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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:
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
Area of Study: Philosophy, Government and International Policy, Economics, Global Affairs, International/Comparative Studies Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Program Description:
Renaissance Art and Culture

John Stuart Mill Fellows Program at the Free University of Amsterdam

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.

Program Details

The JSM Fellows program is a Bilateral Exchange. Students are enrolled as regular students at the partner university, pay Mason tuition to Mason, and pay room and board abroad.

About the PPE Program at VU

The PPE program at VU has been awarded the “Distinctive feature of small-scale and intensive education” by the the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Council (NVAO). This designation certifies that: it is a small-scale, intensive program with emphases on extra-curricular activities that enhance its academic and professional community; its curriculum is current and socially relevant; it is designed for highly motivated and talented students, and it has stringent entrance requirements. PPE at VU is an international program, and all courses are taught in English.

The PPE model was developed at Oxford and has been implemented at George Mason as well. PPE programs combine the traditional fields of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. They have an impressive track record in training students for leadership positions in business, politics, law, academia, journalism, and beyond.  PPE is premised on the idea that today's complex social problems require researchers, policy makers and professionals who can tackle issues from several angles, combine different perspectives in a constructive way, and understand the broader social and historical context of problems.


  • Students must have completed at least 45 credits at the time of departure. 
  • Students should not study abroad the last semester of senior year if they plan to graduate on time.
  • Recent transfer students cannot study abroad their first semester at Mason.
  • 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.

Credits Offered

  • Transfer between 12-16 credits per semester
  • Letter grade received must be equivalent to a "C" or above
  • Courses are transfer credit; will not factor into the GPA of the participant.
  • Passing Grade: 7.0 or C

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

Students studying through the John Stuart Mill Fellows program will go to Amsterdam for the spring semester. The spring semester typically runs from early February to late June. The spring semester is divided up into three periods (periods four, five, and six). The fourth and fifth periods both last two months and students will take two courses in each period. The sixth period lasts one month and students take one course (this period is optional).


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.


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.

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.

Visa Information

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.

Links and Resources


Did you know that ...

  • English is widely spoken?
  • Amsterdam has approximately 800,000 inhabitants?
  • Amsterdam has 165 canals and 1,281 bridges, more than even Venice?
  • Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands?
  • according to Mercer’s 2015 Quality of Life Survey, Amsterdam is ranked 11th worldwide?
  • according to The Safe Cities Index 2015, Amsterdam is in the top 5 of the safest cities in the world?
  • with almost 92,000 students, Amsterdam is a great and lively place to study?

Welcome to Amsterdam

Program Links

Download Flyer

JCM Fellows Flyer


Academic Director

Matthew Scherer, PhD

Program Officer

Mikaela Spencer


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.