Practical Info for New PPE Students

Some key info for students who start in our PPE programme in September 2016.

Change your admission into a registration

Entrance to the main building of the VUDeadline for registration: 31 August 2016
Make sure that you have fully registered for our PPE programme by 31 August 2016 at the latest. Don’t forget to pay your tuition fees (or have arranged an automatic bank transfer). Please arrange this in good time and check your e-mail inboxes regularly (both your VU student e-mail address and your private e-mail address).

Completed the registration process?
Once you have fully registered, you will receive a Proof of Registration and a student card (provided that you have uploaded a photo to VUnet) within 2 to 4 weeks.

Do you have any questions?
Do you have questions about the registration process? Please contact the Central Student Serivces Desk (see contact details below).

Information and communication

VUnet is the intranet site for use by students at VU Amsterdam. You will find all the information that is relevant to you on this portal: your university e-mails, important announcements, your personal timetable, exam grades and important news and announcements. Log in using your VUnet ID, which you will have been sent by now.

If you have lost your VUnet ID, please visit the Central Student Services Desk, which is located in the lobby of the Main Building. Take your student card or another form of identification with you.

VU Amsterdam e-mail
Each student is assigned a personal university e-mail address, with the following format: You can read and send e-mails by logging into VUnet with your VUnet ID. All e-mail correspondence about your programme will be sent to your university e-mail account. This means it is essential to check your inbox regularly to ensure that you do not miss any important information or announcements. Would you like to avoid having to log in to check your e-mails? Then you can have your e-mail automatically forwarded to your personal e-mail address.

Central Student Services Desk
You can find the answers to many common questions on VUnet. For complex issues that cannot be arranged via VUnet, you can contact the Central Student Services Desk on the ground floor of the main building.

  • Telephone number: +31 (020) 598 5020 (please keep your 7-digit student number at hand). You can reach the Central Student Services Desk during working days from 10.30 to 12.30 and from 14.00 to 17.00.
  • Visiting hours desk: working days from 10.30 to 17.00.
  • E-mail address:

Changes of address
If you change your home address, you should change your address in VUnet yourself as soon as possible. This is important because the address listed in VUnet will be used by the university and the faculty for all official correspondence.

Study programme

General timetable
The general timetable for the PPE programme can be found on You will notice that no lectures and seminars have been planned on Wednesdays. On these days there will, however, regularly be meetings with your tutor group and extracurricular activities.

Study guide
In the VU Amsterdam online study guide you will find information about the content of your courses, forms of testing and which literature you will need. You can find the guide at Or go directly to the description of first year PPE courses.

Books needed
In the course description in the study guide it is mentioned which book(s), if any, you need for each course. We timely provide info on what books are needed for our courses to the book shop in the central hall of the main building of VU Amsterdam, so they should have those books in stock. However, you are also free to buy your books at another place of your choice. Other study materials, such as articles, are generally collected in a syllabus for each course. This syllabus will be digitally made available on Blackboard.

If you think you may be eligible for an exemption for a particular course, based on your prior education for instance, please submit a request for exemption to the Examination Board for our PPE programme well in advance of commencing the course in question. You can do this via VUnet.

Registering for lectures and exams
Students are responsible for registering for all courses and exams. Registration for courses and exams can be done via VUnet. All courses that you register for will be added to your personal timetable. Please note: registration for courses in period 1 is open until the first week of September. For the remaining periods, enrolment closes four weeks before the start of each period.

When you register for a course, you are also automatically registered for the first exam opportunity for that course, but not for a resit, should that become necessary. If you are unsuccessful in an exam and you need to take a resit, you must register for that on VUnet no less than 14 days in advance. Registration remains possible until 14 days before the resit.

All courses make use of a digital learning environment. The system used for this is called Blackboard. Once you have registered for a course in VUnet, you will automatically be able to access the Blackboard environment for that course. You can access Blackboard via

Support for students

Coordinators, tutors and study advisor
You can approach Ben Ferguson or one of the other programme coordinators with any questions you may have regarding our PPE programme. Your personal tutor (Britta Brugman, Brian Colgan, or Akshath Jitendranath) can help you with any questions about your study progress, study schedule, and the binding recommendation on continuation of studies (BSA), which is issued in the first year of our programme. The first meeting with your tutor and tutor group will be on the last day of the introduction week. You will then hear who has been assigned as your tutor. For more difficult or personal questions, our study advisor Jacqueline Braak is available. She can also refer you to available VU support services.

