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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 linguistic subjects, including the study of a modern language of your choice. Alongside the core programme, you specialise by selecting a minor or electives in one or more of your fields of interest. You can also decide to study abroad for a semester or do an internship.

Covid-19 measures: education in 2020-2021

In the academic year 2020–2021, it is guaranteed that first-year Linguistics students can take our first semester online. We intend to organize some community-building events for first-year students that are physically present, but their presence in Amsterdam is not required to finish the first semester. Decisions about the second semester lie in the future, but as our programme is open to international students, we strive to continue to accommodate students who have to stay abroad. At the same time we will slowly start, whenever possible to offer additional on-campus teaching events, such as one-on-one exams in language proficiency courses, for those students who are in Amsterdam, while providing online near-equivalents for those who are not.

  • The first year

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

    • You will take a course (Introduction to Linguistics) 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), which we call your “Language X”. You will use the experience of acquiring this language in the theoretical courses where you will be asked to come up with certain phenomena in your language. For your Language X, you can choose from Arabic, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Romanian, or Sign Language of The Netherlands (NGT), and if you master Dutch, you can also opt for Classical Greek, 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 year

    In the second and third years of the programme, you deepen your knowledge of linguistics and of subjects of your own choice.

    • You will take “structural” courses that teach you about the structure of sounds (Phonology), phrases and sentences (Syntax), and meaning (Semantics & Pragmatics), from various theoretical points of view, culminating in the Linguistic Theories project.
    • You will take additional courses on the acquisition and processing of language (First Language Acquisition, Second Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Language & Speech Disorders), learning how to collect linguistic data and how such data can contribute to theories of linguistics and to theories of acquisition and processing.
    • You will take courses on methodology (Philosophy of Science, Speech Processing, Research Methods & Statistics).
    • In the third year of the programme, you can tailor your own curriculum by specialising in a minor in a field related to linguistics or in a completely different field of study, or by choosing electives in a wide range of subjects, perhaps including courses that deepen your knowledge of the Language X that you chose in the first year.
    • 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.

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).