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Visual Arts, Media & Architecture

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Master Postgraduate Amsterdam

Course description

Qualification Master of Arts
Field of study Humanities, social sciences, communication and arts
Course summary The Research Master's programme Critical Studies in Art and Culture focuses on current developments in visual arts, architecture, design and media, from a theoretical and historical perspective.
Course description In a globalizing cultural world in which art, architecture, design and media are ever more closely integrated and packaged as “creative industries,” disciplinary boundaries need questioning and challenging, yet a thorough grounding in older and newer disciplines such as art history, architectural history, design culture, and media studies is a prerequisite for doing so. You will focus on the analysis of “visual objects”: of artifacts in various media that function as images. This ranges from landscapes, cities and buildings to artworks in various media, as well as film, television, design and games. Notions as inter-, cross- and transmediality play an important part in the program. Since artifacts, media and forms of intermediality can only exist in specific social, institutional, economical and ideological frameworks and networks, the Master will equip you with the analytical and critical tools for analyzing these. Each of the four main disciplines that inform the specialization brings specific theories and methods to the table, and the programme seeks to foster a sense of their interconnectedness, highlighting their specific potential as well as possible limitations.
Study subjects In the first year, next to the core courses and modules in the Humanities Research Master, you also choose 4 MA courses offered by the department, or opt for a course from other departments in the faculty. In addition to these courses, you may either choose another course from our regular MA programme, or opt for a course with a spatial perspective offered by another department. For a course schedule see the PDF on our website.
Course objectives The research master's degree will enable you to work as an independent researcher. In the academic world, both at home and abroad, it is seen as a possible step towards a doctoral study. But you can also find a position in art and media management, journalism and publishing, or in art and architecture centers, research agencies, museum institutions, film or design festivals, art and media archives and teaching and government institutions.
ECTS credits 120.00
Duration 24 month(s)
Language of instruction English
Instruction modes case study, group discussion, individual assignment, literature study, oral presentation, research, research project, research proposal, project, seminar, internship, tutorial, self study
Accreditation NVAO

About the institution

Department faculteit Geesteswetenschappen
Information about the institution Ever since it was founded in 1880, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has been known for its distinctive approach to knowledge. VU is an open organization, strongly linked to people and society.


Admission requirements
  1. Unless English is your first language, you must be able to prove your knowledge of English is sufficient.
  2. The thesis and other parts relevant to the field chosen for graduation in the research master's course have an average of no less than 8.0.
  3. A certified list of the academic results obtained to date (qualifications and lists of grades).
  4. The international academic approach means that a broad knowledge of languages is necessary. You should therefore be able to show that you have an active knowledge of English (speaking and writing), and a passive knowledge of Dutch, German, French (and possibly Italian).
  5. To be admitted to the programme the student should have at least a bachelor's diploma in art, architecture, media and culture or a closely related field in order to be considered for admission to the programme.
  6. We require a motivation letter including a description of your research interests.
Language requirements
IELTS listening 6.5
IELTS overall band 7
IELTS reading 6.5
IELTS speaking 6.5
IELTS writing 6.5
TOEFL internet based 100
TOEFL paper based 600
Professional experience required -
Duration 24 month(s)
Application deadlines
Start date EU/EEA Students Non-EU/EEA students
1 Sep 2020 1 Jun 2020 1 Apr 2020
1 Sep 2021 1 Jun 2021 1 Apr 2021
Tuition fees
Year EU/EEA Non-EU/EEA Institutional
No tuition fees available.

In short, the following rules apply:

  • The “EU/EEA rate” is the regular fee for students from within the EU/EEA.
  • The “non-EU/EEA rate” is the rate for students from outside the EU/EEA.
  • The “institutional rate” is for all students who have already obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree and who want to start a second programme leading to a degree at the same level or at a lower level.
  • Note that FT, PT and D stand for "full-time", "part-time" and "dual", respectively.

Make sure you contact your institution to find out what rate applies to you. The rates listed here are estimates.


Libertas Support Fund, StuNed Scholarship Programme, Huygens Scholarship Programme (HSP), VU Fellowship Programme

For more scholarships, visit:

Course website More information about the course


Contact information for the study programme


Ilse Chin

Study advisor

Sanne Boomsma

International office

Contact information for the institution


study info

Telephone number (020) 598 5000
Course website More information about the course
Institution website More information about the institution