University of Amsterdam logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 8.34k / 1
  • Foreign: $ 9.18k / 1
  • Deadline:
  • 1 Tháng tư
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 67pts.
  • Duration:
  • 3 years

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    In the Bachelor’s in Sign Language Linguistics, you will explore sign languages, their structure, acquisition and use from the perspective of a linguist, while learning at least one sign language yourself.

    The world of Sign Language

    Sign languages from all around the world demonstrate interesting similarities, but they are not mutually intelligible and differ from each other in significant ways. Interestingly, many of these differences reflect variation also attested in spoken languages. The acquisition of sign languages also shows interesting similarities and differences with the acquisition of spoken languages. The Bachelor's in Sign Language Linguistics teaches you general linguistic principles and methods and offers you a wide range of courses in sign languages that address these fascinating topics.

    Is Sign Language Linguistics right for you?

    Sign Language Linguistics is the ideal programme for you if:

    • You are broadly interested in language and sign language specifically.
    • You enjoy solving puzzles and problems that require a systematic approach.
    • You want to understand how sign languages resemble or differ from spoken languages as well as each other.
    • You’d like to learn a sign language yourself.
    • You would like to know how sign languages are acquired, and how they function in society.

    Why study Sign Language Linguistics at the UvA?

    Sign Language Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam offers you:

    • The unique opportunity to study sign language linguistics: the University of Amsterdam is one of the few universities in the world to offer a fully-fledged programme with a focus on the structure, acquisition, and use of visual-gestural languages.
    • A world-class education: the Linguistics programme ranks the highest in Continental Europe and 17th overall in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.
    • A chance to learn and study Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). If you have acquired another sign language elsewhere, you can bring your knowledge of it into the programme.
    • A broad programme: Sign Language Linguistics programme is a track of the Linguistics programme, which is a very broad programme that familiarises you with all subfield of linguistics.
    • Amsterdam has a thriving community of signers of NGT with many social activities.
    • After completing your Bachelor's, you can apply to one of the UvA's many Master's programmes.

    Sign Language Linguistics

    In this programme, you will explore sign languages, their structure, acquisition and use from the perspective of a linguist, while learning at least one sign language yourself. The programme is taught in English.

    Programme structure

    Sign Language 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.

    • In the first year of the programme, you will be introduced to the basic concepts of linguistics and how these can be applied to sign language linguistics, while learning Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT).
    • In the second year, you will continue your study of NGT as well as examining the key research traditions of linguistics as a whole and sign language linguistics in particular.
    • In the third year, you will 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.

    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.
    • In the second block, you will follow an introduction to sign language linguistics, examining how linguistics concepts can be applied to the specific field.
    • You will be trained in the transcription and glossing of sign languages, and take courses in Morphology and Sociolinguistics.
    • You will study Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), learning the language up to the level of an independent signer – approximately B1 of the European Frame of Reference.
    • You will develop specific academic skills, such as academic writing and conducting independent research, as well as how to transcribe sign language data, record signers, segment signs, words and sentences into their component parts.
    • 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

    The second and third years of the programme build on the foundations laid in the first year, allowing you to specialise in the various aspects of sign language linguistics, while conducting your own linguistic experiments.

    • You will study the phonology and morphology of sign languages, the semantics and pragmatics of language, the lexicon and syntax of sign languages, as well as varying linguistic theories.
    • You will explore psycholinguistics in the context of sign languages.
    • You will take courses such as Philosophy of Science and Second Language Acquisition.
    • In the third year of the programme, you can tailor your own curriculum by specialising in a minor related to linguistics, 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.


    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. 

    Students in sign language linguistics have previously found internships at:

    • Institutions that develop strategies and materials for the acquisition of sign languages;
    • The Dutch Sign Center (Nederlands Gebarencentrum); 
    • Hospitals with a clinical linguistics department.

    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

    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 8 to 10 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.


    Prior education

    • Studying with a foreign diploma at the University of Amsterdam means that a student's preparatory education must be equivalent to the Dutch VWO diploma, with English included in the final examination.
    • The starting level of a regular study programme at Dutch universities is comparable to that of other European countries, which is usually one or two years higher than in most countries outside of Europe.
    • A student's diploma or certificate from prior education will be compared with the list of country qualifications that has been drawn up by the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Nuffic).