Studying with a disability
If you suffer from a disability, a chronic illness, dyslexia or a mental disability, this does not mean that you will be unable to successfully complete your studies. If you need help with your studies because of your disability, there are a number of people you can turn to. Firstly, there is our study advisor Jacqueline Braak. She can help you to access facilities such as exam papers with larger text or give you advice about the recommendation on continuation of studies. And the university student dean can advise you on matters such as financial support in the event of a delay to your study progress.

Binding recommendation on continuation of studies (BSA)
The John Stuart Mill College makes every effort to help students to complete their studies successfully. Your study progress will therefore be closely monitored from the very start of your program. If your results continue to be below the expected standard during the first year, there is a high probability that these problems will get worse during the rest of the programme. To prevent you wasting your valuable study time, the College will issue a recommendation on continuation of studies at the end of the first year on the basis of your results. If you have not made sufficient progress, you may be required to discontinue the programme. You are expected to achieve at least 60 credits (ECs) – in other words, pass all 10 courses in the first year. If you are ill or there are exceptional family circumstances and you are unable to achieve 60 credits, you must contact your tutor and study advisor Jacqueline Braak as soon as possible.

Distinguishing yourself

Good marks
Achieving good marks is perhaps the most useful way of distinguishing yourself. It will help you to develop academically, but will also bring your additional opportunities. Students with good grades are allowed to take part in the PPE Honours Programme, for example. And research master’s programmes often select applicants on the basis of the grades they obtain during the bachelor’s phase.

PPE Honours Programme
The John Stuart Mill College offers talented and motivated bachelor’s students the opportunity to study PPE in greater depth. The PPE Honours Programme can be followed alongside the second year and third year of your bachelor’s programme. If you complete the programme successfully and meet the requirements, you will receive a special diploma to demonstrate that you have completed this additional PPE Honours Programme.

Extracurricular activities
Of course there are also other ways to distinguish yourself as an excellent student. One way to do so is to participate actively in our extracurricular programme, by becoming a member of the Student Council of the John Stuart Mill College, by joining the board or one of the committees of the PPE Student Society, or to succesfully apply for a grant from our PPE Incubator Fund. One of the things that we will pay attention to in the introduction week (24-30 August), is the establishment of a PPE Student Society. We will create a Founding Committee during or soon after the introduction week.

High-level athletes and forms of outstanding performance

If you participate in high-level sports or other similar activities, you may have difficulty combining these with a busy degree programme. For that reason, VU Amsterdam has a ‘High Achievement Regulation’ for students who are involved with these kinds of extra-curricular activities. The regulation includes financial assistance in the event of delays to study progress and features that can help to reduce such delays. For further details, please see VUnet.

Some tips for your free time

VU Sports Centre
VU Sports Centre provides facilities for a range of different sports. Anyone can become a member, but you will receive a discount as a student of the university. Additionally, as a student you are entitled to an 8-day trial membership for only €10. If you decide to become a member, this €10 will be deducted from your membership fee. Read more about VU Sports Centre.

VU Cultural Centre Griffioen
The professionally equipped Griffioen podium presents preformances and concerts by established names and rising talent. The cultural centre also has a range of over ninety courses to choose from. Visual arts, dance, music or drama: it’s all on offer. Their cinema presents recent hits, movie classics and little-known gems on Tuesday and Thursday at 19.30, and Friday at 18.30 and 21.00. More about cultural centre Griffioen


VU Introduction Days

A great start to student life that you should not miss! Between Wednesday 24 and Tuesday 30 August, you can experience what is in store for you as a new undergraduate student at VU Amsterdam / the John Stuart Mill College and make new friends – before you start with our PPE degree programme.

In the first three days you will get to know the university campus, the university, the city of Amsterdam. In short, everything you need to get your time at university off to a flying start. On Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 August, you will get more information about the John Stuart Mill College and the start of the first week of your programme.

The introduction days will end with a closing party. The VU Introduction Days are a great start to student life that you should not miss! For more information, see the VU Introduction Days website and register (Dutch students / international students).

Your opinion counts

We are interested in your opinion regarding your degree programme, lecturers and exams. Courses area regularly evaluated. Upon completing a course, you will be sent a link in VUnet to an online questionnaire so that you can give your opinion. You can also contribute by participating in the Dutch National Student Survey and you can also approach the Student Council of the John Stuart Mill College, or the PPE Programme Committee. Your suggestions and ideas will help us to make continuous improvements!