Business in Society (joint degree VU and UvA)

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 2.07 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 13 k / Year(s)  
66 place StudyQA ranking:6488 Duration:24 months

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The Master's programme Business in Society addresses the intricate relationships between business and society, as can be seen in grand challenges posed by e.g. the financial crisis, society’s request for ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility, and the need for sustainability.

This programme results from a joint effort of the Amsterdam Business School (ABS) at the University of Amsterdam and the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEWEB) at VU University Amsterdam to educate a new generation of business researchers who will have a profound grasp of the societal trends that are changing the face of business.


Upon successful completion of the programme, you will receive a Master's degree in Business in Society and the title Master of Science (MSc).

Top 5 reasons to study here

The UvA and VU:

  • have an excellent reputation
  • have a diverse international student body
  • are surrounded by many multinational firms and organisations
  • have low tuition fees for EU students
  • are conveniently located in the multicultural city of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam

The overall quality of Dutch higher education places it among the best in the world. According to the QS World University Rankings, no other country in the world can claim that 90% of its universities are ranked in the world’s top 200. Both UvA and VU are internationally renowned research institutes. Together they are responsible for more than 20,000 scientific publications published in top-tier journals (up to 2013).

Career prospects

Business in Society

This Research Master Business in Society is the ideal preparation for a leading PhD programme in business administration or a related discipline at the University of Amsterdam, the VU University Amsterdam, or another university. The University of Amsterdam and the VU University Amsterdam have committed to each offer six PhD positions each year for which our graduates will be prime candidates in an open competition. It also gives you excellent credentials to apply for a research-related position in the public or private sector such as strategic advisor, researcher or policy maker. In short: our alumni possess all the needed skills to be a leader in tomorrow's business research.

As a graduate of the programme, you will be able to:

  • understand complex business problems including their societal dimensions;
  • adopt an original and interdisciplinary perspective in proposing solutions to these complex problems;
  • design and perform high-quality research to provide evidence of the implications of business decisions for both businesses and society;
  • communicate research results to both the scientific and the practitioner community to influence the way organisations do business.

The programme in brief

The two-year Research Master's programme Business in Society will equip you with the knowledge and skills to shape new ways of doing business taking into account how organisations and society affect each other. The programme offers several specialisations in the broad field of business administration (such as: strategy, organizational theory, accounting, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, international business, human resource management, organizational behaviour, and marketing), as well as an overarching perspective connecting these fields, which is necessary to understand the multi-faceted business in society issues. It also provides you with the methodological and theory-building skills needed to conceive of new solutions for the problems related to business in society.

Furthermore, with a maximum intake of 25 talented and highly motivated students, this English taught programme offers intensive interactions with other students and close supervision and collaboration with excellent researchers passionate about understanding complex business problems in their societal perspective. You will learn from, and work closely with, some of the world's leading scholars in the field of business administration.


The research Master’s programme in Business in Society is a new programme and therefore still under development. No rights can be derived from the contents of this website, the brochure or any other information issued verbally or in writing about this programme.

Programme Structure

The Master of Science in Business in Society is a two-year programme of 120 ECTS credits (1 ECTS credit = 0,5 US credit). The academic year runs from September to the beginning of July and is divided into two semesters, each with three periods. Please refer to the academic calendar for the exact dates.

Learning philosophy

The Research Master's Business in Society is not only unique in its focus on business in society, but also in its emphasis on developing theory-building skills and in offering to students to learn by collaborating with internationally reputed researchers.

We strongly believe that testing further existing theories will not be enough to successfully address the complex issues businesses face in their interactions with society. Therefore, we are convinced that tomorrow’s business researchers need strong theory-building skills besides strong methodological skills. So, instead of primarily focusing on developing your knowledge of research methods, the Research Master is designed to promote a balanced combination of methodological skills and academic literary skills (theory-building, critical, reflective attitude, excellent writing, and communication).

We also believe in learning by working alongside experts. It is why our Research Master's counts two research internships. You will be free to select with whom you wish to work from a portfolio of projects proposed by internationally renowned researchers at both UvA and VU.


The Master's thesis is the final requirement to be completed prior to graduation. In the thesis, you show that you are able to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have acquired during the programme by researching independently a topic related to business in society. Your thesis preparation will be supervised by one of the research staff members from either UvA or VU. A dedicated course will aid you in drafting your research proposal and in writing your thesis.

