Make European Union public policy, e.g. as a staff member of the European Commission;
  • Provide strategic advice as a top lawyer at national and international levels;
  • Contribute to public interest work and research in the public sector or international organizations.
Tom, student European Competition Law and Regulation
Copyright: FdR
Being pushed to think laterally and outside of the box and to question why things are the way they are was such a unique experience Tom, student European Competition Law and Regulation Read the interview with Tom


After graduating from the Honours programme you will have acquired:

  • the skill to solve complex problems creatively and to critically reflect on such problems and solutions;
  • an advanced understanding of theories regarding academic legal research and corresponding research methods;
  • the ability to define a problem, to justify a chosen research method and identify its limitations;
  • firsthand research experience and the ability to conduct supervised scientific research, individually or in small teams;
  • the ability to independently produce a research thesis of excellent academic quality.
Students at the Court of Justice of the European Union
Class of 2021-2022 visiting the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg

Application and admission

The Academic Excellence Track (AcET) is a selective Honours programme. Students with a grade point average (GPA) of 8 and higher will receive an invitation to participate in this programme. Intake to AcET will be capped to approximately 30 students per year.

Complete the steps below to register for the programme.


If you have questions about the Academic Excellence Track, please contact the director Kristina Irion: