Honours programme

The VU Honours programme

The Honours programme offers several advantages to our students. Only a select group of motivated, talented students can participate in the programme. Students participating in the VU Honours programme come from different faculties, thus broadening your academic horizon through interdisciplinary class discussions and team work. The programme draws upon the expertise of our top faculty members. Special courses are developed, that are only accessible to Honours students. These courses are characterized by small classes (not more than 20 students) and a high degree of teacher-student interaction. Every year honour students of our faculty visit the prestigious Netherlands-Asia Honours Summerschool (www.nahss.nl).

In the second half of your first year, you already get an opportunity to get acquainted with this programme. Exact details of the enrolment procedure will be provided later, but it is expected to start near the end of period 2.

Upon successfully completing the programme, you receive a special BSc diploma, stating that you have participated in the VU Honours programme and have completed your BSc degree within three years with an increased study load of 30 EC. A successful completion of the Honours programme also increases your future opportunities for follow-up studies, e.g., your chances to enter one of our top international research master programmes (MPhil), possibly leading to a future PhD.

The VU Honours programme comprises at least 30 EC on top of your regular BSc programme. Most Honours courses are 6 EC and an odd few 12 EC. These courses are spread out over year 2 and 3 of your Bachelor. Most Honours students follow 5 courses of 6 EC, but you may take more. The programme is taught in English.

View the FEWEB Honours Programme Roadmap >

Structure and final attainment level

The faculty’s implementation of the VU Honours programme has threecomponents. 

  • Out of the 30 EC, 2 HP courses of 6 EC each (or one of 12 EC) are taken from an interdisciplinary menu of courses, including topics from economics, business, medicine, law, sociology, psychology, philosophy, biology, physics, and mathematics. This broadens your academic horizon beyond that of economics and business research and allows you to interact with Honours students with a variety of academic backgrounds.
  • Out of the 30 EC, 2 HP course of 6 EC have to be taken from the menu of courses offered by the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. These courses are specially developed for the Honours programme and treat more advanced issues in economics and business research.
  • The final 6 EC of the 30 EC is an elective that can be either taken from the interdisciplinary course menu, the faculty's course menu or the course menus of other faculties participating in the VU Honours programme. You can also use this course for a tutored research project, called a research assentship (RA) that counts for 6 EC, possibly combined with an extended BSc thesis. It allows you to build on your skills developed during the programme and build your BSc thesis into a more complete research experience.

An indication of the programme contents can be found by following the link interdisciplinary VU Honours courses or the link FEWEB Honours courses. The Honours programme is a challenging programme for talented students. Therefore, you should be able to complete the additional 30 EC load of the Honours programme

- in the same nominal time as the regular BSc programme, which is three years, and

- with a grade average of 7.5 for all courses of your bachelor (excluding Honours courses).

Only in very specific circumstances the examination board can grant you a delay in completing the Honours programme. You can request this only by sending a motivated email to the examination board.

Application to the VU Honours programme

If you are motivated to participate in this programme and you feel you are qualified, then you can register for enrolment by filling out the application form before May 1 of your first year. Your application has to include the following material:

  • a letter of motivation directed to the coordinator of the FEWEB Honours Programme commission Dr. Harold Houba, together with
  • your resume,
  • list of grades and the grade average of all courses passed so far.

Your letter of motivation should be written in English, should be no more than 1.5 pages (A4) and should contain the following information:

  • motivation for current studies.
  • motivation for participation in the Honours Programme.
  • what Honours courses of the VU Honours Programme arouse your interests,
  • what you hope to achieve by participating in the Honours Programme.
  • why you think you can complete the Honours Programme successfully. In this respect, take also into account any other plans you might have beside your studies, such as studying abroad for a while or participation in the board of a student society, etc.

On basis of the material received, the selection board will conditionally admit the best students. The faculty aims at the top 5-10% of students. Final selection takes place when all grades for all first-year courses have been published, which is typically the end of August. The admittance criterium is:

all first-year courses passed with a grade average of at least 7.5 (subject to exceptions) .

We hope to meet you in the VU Honours programme!

Additional information

If you have further questions with respect to the VU Honours programme or the enrolment procedure, you can mail to Honoursprogramma.feweb@vu.nl.