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How to apply

Essay, study plan, and financial plan

How to apply to PPLE

Successful candidates who pass the first round of the admissions procedure, will be invited for the second round and are asked to write an essay. The essay can be written on your own laptop or pc, all you need is an internet connection. You will also be asked to send in a study plan and financial plan.

If you are selected for the next round, you will be asked to submit your written assignments in a four day time slot. You will receive a link and further information via email, as well as the templates that you are required to use for the essay, study plan, and financial plan. Please note: you will not receive these templates until you have been selected to the second round. 

For Early Bird candidates the second round will take place late January 2020.

For Regular candidates the second round will take place in the beginning of April 2020.

For the exact dates, check out our Key Dates.

The study plan and financial plan need to be written beforehand, but submitted together with the essay using the template provided via email. Please ensure that you download this template well in advance. Incomplete submissions, documents in a different format or template, or submissions received after the deadline will not be taken into consideration.


The essay is a written piece of work on a subject that is related to the PPLE programme, yet does not require any specialised knowledge. The essay is used for assessing your analytical skills as well as English writing skills. Writing the essay is a required part of the admissions procedure.

You will have to write the essay within four days, so please check the relevant time line. The specific time deadline will be sent to you via email.  You have four full days to complete the assignment. This is ample time as most candidates spend approximately 4-8 hours on the assignment.


You will be given a question to prompt you. Through this essay, you have the opportunity to show that you can communicate effectively in writing by presenting your ideas clearly, concisely, and accurately. You should start by planning the essay carefully, deciding the main points which you would like to state in the limited time available, and how to organise your essay in order to explain and convey your ideas clearly. The word count should be 500 - 1000 words.

You can use the essay to demonstrate your interest in issues that lie on the interface and intersection of politics, psychology, law, and economics. Your essay should explain how these fields, and in particular the interdisciplinarity aspect, are related to the question.

It is important that what you write is relevant to the question, and that you address it directly. This is not a test of knowledge, nor is it assumed that the questions have right or wrong answers. If the question requires you to make judgements and express your opinions, try to provide coherent arguments to support your views, and consider the merits of possible counter arguments. If you use or quote any sources, either directly or indirectly, please include appropriate references (any citation style is acceptable). Your essay will be judged on both your language skills and your analytical skills.

You will be presented with a question via email at the beginning of the four day time slot. An example of such a question is:

Should Western multinationals be liable for violations of labour standards carried out by their subcontractors in Third World countries (minimum wages, maximum working hours, workplace security standards, etc.)?

We ask you to use the format that will be provided to you.


The essay, study plan and financial plan will be evaluated by a PPLE staff member. Based on the quality of all three components as well as your performance in the previous round, the PPLE Selection Committee will decide whether you will be invited for a skype interview.

Plagiarism check

Please note that it is standard policy of the University of Amsterdam to check written assignments for plagiarism. If this is detected in your essay you will be not be allowed to proceed in the selection procedure.