    Required documents

    In this application you will need to indicate your previous education and upload all of the required documents:

    • Final secondary school/higher education diplomas and grade lists obtained;
    • Proof of recent results (if you are still attending a programme);
    • Official translations in English or Dutch if the diploma and/or transcripts are not already in English, Dutch or German;
    • A sufficient English test result, if required and already available. If your results are insufficient, do not upload this test, but send another one at a later date;
    • A curriculum vitae;
    • UvA Matching form.

    What is it?

    UvA Matching for international students is an introduction to the Bachelor’s programme for which you have applied. It is designed to help you assess whether you have chosen the right programme, through a combination of online activities such as assignments, reading course literature and/or making a test. The activities may differ per programme.

    Once you have completed these activities, you will receive personal advice based on your test results. This will help you determine whether the Bachelor’s programme matches your interests and capabilities and whether you have the motivation and study skills to start the programme in September.

    After submitting your enrolment application in Studielink you will receive more information on UvA Matching for international students.

    English language requirements

    All our international programmes are conducted in English, therefore, applicants must show their ability to write and speak in English on an academic level. Students with a Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university and students who successfully finished a full academic programme at an esteemed institute in one of the following countries are exempt: UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    Please note we only accept the TOEFL Test, the test of the International English Language Testing Service (Academic IELTS) or a Cambridge Examination Score. For Non-EU/EEA students the required English test result should be received on or before 1 February in the year of application by the International Team at the Faculty of Science. If this in any case is not possible, contact the International Team first, before applying. For EU/EEA students the deadline of submitting the test results is 1 July.

    TOEFL Test

    The minimum scores required on the TOEFL Test are:

    • Internet-based test (iBT): 92 with a minimum of 20 on each subject

    • Artificial Intelligence, Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Information Studies: 98, with a minimum of 22 for reading and listining and 24 for writing and speaking
    • Software Engineering: 98 with a minimum of 22 on each subject

    Please note the TOEFL-code for the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam is: 8628. 

     IELTS Test (only Academic IELTS is accepted)

    • Minimum score 6.5, at least 6.0 on sub-scores (listening/reading/writing/speaking). 


    • Artificial Intelligence,  Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Information Studies> minimum score 7.0, sub-scores on writing and speaking at least 7.0, sub-scores on listening and reading at least 6.5 
    • Software Engineering > minimum score 7.0, at least 6.5 on each sub-score (listening/reading/writing/speaking)
    • The UvA offers the IELTS test for free to current UvA students to assess their English language proficiency.    

    Cambridge Examination Score

    A Cambridge Examination Score with a minimum test result of C1 Advanced (CAE) A or B will also be accepted. For the C2 Proficiency test (CPE) a minimal score of C is required.

    Nuffic Certificate for Chinese students

    Chinese applicants are required to take an IELTS test or the TOEFL (Internet-based test only). These are the only two tests accepted by the Nuffic, which provides certificates to all Chinese students who wish to study in the Netherlands.

    Please note there are some differences between the TOEFL and IELTS test. Available practice material, test dates, prices and locations differ per country.

    Study costs

    In addition to your tuition fees, you will need to include a number of other study costs in your budget. Think of books, stationary, excursions, a laptop or other equipment. These costs vary per programme, but academic books and study materials will usually cost you between €50-100 per month.

    Living costs

    Keep in mind that living in Amsterdam also includes costs such as accommodation, food and public transport.

    Holland Scholarship (HS)

    For: students from outside the European Union (EU)
    Amount: €5,000
    Deadline: 1 April

    Application procedure

    If you are applying for a Humanities Bachelor's programme and would also like to apply for the Holland Scholarship, you can submit your application in the form below. As part of your application you will need to include the following documents (combined in one PDF):

    • CV including extracurricular activities, work and study experience;
    • transcript of your academic record from secondary and higher education;
    • motivational letter of +/- 500 words in which you explain your reasons for applying for the Holland Scholarship;
    • two reference letters.

    Please note that you can only submit the form if you have already applied for one of the Humanities Bachelor's programmes in Studielink.

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