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  • Locations: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Program Terms: Spring Semester
  • Restrictions: Mason applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Spring Semester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Campus Housing Number of Credits Offered: 12-16
Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior Type of Program: Bilateral Exchange
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Philosophy, Government and International Policy, Economics, Global Affairs, International/Comparative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Click here for a definition of this term Course Equivalency Database: View Approved Courses Program eligible for VA Benefits: No
Program Description:

John Stuart Mill Fellows

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The John Stuart Mill Fellows Program (JSM Fellows) distinguishes itself from a regular exchange program in that students will be enrolled in the prestigious Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program at the Free University of Amsterdam (also known as Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam or VU). John Stuart Mill Fellows will take classes at VU in the spring semester and will be joined by VU students in the fall. Students will be accompanied by Dr. Matthew Scherer, the director of Mason's PPE program, during their first week in Amsterdam. In addition, during their time at VU, students will have the opportunity to take a class co-taught by Mason's Robinson professor, Dr. Steven Pearlstein.

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
VU is a major public university in the Netherlands. With over 24,000 students enrolled it is ranked as the #5 university in the Netherlands and #24 university in Europe by US News and World Report. The university is located in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, one of Europe's top financial centers, and a major cultural global city. Its metropolitan area has a combined population of 2.5 million people.

Application cycles are open one semester at a time. Applications for the fall/academic year will open around December 1 of the year prior and applications for spring/calendar year will open around July 1 of the year prior.​​

Click through the brochure tabs to learn more about this program.


In order to participate in this program, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Students must have completed at least 45 credits at the time of departure.
    • For students applying for fall or academic year programs, this total does not include summer coursework that has yet to be completed.
  • Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA at the time of application and departure.
  • Students planning to study abroad in the last semester of their senior year should discuss this with their GEO program administrator and major advisor as this may affect their ability to graduate on time.
  • This program is open to students who major in PPE, Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Global Affairs, and International Studies. Preference will be given to PPE majors.
  • Recent transfer students cannot study abroad their first semester (not including summer) at Mason.

Credit Conversion

Students are expected to take a full-time course load during their time at VU Amsterdam.

Grade Conversion

When transferring courses back to Mason, the credits will transfer but the grade will not. However, you must receive the equivalent of a "C" or above in order to transfer your credit back. Refer to the table below regarding how grades are converted at Free University of Amsterdam.

Free University of Amsterdam Grade Mason Grade
8.0 - 10 A
7.0 - 7.75 B
6.0 - 6.75 C
5.0 - 5.75 *
0 - 4.75 F

Marks exceeding 9 are very rare.  An 8 represents a high level of achievement, while grades 6 and 7 generally account for the majority of passing grades awarded.

Choosing Courses Abroad

Fellows will select five courses from a pre-approved list. Credit for each course taken at VU will count toward students' majors at Mason.  When you first consider applying, identify courses from the pre-approved list that are similar to those at Mason that you need to take.   The list of pre-approved courses can be found at the following link: John Stuart Mill Course List.

Academic Calendar

At VU Amsterdam, the academic year is divided into 2 semesters.  Each semester is divided into 3 periods:
1st semester (Fall) September - January
Period 1 September - October
Period 2 November - December
Period 3 January
2nd semester (Spring) February - June
Period 4 February - March
Period 5 April - May
Period 6 June
  • Students studying during the fall semester may opt out of period 3 courses in order to return for the start of spring semester at Mason. 
  • Students studying during the spring semester may opt out of period 6 courses.
  • Academic Calendar

Global Understanding

Students participating in this study abroad program will automatically fulfill the Mason Global Understanding core requirement.


Housing at VU consists of furnished rooms with private or shared facilities. Accommodation in Amsterdam is limited so it is recommended you apply for housing as soon as you've been accepted by VU. Rooms tend to be small and you may find it is common for men and women to live together in the same student house.

Note for spring semester students: The housing contract with VU will run until the end of the summer. Students are welcome to stay past the end of the spring term but will not get a refund on their housing costs should they decide to leave earlier than the end of their housing contract.

Program Cost 

This is a Bilateral Exchange Program. Students are enrolled as regular students at the partner university, pay Mason tuition to Mason, and pay room and board abroad. Students can use the budget sheets located at the top of this page to see what GEO estimates as expenses.

Program Payments

As this is a Bilateral Exchange Program, students will pay for their tuition as they normally do in PatriotWeb.

Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $150 for Mason students. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system.

Administrative Fee: A non-refundable administrative fee of $375 (for semester length programs) or $575 (for year-long programs) must be received in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system.

Financial Aid: Students using financial aid are encouraged to talk to their counselor regarding how their financial aid can transfer to their program.

Travel Grant

Students with financial need (as determined by the Office of Financial Aid) will automatically be considered for a travel grant up to $750. Students will be contacted by their program officer after the application deadline to let them know if they have been selected.


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

Fall/Academic Year: Early/Mid March
Spring/Calendar Year: Early/Mid September

Visa Information

Once accepted into a program, it will be your responsibility to apply for a student visa and/or residence permit (if required, based on your citizenship). You will receive details on this with your acceptance letter. Do not apply for a visa until after you have been officially accepted.

VU will apply for a visa and/or a residence permit on behalf of the exchange student (if necessary). Students will be informed about the procedure after submitting their application.

Application requirements:*

Application fee: $150 for Mason students.

Official Transcripts: An official copy of your Mason transcript is required as well as copies of official transcripts from any other college or university you have attended.

Passport Status: If you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents.

Questionnaires: Read and complete the documents according to the instructions.

*Additional paperwork may be required for this program and can be viewed inside your application.

Application instructions:

GEO Program Administrator

Name Martha Sadler
Phone 703-993-2641
  Make an appointment

Additional Resources

Follow VU Amsterdam on Social Media


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.