Philosophy of Law and Governance

The specialization Philosophy of Law and Governance, of the two year Master's degree programme Philosophy, is designed especially for Bachelors in Law with an interest in the foundations of contemporary Western systems of positive law. The programme trains students to philosophically reflect upon basic legal concepts and principles. What is law? What does it mean to be a free and equal citizen in a modern democratic state? How to address injustices committed by the state in the past? These and other questions are addressed in this specialization.

The programme consists of introductory philosophy courses, courses in philosophy of law and a student’s own selection of courses in law. Already acquired knowledge of law is deepened through study of philosophical theories and concepts. Masters in Philosophy in Law and Governance acquire a theoretical understanding of law, as well as a practical view of philosophy.

Why Philosophy of Law and Governance at the VU?

  • This programme is the perfect combination of courses in philosophy and law.
  • With some extra effort you can obtain a Master’s degree in two disciplines: one in philosophy and one in your original discipline law.
  • All courses are taught by true experts from the several departments.
  • The programme is small scale: there is intensive contact with the professors.

Study Programme

This Master's programme is truly multidisciplinary. Students combine courses in philosophy, a total worth of 84 ECTS, with their own selection of courses in law, worth 36 ECTS. The philosophy courses either bring students up to speed on fundamental philosophical discussions (30 ECTS) or are especially designed for this specialization and concern philosophy of law specifically (54 ECTS).

Ad­mis­sion Re­quire­ments

Specific admission requirements for the two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy, specialization in Philosophy of Law and Governance:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Law

English Language entry requirements
All students whose first language is not English including both home and international students must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is appropriate. This requirement is specified in order to ensure that the academic progress of students is not hindered by language difficulties.

Acceptable qualifications
Listed below are all the English language qualifications and tests and the level required to satisfy our English language entry requirements. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment.

  • IELTS Academic Version: Overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.
  • TOEFL paper based test: Overall grade of 600 with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE.
  • TOEFL internet based test: Overall grade of 100 with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests.
  • Cambridge Advanced English: A, B or C.

Exemption from the requirements listed above can be awarded to students who have fulfilled the following requirements no longer than two years prior to the date of enrolment:

  • students who have fulfilled the requirements of the VU English language proficiency test TOEFL ITP, with the required scores. For more information please consult Taalloket.
  • Students with substantial education (minimum 12 months) conducted in English in an English speaking country.
  • Students holding an International Baccalaureate degree in English.

The required evidence should, if possible, be included with the complete application. If either unsatisfactory or no evidence of English language proficiency has been provided with the application, admission will be conditional upon the provision of such evidence. This condition will be clearly indicated on the offer letter and must be fulfilled before enrolment at the VU Amsterdam.


Students from abroad apply at before April 1st. For more information contact the coordinator of the programme (see below under the heading CONTACT).

Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Overview Philosophy: Philosophy of Law and Governance.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years (full-time), 4 years (part-time)
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time, Part-time
  • Field of interest: Economics, Business and Law, Philosophy

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Last updated October 8, 2019
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