Master in Human Movement Sciences: Research Master


Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)

Are you fascinated by human movement and do you want to contribute to unravel its secrets? Do you want to advance your skills to provide answers to timely and urgent research questions? Are you interested in a career in research and development? Then the Research Master’s in Human Movement Sciences is the ideal programme for you!

The Research Master’s Human Movement Sciences is a two-year full-time programme that aims at integrating fundamental scientific research with relevant questions from clinical and sports practice. Grounded in the core themes of the Amsterdam Movement Sciences, the programme includes sport, rehabilitation, and regenerative medicine, with course topics stretching from molecular biology and neuroscience to exercise immunology and motor control. Apart from becoming well versed in these research domains, you will be trained in state-of-the-art research methods and advanced statistics.

  • Master: Human Movement Sciences
  • Specialization: Research

A career in science
After completing the Research Master’s, you will be all set to pursue a scientific career, either starting with a PhD position and entering an R&D environment. You will also be well equipped for other research-related positions.

The programme
The first year is dedicated to preparation for scientific research. The programme provides ample room for personalizing your own track, as we offer a variety of optional courses focusing on, for instance, sport psychology, biomechanics, (clinical) exercise physiology, muscle physiology, coordination dynamics, electromyography or time series analysis. You may specialize in sports or clinical issues, or on more fundamental aspects of human movement. Your second year is reserved for a research project of your own choice, in which you gain hands-on experience in all aspects of scientific research.

Study programme

The Research Master's is a two-year full-time programme that comprises a variety of obligatory and elective courses, as well as a considerable research project. You can customize your own profile by focusing on sport, health, or more fundamental aspects of human movement. This not only applies to the courses you select, but also to the topic of your research project.

Your possibilities to specialize in sport science range from courses in exercise and muscle physiology to biomechanics and sport psychology. This includes training in modelling human endurance performance and in biomechanical analyses of technical sports. You can also focus on the psychological factors that determine sport performance, or on the way in which muscle activation and muscle properties determine maximal neuromuscular output.

With a focus on health, you learn about the restoration of motor function within the context of rehabilitation, as well as the effects of aging on mobility. To appreciate the influences of various aspects of the movement system, these issues are addressed from a number of perspectives, including coordination dynamics, muscle physiology, and clinical exercise physiology. You will gain profound insight into the clinical problems associated with neurological diseases as well as degenerative diseases of the skeletal system, and into new possibilities for treatment.

Advanced fundamentals
You may strengthen your scientific basis by selecting a less applied courses. State-of-the-art knowledge about neurosciences, molecular biology, mechanobiology, intermuscular load sharing, or the coupling between perception and action provide a solid background for a subsequent specialization in your research project and in your future career. The same holds for our advanced methodological courses, such as time series analysis, electromyography, and 3D kinematics.

Extensive experience in high-quality research is indispensable for a career in research. Hence, a entire year is reserved for your research project(s). We aim for first-class projects that eventually culiminate in scientific publications.. This may be at the Vrije Universiteit or in collaboration with another institute anywhere in the world.

Structure of the programme
The Research Master's is a two-year programme. Each year comprises 60 EC. The study load of most courses is 6 EC (deviations are indicated between brackets). The first year is dedicated to preparation for research. The programme comprises obligatory as well as optional courses. In addition, there are some possibilities to further attune the programme to your individual interests, for instance by including external courses. The second year is fully dedicated to a research internship of your own choice.

Career prospects

After completing the Research Master’s, you will be all set to pursue a scientific career, be that in the academia as PhD-candidate or in an R&D environment elsewhere. Thus far, about 85% of our alumni have taken up research positions. You will also be well equipped for other research-related positions, or a career as embedded scientist or knowledge broker in the fields of sports or health.

Students who decide not to embark on a scientific career after graduating, have good career prospects as well. For instance, in ICT, movement-related technology, teaching in higher education, or research-related coordination and management.

