Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

3 Jahre
1. September. (Studiengänge mit Studienbeginn Februar)
Candidates with a non-Dutch pre-university school diploma:
  1. A diploma equivalent to a Dutch VWO diploma
  2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in Mathematics
  3. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
2078.00 € / Jahr
Application deadline: 1 May (1 April if you want to use the housing options of the VU)
Worum geht's im Studium


What attracts people to populism? How do differences between rich and poor affect a neighbourhood? To what extent does a colonial past influence societies today? Why are people concerned about climate change, but do not change their behaviour to prevent it? Where do we stand today with racism, xenophobia and "white privilege"?

The more the world throws these kinds of questions at us, the less we seem to understand them. Anthropologists shed light on issues of this kind by studying them from close up. They are different from other scientists, because they look at the world through the eyes of the people they study – in many cases people and groups that the rest of society overlooks. Anthropologists make complex subjects human and accessible.

The Bachelor's programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at VU Amsterdam is ranked the best in the Netherlands the best in the Netherlands, and it is the only English Bachelor’s programme in Anthropology in the country.

Studenten im Hörsaal der Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Looking further as an anthropologist

As an anthropologist, your own senses are your research tools. You observe people as they go about their lives; you interview them; sometimes you spend months with them. You discover what motivates them, what they find important, what choices they make, and why. You hear what they think and feel, and find out what is going on under the surface.

The programme in a nutshell

This three-year international specialization of the Bachelor’s programme in Anthropology expressly relates anthropology as a (social) science to modern-day societal challenges. Year 1 starts with an introduction to core concepts of anthropology, followed by immediately putting academic theory, research skills and methods into practice. In year 2 you deepen your knowledge on various anthropological key themes, such as development, migration, identity and political economy and combine anthropology with a multidisciplinary approach The third and final year focuses on the anthropology theme you are passionate about. The study programme concludes with writing a thesis based on your own ethnographic research.

International Classroom

The programme is taught using the so-called “international classroom” principle. You find yourself surrounded by fellow students from diverse (national) backgrounds. What you all have in common is your drive to better understand different groups of people and to put what you learn into practice. All our lectures, seminars and practical sessions explore global issues from an international perspective. Our lecturers also come from different parts of the world, bringing with them a wide network of fellow researchers and partners. Learning in our international classroom is an exciting and challenging experience. You build your own network, develop your intercultural skills and improve your proficiency in English. All of which are sure to give you a head start on the international job market.

Future prospects

Do you want to make a difference to our world by investigating and understanding the everyday lives of people, and by providing a critical perspective and alternative to topical social issues? As an Anthropology graduate you can find employment as, a researcher at a civil society organization, (culture) specialist in the public or private sector, journalist, policy advisor in local or national institutions, or as community manager. And if you are interested in a specific theme such as for example sustainability, this bachelor offers you the possibility to specialize.

The whole world is your professional domain. You address universal themes such as globalization, power, migration, emancipation and inequality by zooming into local situations: Right wing voters in Europe, the women’s movement in Egypt, the effects of climate change on residents in Florida… You then link your findings to anthropological theory and previous research, so that your local study generates know-how that the whole world can use!

Fahrräder der Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Studying at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. The campus is surrounded by one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands hosting over 700 companies.

With more than 23,000 students, of which 3,300 are international, the university conducts cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes reflecting a strong level of involvement in current societal issues: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, to engage with society and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world. In addition Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
International Student Advisor
Frieda Schaufeli
phone: +31 20 5982883

For more information, go to:
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