Become proficient in the major language of research and business


Are you planning to write your BA thesis in English or follow an English-taught MA programme and do you want to improve your English writing and speaking skills? Are you interested in studying what characterizes the English in your area of expertise? 

Adopting a linguistic and sociolinguistic perspective, the minor in English gives you an understanding of the role English plays in the Netherlands and in the wider world today, and how the language is changing to meet new demands.

Global English: 
This course takes a linguistic and sociolinguistic look at the world-wide spread of the English language. We examine the different varieties of English that are used around the world and study the characteristics of English as spoken by Dutch users.

Grammar and Writing 1: 
This course provides an introduction to the most important aspects of formal written English, in particular academic text, and gives you an idea of English textual conventions. It also provides a treatment of the most important aspects of English grammar. 

Pronunciation and Presentation:
You conduct an analysis of your own pronunciation and learn more about the role of a non-native accent in an international setting. You also receive training in pronunciation, where we pay attention to prosodic features and conversational patterns. 

Academic Writing 2:
You further develop your own writing skills and learn more about features of good texts, focusing on coherence, clarity and cohesion. We also examine differences between disciplines and you will conduct a small analysis of the language in your field. 

English in my own Discipline: 
In the final course, you apply all skills and theory and conduct an analysis of linguistic features of your own choice in texts from your own discipline. You give a presentation about your analysis and write a research report.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

Admission and registration


The Minor in English is open to students from all BA majors who are interested in how language, specifically English, works in complex communicative situations. It focuses on English as the international language of science, but also as the lingua franca in the professional world of work. Students in the BA programme CIW specializing in English and International Communication are excluded from participating. 

HBO students may be admitted to the minor on condition that (a) they have adequate experience within their programme with writing academic papers or research reports, either in English or Dutch, and (b) they have an adequate level of English (at least VWO). HBO students are advised to contact the minor programme coordinator concerning these matters.

You can also separately follow any of the courses “Minor English: Grammar and Writing 1”, “Global English”, “Pronunciation and Presentation”. 

Foreign students: see the website Semester in Amsterdam.


The minor in English is a university minor, which means you do not need permission from your own Exam Committee. For information about the application procedure, please visit this page

Please note that you need to contact the Onderwijsbureau of the Faculty of Humanities (FGW) to register for the course Global English of the minor (onderwijsbureau.fgw@vu.nl).

Questions about the programme

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact
Dr. Gea Dreschler | g.a.dreschler@vu.nl

Skills for employment market

In this minor you will develop your own English language skills to a level which guarantees a solid basis for graduate studies and work in a professional environment, especially in an international setting. The type of approach used throughout the courses means you will become more aware of the role of language in different contexts and communicative situations. This will allow you to quickly analyse the type of communication in new contexts, for instance quickly understanding the aim and structure of a new type of text which you are asked to write in your MA or a job after you graduate, or its style and tone.

Related master's programmes

  • This minor is a good preparation for all English master programmes.

Samenvatting English




1 semester (30 EC)


1 september


Talen en Communicatie