Master in International Business Law: Finance and Behavior


Program Description

The modern lawyer: not just the law, but finance and behavior as well

This Master is formerly known as 'Corporate Law: Law Markets and Behavior'.

Lawyers used to only deal with the law. Advise your client on the rules, if need be litigate and you do a good job. In our changing world, this is no longer true. For lawyers to live up to the expectations of clients and society, they need to have broader skills. Lawyers also have to understand the underlying economic principles of transactions and procedures they are involved in. Behavioral perspectives are key in dynamics such as the governance of a company, mergers and acquisitions and the formation of contracts. Global economic shockwaves have demonstrated that rules alone do not suffice; we need to think about ethics as well. In other words: lawyers will fall short by just knowing the legal rules, even if they know them well.

This Master’s program delivers lawyers who know their way in the wider arena of the future. The law still is pivotal. Tort law, contract law, corporate law, regulatory law and insolvency law; the anatomy of these fields is explored in depth. But further perspectives are added. We will examine the legal side of corporate finance, but also delve into the underlying balance sheets and profit and loss accounts; we will examine the regulatory framework in which banks operate, but also question their role in society as a whole; we will examine the structure of contract law, but also focus on the psychology behind contract-negotiations and dispute resolution. In short, we offer a multidisciplinary master’s program that both deepens our understanding of the law and fosters our knowledge of the fields with which the law interacts, such as finance, psychology and ethics.

Leading institutions and academics on board

Given the wide the multidisciplinary nature of the program, the program could not be covered by lawyers alone: scholars from faculties such as Economics and Psychology play a key role in the program. They will share with you the latest scholarly insights.

Furthermore, studying law in a broader context requires a window on real legal-financial life. We have therefore teamed up with leading institutions from the field to take the law out of the books and see it in action. The program is designed and executed in close cooperation with mayor players such as the Dutch Financial Regulator, leading banks such as ABN and ING, and a number of Dutch law firms from the highest league.

This high-profile network offers you, as a student, a range of advantages. The curriculum reflects the needs of your future employers. Frequent guest lectures by leading experts from the affiliated institutions bring you up to date with the latest developments. You will come to speak to those who are in the driving seat of your field – and thus be enabled to start building your network.

Study Program

This legal Master’s program has deep-rooted multidisciplinary perspectives. Law is the vantage point of our thinking. Classical fields such as Contract Law, Tort Law, the Corporate Form, Insolvency Law and Regulatory Law will be taught in depth. In order for you to operate in an international context, we will focus on the principles; details of national laws will not be dealt with.

The non-legal perspectives will be interwoven in these courses. For example: there is a course on contract law, half of which will be about the (psychological) dynamics of contract negotiations. A similar approach is taken in other subjects, where traditional legal subjects are combined with insights from other disciplines. The goal of the masters’ programme is to enhance the students understanding of the law as it functions in practice, with the ultimate goal of training better, more skillful lawyers. The student will write several papers and prepare oral presentations during the academic year.

Career prospects

We offer this multidisciplinary master's programme for good reasons. Our partners - law firms and financial institutions – have been telling us time and again that not just legal, but also financial and psychological knowledge should be in the tool kit of todays lawyer. Bear in mind: these institutions have become partner of our masters’ programme for a reason. They need the kind of people we educate.

This is an international trend. It is, for example, not just the Dutch Central Bank who wonders why financial regulation failed to prevent the financial crises; the thought that firm “culture” it is an important factor in either undermining or enhancing the efficacy of regulation is increasingly embraced internationally.

Therefore, be it the Dutch students or those from abroad, those who successfully completed the Master's programme have a wide range of career choices. They can work as professional business lawyers, in-house legal counsels for companies, government officials, corporate executives, legal professionals for an international (intergovernmental) organization, etc.

Why VU Amsterdam?

Over the last decade, all of the Netherlands’ top international firms have moved to an area called the ‘Amsterdam Zuidas’. VU-University is located right at the heart of this area. The concentration of high-end legal activity within a five-minute walk of our faculty probably is unprecedented – a law faculty cannot have better neighbors. We have seized the opportunity with both hands. And it is not law firms exclusively: leading banks, insurers and regulators have joined us as well.

Our students, we know for a fact, greatly benefit. At the high level of our master programmes, the law cannot be understood in isolation from its context. Our partnerships offer the broad view you need.

