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Bachelor Linguistics

Study programme

In the Bachelor's Linguistics you will explore both the structure and acquisition of language, as well as the diversity of language around the world. The programme is taught in English.

Programme structure

In this programme you are introduced to a number of mandatory subjects, including the study of a modern language of your choice. You can either opt to dedicate your studies to general linguistic subjects or continue to study the language of your choice in combination with a smaller range of linguistics courses. Alongside the core programme, you specialise by selecting a minor in one of your fields of interest. You can also decide to study abroad for a semester or do an internship.

Language X

During your first year, you study a language that is not familiar to you. We call this language 'Language X'. You can choose to study Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Romanian, or Sign Language of The Netherlands (NGT). Speakers of Dutch may also opt for one of the following languages: Classical Greek, Danish, French, Latin, Modern Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, or Swedish.

Linguistics + Language X

For some languages you have the option of continuing to study them in your second and third year as well, in a so-called Linguistics + Language X track. This option exists for Czech, Dutch, Italian and Polish. Speakers of Dutch may also opt for a Linguistics + Language X track in one of the following languages: Danish, French, Classical Greek, Latin, Modern Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, and Swedish.

  • The first year

    The first year of the programme offers a broad, general overview of the entire discipline of Linguistics.

    • You will take theoretical courses in which you learn all of the basic concepts that are relevant to a linguist.
    • You will become familiar with Phonetics, Morphology and Sociolinguistics.
    • You will choose a modern language (other than English). The experience of acquiring this language will be used in the theoretical courses where you will be asked to come up with certain phenomena in your language.
    • You can choose to study Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Romanian, or Sign Language of The Netherlands (NGT).
    • Dutch native speakers may also opt for one of the following languages: Classical Greek, Danish, French, Latin, Modern Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, or Swedish.
    • You will develop specific academic skills, such as academic writing and conducting independent research.
    • At the end of the first year, you will conduct a small research project exploring the acquisition of a new language.
  • The second and third years

    In the second and third years of the programme, you have two options: dedicate your studies to general linguistic subjects or continue studying the language of your choice in combination with a smaller range of courses in linguistics.

    • You will take ‘structural’ courses that teach you about the structure of sounds (Phonology), phrases and sentences (Syntax), meaning (Semantics and Pragmatics) from various theoretical points of view.
    • You will take courses such as Philosophy of Science, Second Language Acquisition and Speech Processing.
    • You can choose to take additional courses on the acquisition and processing of language, learning how to collect linguistic data and how such data can contribute to both linguistics and acquisition and processing theories.
    • In the third year of the programme, you can tailor your own curriculum by specialising in a minor related to your language of choice, opting for a minor in a completely different field of study or choosing electives in a wide range of subjects.
    • You also have the opportunity to use your elective credits to study abroad or do an internship for a semester.
    • You will conclude the programme by writing a Bachelor’s thesis, your first major piece of independent research.
  • Internship

    You can enrich your study programme by doing an internship. This will allow you to gain experience at an organisation working in the field of linguistics and gives you an impression of the job opportunities they offer. 

    You can also opt to do a research-oriented internship with a teacher of the programme or another linguist at the UvA. This gives you an idea of what is like to be linguistics researcher.

  • Learning and assessment

    Linguistics is a three-year Bachelor’s degree of 180 ECTS credits. An academic year accounts for 60 credits that are spread across two semesters, with each comprising two 8-week blocks and a 4-week block.

    As a Bachelor’s student, you are expected to spend an average of 42 hours a week on your studies.

    • In your first year, 12 to 15 of those hours will be spent attending lectures, while in your second and third years you will have approximately 10 to 12 hours of class.
    • The remaining time will be spent on self-study, preparing for lectures and seminars, completing coursework and assignments, as well as exams.
    • You will attend both lectures and small group seminars.
    • Lectures generally introduce the main topics of the course, discussing and explaining course readings and literature.
    • In the seminars, you will work closely with your fellow students, collaborating on assignments, presentations and talks.
    • You will be tested by means of written and oral exams, presentations, essays, reports and assignments.
    • Your final grade for a course is determined by the results you receive for each of these.
  • Honours programme

    Highly-motivated students may qualify to take part in a selective honours programme. This programme accounts for an additional 30 ECTS and will help familiarise you with various other aspects of academic research and prepare you for a subsequent Research Master's degree.

Detailed course information

Visit the UvA Course Catalogue for a detailed overview of the Linguistics programme, including which courses you can take and when they take place.

UvA Course Catalogue: Linguistics

Accreditation and academic title

The quality of this programme has been positively accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This means that after successful completion of the programme you will receive a recognised Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and the title Bachelor of Arts (BA).

Read more about accreditation