The Research Master is a selective program that is geared towards excellent students who want to pursue a research-related position. Admissions are selective and competitive. A maximum of 25 students may enrol each year.Admission criteria Undergraduate degree: You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree (BSc or BA) preferably in the field of business studies, economics, psychology, social science, law, and engineering or a broad bachelor delivered by a university college. The Bachelor’s program should have been completed before the start of the MPhil program. If your Bachelor’s degree is not in business studies the admissions committee will verify whether the content of the previously taken program is sufficient for entering the Research Master. If there are deficiencies regarding the background knowledge in business studies, eligible students will be asked to remedy these deficiencies either by (a) adding courses (e.g. a Minor in Business Studies) to their Bachelor’s or Master’s program that precedes their entrance into our Research Master or (b) by familiarizing themselves with a ‘required reading’ list, their knowledge of which will be tested before the start of the programme.GRE or GMAT: Valid GRE General Test or GMAT results are required from all (including Dutch) applicants. Your test results should not be older than five years. An indication of your required score is 85 percent.Language: An excellent command of English is crucial. Students whose native language is not English are therefore required to demonstrate English proficiency in one of two ways:by holding a degree from a Dutch university or an institution at which English is the language of instruction, orby scoring at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, 250 on the computer-based TOEFL, 100 on the internet-based TOEFL (with subscores of at least 23), 7 on the IELTS test (with subscores of at least 6.5), or A or B on Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Proficiency (CPE).Intellectual capabilities, writing skills, and interest in Business in Society issues: Students should be interested in the theme of the Research Master. Such interest will be assessed on the basis an essay on a topic of your choice related to business in society. If you wish, you can enter your essay in the competition for a scholarship. Essays should be no longer than 1500 words, excluding tables, figures and references. They should include an abstract (max. 100 words) and a reference list conform APA standards. Layout: Font 12, margins >1 inch, line space 1.5.Strong motivation: Students should be strongly motivated to pursue a research-related career. Such enthusiasm will be assessed by a letter of motivation.Recommendation from two academics: Students should give the name and contact details of two academics who the admissions committee will ask to write a letter of recommendation supporting your capability and aspirations. An interview may be part of the selection process. Other admission criteria being equal, preference is given to candidates who show capacity for higher academic performance. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 7 TOEFL paper-based test score : 600 TOEFL iBT® test: 100

Business in Society Scholarship

Scholarships to any applicant in the form of tuition fee waivers will be awarded based on merit. If you wish to compete for this scholarship, you should indicate your interest in this scholarship when applying for the Research Master in Embark. If you correctly and timely indicate that you aim to participate in the competition for a scholarship, your essay on a topic related to business in society, which is part of the application package, is used as submission to that competition, and assessed as such. If you obtain a scholarship, please be aware that an extension of that scholarship in the second year of the programme will be conditional to your performing well in the first year.

VU Fellowship Programme

The VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP) offers talented prospective students the unique opportunity to pursue a degree from a selection of Master’s programmes at VU University. VU University has committed to providing approximately 1 million euro towards attracting highly motivated, excellent students.

On 1 December 2014, students can start applying for the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP). Before this date, we will publish the exact application procedure before this date, so keep an eye on this page if you're eligible to apply. The deadline for application is set to 1 March 2015.

Amsterdam Merit Scholarship (AMS)

The University of Amsterdam aims to attract the world’s brightest students to its international classrooms. Outstanding students from outside the European Economic Area can apply for an Amsterdam Merit Scholarship. A limited number of AMS scholarships is available for non-EEA students in the Master's programmes. Last year the top 14 percent of non-EEA MSc students were awarded a €12,000 Amsterdam Merit Scholarship.

The deadline for this scholarship is the same as the application deadline: 1 April 2015.

Please ensure that you have checked the regulations for this scholarship and apply via the digital application form Embark.

Other Scholarships

The Dutch Ministry of Education and Sciences offers scholarships covering costs of living expenses within the framework of cultural agreements between the Netherlands and other countries. Information is available from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your country or via Grantfinder and the Nuffic.

You can also contact the Ministry for Higher Education in your own country. There may be funds or foundations available for students planning to study abroad.

Scholarships for Dutch students

Students with a Dutch nationality who have not yet studied for more than six years are eligible for a student grant from the Dutch government. Certain EU/EEA students may also be eligible for a student grant or for limited funding by the Dutch government by means of tuition fee loans.


Accreditation and academic title

Business in Society

The quality of this Master's programme has been assessed by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).

This means that, upon successful completion of the programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master's degree in Business in Society and the title Master of Science (MSc).

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