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Liberal Arts and Sciences (Amsterdam University College)

Academic Core

The Academic Core of the AUC programme is designed to ensure that you develop strong academic skills in a number of essential areas, and to prepare you for your choice of theme and major. You will take Academic Core courses across all three years of your programme, ensuring an ongoing development of your skills.

Looking back, one of the most valuable features of the AUC programme are the academic writing courses. Due to the knowledge I acquired during AUC’s writing courses, I have been asked to give feedback on essays and to review papers of my fellow master students, showing me that I indeed gained something during my education which others did not. Sofija Vučković (Class of 2020)

Components of the Academic Core

The first component of the AUC programme that students complete are the required courses of the Academic Core. The Academic Core consists of various courses that provide a foundation for the rest of the programme and include methodology courses, foreign language courses, Big Questions courses, academic writing courses and the Global Identity Experience. Some of these courses are required for all students, while others vary per major. 

Courses required for all students

  1. Academic Writing Skills
  2. Logic, Information, Argumentation
  3. The Global Identity Experience
  4. Advanced Research Writing
  5. One 'Big Questions' course
  6. Two consecutive levels of a single language
  7. Community Project or Internship (CPI)
  • Big Questions

    A special feature of the Academic Core is the Big Questions courses. These courses approach big questions in science and society by examining theories and methods from the sciences, social sciences and humanities. By taking a Big Questions course, you will transcend your major and develop interdisciplinary skills, such as the ability to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams and to recognise and integrate different disciplinary perspectives. Such interdisciplinary skills are crucial for understanding and solving 21st-century problems. You can choose from:

  • Logic, Information Flow and Argumentation

    Scientific reasoning is an essential skill when debating ‘big questions' and it is the focus of this course. During Logic, Information Flow and Argumentation, you analyse and discuss patterns of reasoning, and the validity of reasoning and information flow in a variety of contexts. This course develops analytical skills that will be of use to all AUC students, regardless of their major, which is why it is a mandatory course for all first-year students.

  • Academic Writing Skills and Advanced Research Writing

    You are expected to enter AUC with a high level of written and spoken English, but more specific training is incorporated in the Academic Core in order to help all students write texts at an academic level, give presentations and participate in academic debates. After the first semester, you will also follow a more advanced course that will help prepare you for your Capstone (Bachelor's thesis). All AUC students, including native English speakers, will take both courses.

  • Languages

    In today's globalised world, language skills are essential. It is for this reason that you are expected to reach a certain level of competence in a language (other than English and your native language) during your studies at AUC. The current options include: 

    • Dutch (Levels A1-B2.2)
    • French (Levels A1-B2.2)
    • German (Levels A1-B2.2)
    • Spanish (Levels A1-B2.2)
    • Chinese (Mandarin) (Levels I, II, III)
    • Arabic (Levels I, II, III)
  • The Global Identity Experience

    AUC is an international institution, located in a cosmopolitan city, and seeks to prepare its graduates for a globalised world. This course is designed to open your eyes to issues in an international, multicultural context and to equip you with intercultural (communication) skills. Part of the course involves a group research project in the city of Amsterdam.

More information on the Academic Core

You can find more information on the Academic Core in section 2.6 of the Academic Standards and Procedures.