Maths Requirement

The statistics course in the first year and the economics courses in the first and second year cannot be succesfully completed without a certain level of proficieny in mathematics. Hence there is a maths requirement for admission to the PPE programme, which applies even to those students who wish to drop economics in the second year (and choose to specialize in philosophy and political science instead).

To be admitted to the program you need either one of the Dutch mathematics courses A or B, or the foreign equivalent thereof.

The Dutch course Maths A is generally considered the ‘simpler’ type of mathematics. Formal descriptions of the topics covered in this course are to be found at You can also find an archive with old exams at this website, which gives you a further indication of the minimal level of maths that is required for admission to our PPE programme. This information is in Dutch, because it is based on the official Dutch regulations. However, the meaning of most mathematical subjects will be apparent. Roughly speaking, the topics are:

  • functions (power, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric): their properties, solutions, and graphs)
  • slopes and changes in graphs
  • differentiation (sum, product, and chain rule) and finding extreme values
  • series and recursive formulas
  • combinatorics and probability
  • descriptive statistics (population vs. sample, mean vs. median, standard deviation)
  • probability distributions (uniform, binomial, normal)
  • simple hypothesis tests

Examples of diplomas that demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Mathematics are:

  • International Baccalaureate (IB): Mathematics Standard or Higher Level
  • UK: Mathematics A levels. The Cambridge Pre-University Diploma is also sufficient for general admission.
  • Germany: Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, including Mathematics (Abitur fach)
  • Romania: Diploma de Bacalaureat, including a Mathematics Profile, Computer Science Profile, or Natural Sciences profile.

Examples of diplomas that do NOT demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Mathematics are:

  • Canadian OSSD Students: ‘Pre-calculus’ does not meet the equivalency criterium. All other mathematics courses in the OSSD curriculum first need to be evaluated by the admission officers.

After you apply to the program and upload the required documents in our student portal, the admission officer will have a look at your transcripts to determine whether your mathematics level is sufficient. If your proficiency in mathematics is considered to be insufficient, you may get a conditional admission. An additional math certificate will then be required for unconditional or full admission. This must be submitted before 31 August 2016.

Please contact our International Admission Officer, Eva Meijerink, at if you would like to inquire in advance if the maths course that is part of your diploma is sufficient.

Math entry exam outside VU Amsterdam

There is no possibility to take a math entry exam at VU Amsterdam, but there are several organizations in the Netherlands where a Mathematics level A entry exam can be made and courses can be taken to eliminate a deficiency in maths:

Please check these sites to find out what their examination dates are. Some of these sites include some English practice exams. Please keep the deadlines in mind for handing in documents.

Please contact our International Admission Officer, Eva Meijerink, at if you would like to know wether a math entry exam from your home country would suffice.