Moreover, Amsterdam is the gateway to other important capitals in Europe, and students can easily travel by fast train to, for example, Brussels, Paris, London or Berlin. This offers a unique experience of studying in the neighborhood of a real international business environment.

Last but not least: Amsterdam is a good place to spend your time! The seventeenth-century canals of Amsterdam were recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The area around the city's main canals - Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsensgracht - is an international icon of urban planning and architecture. Student life is as lively and rich as you want it to be. Museums and cultural life are world class. Any free hour well spent will provide you with long lasting memories.

Admission requirements

This Master is selective and open to a limited number of students only. The Admission Board selects on merit.

Factors which will be taken into account are:

  • GPA at least 3.25 or an overall grade point average at least B+ or 7.2
  • talent and motivation
  • proficiency in research methods and techniques
  • relevant extra-curricular academic and/or work experience
  • sufficiently proficient in the English language (see language requirements for details)

The main focus for selection is on GPA and proficiency in research methods and techniques, the other criteria are of equal importance.

Applicants with a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in Law (LLB) can apply.

Applicants who do not have such a degree, but who have considerable experience in the field of law, are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background.

Your bachelor education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this Master in Law programme and their application could result in a rejection.

Admission on the basis of a law degree from an international University of Applied Sciences in not possible. The faculty does not offer a premaster for the IBL Master.

You can apply with an academic Bachelor's degree other than Law, only if you have considerable experience in the field of law and can demonstrate this with documentary evidence.

Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes.

Admission on the basis of a degree from an international University of Applied Sciences in not possible. The faculty does not offer a premaster for the IBL Master.

For the master International Business Law a minimum C1 proficiency in English is required. This requirement is met if no longer than two years before the start of the programme, the applicant has successfully completed one of the following examinations with at least the scores indicated:

  • IELTS: minimum total score ≥ 7.0, minimum score per test section: 6.5
  • TOEFL paper based test: 600
  • TOEFL PBT: minimum total score 68, minimum score per test section: 22
  • TOEFL iBT (internet based test): minimum total score ≥ 100, minimum score per test section: 22
  • C1 Advanced (formerly Cambridge Advanced English): minimum score B
  • C2 Proficiency (formerly Cambridge English: Proficiency): minimum score C

Exemption is granted to students who:

  • have completed their secondary education or an academic degree in the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand or Australia; or
  • have an English-language ‘international baccalaureate’ diploma; or
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in the EU.

The proof of English proficiency can be submitted after the application deadline, but must have been received by the faculty before the start of the programme. Without an English proficiency test score which meets the specifications mentioned above or a waiver, you cannot start the programme.


Application with an international diploma is possible from 1 October. The application deadline is:

1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships
1 April for international degree holders from non-EU/EEA countries
1 July
for degree holders from EU/EAA countries

International students applying for university accommodation are strongly advised to apply before 1 April.

Application steps

  1. Register via Studielink.
  2. After registering you will receive log-in details for VUnet.
  3. Upload the following application documents via VUnet (preferably PDF format):
    1. certified copy of academic degree or if not yet graduated: declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date;
    2. certified transcript in English of grades obtained so far;
    3. curriculum vitae;
    4. letter of motivation, explaining your reasons for wishing to participate in the programme;
    5. proof of academic writing in English:
      • final paper or thesis for your academic degree (excerpt, maximum 3 pages);
      • if no thesis in English available: any other 3-5 page piece of academic writing as an alternative;
      • if no academic writing in English available: write 3-5 pages abstract of an academic paper, including bibliography, in English.
        Please note we check application documents for plagiarism.
    6. 2 letters of recommendationfrom academic referees (if possible including the ranking position of the applicant); we prefer digital copies uploaded in VUnet, but referees may also mail their references directly to;
    7. copy of passport and copy of residence permit (if applicable);
    8. optional: course descriptions of relevant courses completed;
    9. optional: literature list or bibliography of relevant books and articles used during your studies).

      The admission board may ask for additional documentation at a later stage if this is deemed necessary for reviewing your application.
  4. If applicable to you: send English language test score to This may be sent at a later stage (see Language requirements for details).
  5. As soon as all required application documents have been received, your dossier is submitted to the Admissions board. Please note that your dossier must be complete on the application deadline! Incomplete dossiers cannot be taken into consideration.
  6. The Admissions Board decides monthly on applications.
  7. If you have been admitted: finalize your application.

You will receive practical information regarding the start of the programme during the summer.

Overview International Business Law: Finance and Behavior .

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Economics, Business and Law

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less