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In just two semesters, this minor will teach you the basics of Sign Language of the Netherlands (Nederlandse Gebarentaal, NGT), a visual-spatial language. You do not only acquire roughly 600 different signs in each language proficiency course, you also learn the grammatical rules that are necessary to combine them in simple sentences. You gain insight into some of the unique properties that characterize sign languages: e.g., the building blocks of signs and the grammatical use of pointing signs and facial expressions. Of course, you will also learn how to communicate in a visual language, e.g., by exploring ways to attract someone’s attention and the role of eye contact in signed interactions. Finally, you also learn how to transcribe signed utterances.

Doing a language minor takes a considerable amount of effort. Beside attending the intensive lectures, you will also spend ample time on self-study and on the preparation of tests related to vocabulary and grammar, even if you have prior knowledge of the language.

This minor is offered by the Faculty of Humanities. The faculty’s minors consist of 30 ECTS credits and earn you a second qualification that will be listed on the transcript accompanying your degree certificate. 

Study schedule

  • Language Proficiency Sign Language of the Netherlands 1 
    Period 1
  • Language Proficiency Sign Language of the Netherlands 2
    Period 2
  • Transcription of Sign Languages
    Period 3
  • Language Proficiency Sign Language of the Netherlands 3
    Period 4
  • Language Proficiency Sign Language of the Netherlands 4
    Period 5
Course Catalogue: Minor Sign Language of the Netherlands
Minor Sign Language of the Netherlands

Master's programme

This minor may serve as a good preparation for academic Bachelor’s students who want to apply for admission to a Master's programme in Linguistics, e.g. General Linguistics or Linguistics and Commununication (Research Master's). Always check the entry requirements on the Application and Admission page of the Master’s programme you are interested in.

Entry requirements

This minor is open for application to students who have obtained an academic first-year diploma or a positive Binding Study Advice from an academic Bachelor's programme. 

The minor is also open for application to students from a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO) who have completed their propaedeutic year. If you are an HBO student and if you are looking to do a Master's programme at the UvA, please check out our pre-Master's programmes, as completing a minor is not enough to grant you access to Master’s programmes. 

Important note: While knowledge of Dutch is not an entry requirement for this minor, knowledge of Dutch at (at least) A1 level, or willingness to learn some Dutch vocabulary, is strongly recommended, as Sign Language of the Netherlands makes frequent use of components that are based on spoken Dutch. Students who don’t know any Dutch should contact the minor coordinator (Dr Roland Pfau: r.pfau@uva.nl) before the first class.


The registration period for a minor in the academic year 2024-2025 will start on Tuesday 14 May at 8:00 and end on Monday 17 June at 13:00.

Facts & Figures
30 ECTS,
Language of instruction
Starts in
University Quarter