Amsterdam - Psychology & Sciences


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why Amsterdam?

As one of the most international cities in Europe, Amsterdam is rich in culture, full of open-minded people, and has everything you could want in a big city. Yet Amsterdam still maintains a laid-back feel and is a very easy city to get around in. It’s also incredibly beautiful. It should come as no surprise, then, that Amsterdam is high on Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Ranking, which also means it is the perfect place to study abroad! What are you waiting for?

What You'll Study

Study Psychology, Health, Computer Science, or Earth and Life Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). Located in the South of Amsterdam and boasting a diverse student population, the VU offers a wide array of courses in Psychology and the sciences taught by professors and researchers who are among the best in their fields. By taking classes with Dutch and international students, you’ll gain a valuable international perspective that only comes with study abroad.

Your English-taught courses may have you talking to practitioners and experts in the field, monitoring your heart rate to track first-hand how stress affects your life, diving into the laboratories, visiting patients at a clinic, or helping to program a robot. You may also choose to expand your studies with an IES Abroad-taught course on Cross-Cultural Psychology, Sexuality, and Gender, Studio Art, or Art History.

Daily Life

Amsterdam will be your classroom. Practice your new Dutch language skills as you peruse fresh produce with friends at the popular Albert Cuypmarkt, or attend a football match and cheer for AFC Ajax. If you are adventurous and willing to explore, you will know what it’s like to experience Amsterdam as a Dutch student. Field trips will take you off the beaten path to places like Maastricht or Gouda and course-related trips in and around Amsterdam will provide 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 to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.

While in Amsterdam, you take 15-18 credits per semester at VU University Amsterdam (VU), known for its strong offerings in Psychology and the sciences.

Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:

  • 4-5 Psychology or Science courses at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) (required, 3 credits each)
  • One IES Abroad area studies course (optional, up to 6 credits)


This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

  • Highlights of Dutch Art: From Rembrandt to Mondriaan and Beyond
  • Studio Rietveld: An Introduction to Studio Art in Amsterdam
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership for the 21st Century
  • Dialogues on Difference
  • Dutch Language in Daily Life
  • Dutch Language
  • Sex and Science: Dutch Medicine and Intersexuality
  • Introduction to the Study of Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Amsterdam
  • Translating Race: a Comparative Approach
  • European Union in a Changing World: History, Politics, and Policy-making
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership for the 21st Century
  • European Union in a Changing World: History, Politics, and Policy-making
  • Translating Race: a Comparative Approach
  • Sociology
  • Sex and Science: Dutch Medicine and Intersexuality
  • Translating Race: a Comparative Approach
  • Introduction to the Study of Sexuality and Gender in the Context of Amsterdam

VU University Amsterdam (VU) Courses

  • Courses at the VU are listed in ECTS. 2 ECTS=1 U.S. Credit.
  • Fall classes are offered in Periods 1 and 2. Spring courses are offered in Periods 4 and 5.
  • Fall students are expected to enroll in a minor for their course of study. Minors are not offered in Spring, so spring students enroll in individual courses.

Partner Institution(s)

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 student-centric 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.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Amsterdam, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations:

Antwerp, Belgium

2 Days| Fall & Spring

Enjoy a weekend away in Netherland’s neighboring country, Belgium! Come sample the local cuisine, and learn a bit more about what makes Belgium special.

National Park Hoge Veluwe & Kröller-Müller Museum

2 Days | Fall

Visit the largest privately managed conservation area in the Netherlands - home to several endangered species, as well as visit the park's museum. Also visit the Open Air Museum, which allows you to see the historical past of Dutch life.


2 Days | Spring

Explore this university city with its beautiful medieval architecture and lively arts and culture. Visit the famous labyrinth caves of Limburg, and take a walk in the spectacular hilly countryside.

Zaanse Schans

1 Day | Fall & Spring

Enjoy a cycling trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans, a quintessential Dutch town, famous for its windmills.

IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.

Course-Related Trips

Course-related trips are academically-focused and are 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:

  • Visit a psychiatric care museum;
  • Tour contemporary art museums and galleries;
  • Visit a Dutch sex education NGO;
  • Take a walking tour of Amsterdam’s neighborhoods.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Amsterdam is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is the orientation program that makes you feel prepared, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


Our orientation introduces you to the IES Abroad Amsterdam staff, your fellow students, and the city of Amsterdam.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, academics, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

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.

Local field trips and activities are also arranged, as well as an overnight orientation trip, where you’ll have the opportunity to further sample elements of Dutch culture and get to know the other students.


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.

Residence Hall - Depending on the location, you will live in a single room with either a shared or private bathroom. You will either have a shared kitchen with other students on your floor or have a private kitchenette.

Deluxe Residence Hall - You will live in a single room with a private bathroom. You share a kitchen with other students on your floor. The building features a 24-hour reception and a gym. This option carries an additional cost.

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 and the Isle of Pampus


Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $15,660 $5,060 $230 $20,950

Academic year

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Academic Year $27,740 $10,000 $455 $38,195

Our Center

The IES Abroad Amsterdam Center is housed in the Oranje-Nassau Kazerne, former military barracks that has since been turned into offices and apartments, and located across from the famous Artis Zoo. Features include a small library, classroom space, staff offices, WiFi access, and space for students to meet and study. Center office hours are Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm (unless otherwise specified).

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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