Why VU Amsterdam?

Small scale
As a student of Human Movement Sciences, you join a select department that values personal attention. Each year a maximum of 30 students are admitted to the Research Master’s programme. Although some of the optional courses involve larger groups, there is still plenty of room for in-depth discussions and lots of personal attention. A natural environment for inspiring interactions with lecturers and researchers. The active students’ club further enhances the warm and welcoming social climate.

With 40 years of experience, the Department of Human Movement Sciences has produced ground-breaking ideas and innovations, such as the ‘clap skate’ that revolutionized speed skating and the ‘C-mill’, an instrumented treadmill for training and evaluating gait patterns in rehabilitation. We offer a natural environment for inspiring interaction with lecturers and researchers.

For more information on current research see Research Institute MOVE.

A focus on scientific research
The Research Master's in Human Movement Sciences digs deep to prepare you for top-level scientific research. The programme stretches from molecular biology and tissue engineering to neurosciences and human motor behaviour. You will become acquainted with the latest theoretical developments and learn to apply advanced research methods. Teaching and research go hand in hand, as most lecturers are researchers associated with the MOVE Research Institute.

Research internship
A full year is reserved for your Research Internship, in which you will apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills in a scientific research project. Because the research topic strongly characterizes your profile, we will help you find a project that fits your interests, either at our department or with another leading institute anywhere in the world.

Enjoy your time in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an inspirational and vibrant city that provides plenty of opportunities for relaxing, making friends, and expanding your horizons. Living in this charming city will give an extra boost to your experiences as an international student.

International studentsAdmission requirements

Entry requirements
In order to gain admission to the Master’s programme Human Movement Sciences, you need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 EC or equivalent.

The general requirements for admission to the Research Master's programme are:

  • A relevant Bachelor's degree, including a Bachelor research project.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Strong interest in and aptitude for research, demonstrated during your Bachelor’s.
  • Proficiency in English

Please read the specifications of the admission requirements.

What if you do not meet all admission criteria?

If you do not meet the admission criteria, the Admission board may decide that you are admissible after you have eliminated your deficiencies. These deficiencies depend on your educational background. Please contact us a.s.a.p. to find out whether this is the case for you, and which options you have to become admissible before the start of the new term.

English language proficiency
The admission board wants to stress the intensity of the programme: reading scientific articles and writing papers will be a key part, all in a very high pace. Your English language skills, both oral and written, are extremely important in this programme. As you will have to communicate frequently with your fellow students and you will be working with and for international companies.

VU Amsterdam requires all applicants who have not completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia to take an English language test and to submit their score as part of their application. You can apply online for the Master's programme without having the English test results yet. We do advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the programme:

IELTS (academic): 6,5


  • Paper based test 580
  • Internet based test 92-93

Cambridge English

  • Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C
  • Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers the TOEFL ITP English-language proficiency test. The test is offered by the VU Taalloket. You can find more information and register for this test at


If you have read the admission requirements and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

The deadlines for application are as follows:

  • 1 April : Students who need a study visa and/or a residence permit.
  • 1 June : Non-EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need a study visa/residence permit.
  • 1 June : EU/EEA or Dutch students with an international degree.

    Step 1: Prepare documents and apply online
    Please prepare the following documents and arrange the payment of the application fee, a non-refundable €100 application fee applies. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

    • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Motivation letter including the track of your choice. Please use this form
    • Transcript of records, including grades and credits (ECTS)
    • Description of courses (and associated literature) that are relevant for Human Movement Sciences. Please use this form

    After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. In Studielink you can apply for the Research Master Human Movement Sciences and in VUnet you can submit your documents and pay the application fee. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail.

    Step 2: Await decision on admission
    The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

    Step 3: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
    Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation What to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Overview Human Movement Sciences: Research master

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: 15 July for Dutch students and EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. 1 April for Non-EU/EEA students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Health and movement
Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 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