You’re considering attending law school after graduation—wouldn’t it be helpful to get a glimpse of what law school is like before you go and also figure out what type of legal career you’re looking for? This program offers you that opportunity. Learn about comparative law in an international context while studying abroad with us in the Netherlands, where local students start their law degree at the Bachelor’s level.

By enrolling in this program, you add international law and criminology experience to your transcript—a great talking point when interviewing for law school or your first job. Enroll in an IES Abroad-taught core course on law, and three to four law- or criminology-related courses at the renowned Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). With Dutch and international students as your peers on assignments like case briefs and moot court, you gain a valuable international perspective that only comes with studying abroad.

The Netherlands will be your classroom. Observe some of Europe’s most progressive laws in action and have access to the professionals and experts who can help you put them in context. Imagine visiting the International Court in The Hague, sitting in on the arbitrations in a Dutch court, or talking to professionals at NGOs who work on human rights. From field trips that take you off the beaten path to places like Rotterdam, Maastricht, or the Island of Texel to course-related excursions in and around Amsterdam, you’ll also gain valuable insight into what you’re learning in the classroom.

We want you to feel at home in Amsterdam, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing on the VU campus to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.

Quick Facts

  • Center: IES Abroad Amsterdam
  • City: Amsterdam
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Program Credits: 15-17 credits
  • Language of Instruction: English, Dutch
  • Language Prerequisites: None

Program Dates

After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.

Fall 2018

  • August 17 - December 22

Spring 2019

  • January 28 - May 31

Upcoming Application Deadlines:

  • Spring 2019 - September 14, 2018


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. Delve into law and criminology from a Dutch perspective by enrolling at the VU University Amsterdam (VU). The University’s world class professors and course options enhance your academic experience and provide you with new experiences in and outside the classroom. Designed for students who are interested in continuing on to law school after graduation, this program approaches Law from an interdisciplinary perspective to give students a broad understanding of comparative international law. You take 15-17 credits per semester. Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components.

Required Core Course

LW/PO350: Major Issues in Law and Society: A Comparative Context (6 credits) This IES Abroad-taught seminar is an introduction to international and Dutch law, with comparisons to U.S. law, culminating in a supervised research project. The course includes visits to Dutch and international courts.

Law- and Criminology-related elective courses and/or Dutch Language and Culture or Dutch History courses at the VU (3 credits each) Cultural Studies

  • CU 211 - Dialogues on Difference (Fall, Spring)

Dutch Language

  • DU 101 - Dutch Language and Culture (Fall, Spring)


  • PO/LW 350 - Major Issues in Law and Society: A Comparative Context (Fall, Spring)

Political Science

  • PO/LW 350 - Major Issues in Law and Society: A Comparative Context (Fall, Spring)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

The VU, founded in 1880, enrolls about 25,000 students, and offers courses in eleven faculties covering arts and science fields, and takes pride in a very studentcentric teaching style. The VU is situated on a campus (unlike many European city universities), just outside of central Amsterdam, near the business district in South Amsterdam. Originally set up as an institution of higher education separate from church or state, the current day VU takes this heritage seriously. Students will feel comfortable on campus, and can access the many resources available, including modern buildings and infrastructure, the Griffioen Cultural Centre, shops, cafés, and an extensive library. The VU boasts a strong international environment; its goal is to have one in four students in its English-taught programs be an international student.

Course-Related Excursions

Course-related excursions are academic trips associated with courses. They are organized to complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to a general knowledge of Dutch culture and society/ Participation is based on course registration. Past Examples include:

  • Visits to the Amsterdam criminal court to to compare and contrast the working of a Dutch criminal court vs a U.S. court
  • Visits to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to attend a case
  • Participation in a moot court


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Amsterdam, it will feel like home.

Student Apartment Suites

Live in a single room in a mixed gender apartment suite with five-six other students. You share a kitchen, bathroom, and living spaces. Located in Amsterdam South, just five minutes from the VU academic buildings. No meals included.

Student Residence Hall

Live in single room with a private bathroom. You share a kitchen with other students on your floor. No meals are included. The building features 24-hour reception and a gym. Single rooms carry an additional cost.

Student Life


Our orientation introduces you to the IES Abroad Amsterdam staff, your fellow students, and the city of Amsterdam. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time. You also participate in a VU-led orientation to get to know the VU staff and facilities, and have the option to join the European Student Network's (ESN) orientation for international students, led by Dutch students. Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home. As part of the CORE™ program, you participate in a volunteer activity in the community. This volunteer experience creates a sense of community with your fellow students, offers you deeper insight into life in Amsterdam, and gives you a point of contact if you’d like to continue participating in volunteer projects throughout the semester. Field trips are also organized to introduce you to other parts of the Netherlands and to Dutch pastimes. Past trips have included excursions to the Zaanse Schans and Utrecht.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Amsterdam through cultural events, such as:

  • Seeing the windmills in the Zaanse Schans
  • Visiting a cheese market in Alkmaar, followed by canoeing on the Alkmaar canals
  • Touring the Keukenhof tulip garden (spring only)
  • Visiting Hoge Veluwe National Park
  • Bicycling to Volendam and Marken
  • Exploring the medieval castle Muiderslot

Eligibility Requirements

  • 18 years of age
  • In good standing at your home school
  • 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale
  • Junior or senior standing when program begins
  • Final admissions decision rests with the VU University Amsterdam (VU)
  • IES Abroad will not review Law & Criminology Program applicants with cumulative GPAs below 2.9. Applicants whose GPAs are between 2.9 and 3.0 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis (additional application materials below are required).

Passport & Visa Requirements

A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, with at least two blank pages is required. U.S. citizens in possession of a valid passport do not need to obtain a visa predeparture to enter the Netherlands. Upon admission, you will receive more information about obtaining the required residence permit on-site and any related fees. Non-U.S. citizens may be required to obtain a visa prior to arrival.


Fall 2018

  • Tuition: $14,855
  • Housing: $4,815
  • Insurance: $230
  • Total: $19,900

Academic Year

  • Tuition: $26,725
  • Housing: $9,630
  • Insurance: $455
  • Total: $36,810

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Program taught in:
  • English
  • Dutch
IES Abroad

See 128 more programs offered by IES Abroad »

Last updated October 8, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 semesters
19,900 USD
Program cost Fall 2018
By locations
By date
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Application deadline
End Date