Become proficient in the major language of research and business


Do you want to improve your English writing and speaking skills, for instance because you are planning to write your Bachelor’s thesis in English or want to follow an English-taught Master’s degree programme? Are you interested in studying what characterizes the English in your area of expertise? Would you like to know how English has become a global language?

The minor English adopts a linguistic and sociolinguistic perspective, which means that we will not only train you to become a more confident speaker and writer of English, but you will also gain insight into how language works, what role English plays in the wider world today, and what the unique properties are of English as the language of research and business.

Global English
In this course we discuss factors in the global spread of English. We examine different varieties of English that are used around the world, and we consider linguistic and social consequences of the use of English as global language.

Minor English: 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.

Minor English: Pronunciation and Presentation
Your English pronunciation will be assessed and you will train English pronunciation features according to personal goals that we have set at the beginning of the course. You will also practise giving a presentation in English.

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

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

The minor English is open to students from all Bachelor’s programmes 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 from the Bachelor’s programme CIW/CIS, specializing in English and International Communication, are excluded from participating.

HBO students may be admitted to the minor on condition that they have:

  • adequate experience within their programme with writing academic papers or research reports, either in English or Dutch;
  • 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 English is a university minor, which means you do not need permission from your own Exam Committee. 

More information about Admission and Registration (Dutch: Aanmelden voor een minor).

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

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact:

Dr Gea Dreschler
E: g.a.dreschler@vu.nl

Skills for the job 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, or its style and tone.

Related master's programmes

This minor is a good preparation for all English Master's programmes.

Samenvatting English




1 Semester (30 EC)


September 1st


Talen en Communicatie