The Master in Economics has been developed for the prospective professional economist with an interest in social issues. It teaches you the essentials of modern economic theory and how to apply them to everyday problems in a number of core policy fields. Using behavioural economic models and statistical techniques, economists seek to answer macroeconomic and microeconomic questions. Areas of focus include poverty and inequality, social security, growth and inflation, and environmental policy. You will learn how to take a structured approach to practical problems when applying the economic techniques learned at the Bachelors level. As a Masters student, you will become a versatile, all-round economist with the ability to independently tackle important economic issues.
Beyond acquiring new and highly relevant knowledge in coursework, you will engage in two pieces of independent academic work. Your research project will comprise a critical literature review on a coherent set of scientific papers. In your Masters thesis, you will report on results from your own academic (theoretical or empirical) research. The thesis can, where appropriate, draw on the literature review from the research project. Writing these academic pieces takes place under the close supervision of a faculty member, making use of regular face-to-face meetings to critically discuss approach, methods, data and results. We emphasize quality and progress.
You will learn to take a structured approach to solving practical problems, using state-of-the-art methodology, and basing your research conclusions and policy recommendations on sound scientific principles. In core courses, you will gain a thorough understanding of economic tools in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics at an advanced level. You will then take in-depth and challenging field courses to put theory into practice, with a focus on applied modelling and policy perspectives. Taking a specialization is optional, and students who would prefer to exercise a range of talents can freely pick and mix from our list of elective courses. Those who wish to gain more expertise in a particular policy field can choose from among the four specializations within this Masters programme. Finally, you will conduct your own research and subject current theories to critical tests, culminating in a thesis.
Taking a specialization (consisting of a specific combination of elective courses and a related thesis) is optional. The possible specializations are
A graduate of the Masters programme in Economics is a well-trained economist, with extensive knowledge of economic modelling, quantitative techniques and economic policy.
Graduates become policy economists at consultancy firms or with government agencies, or work in various positions in financial and non-financial industries. Others start working as market analysts at, for example, the Netherlands Competition Authority, or De Nederlandsche Bank. Still others go to work for multinationals such as banks and insurance companies. Some graduates work at economic research institutes or join PhD programmes at highly competitive research universities before continuing with their academic career.
Apart from focusing on high-profile job opportunities, programme participants develop an eye for economic issues of societal and scientific relevance, and develop a critical attitude for analysing and judging these issues. Economics is at the very heart of the social sciences. Economists are therefore involved and committed members of society.
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 3300 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.