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Meet the language requirements

For English-taught Master's programmes

Students applying for an English-taught Master's programme must show proof of the language requirements of the Graduate School of Humanities. You can meet the requirements either automatically (based on your previous education), by taking an officially approved language test or by being granted a formal exemption.

Applying for a Dutch-taught programme? Check the Dutch language requirements.

Automatic exemptions

You automatically meet the English language requirements if you possess one of the following diplomas before the start of the programme on 1 September. In this case you do not need to upload an English language score report in your MyInfo application.

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited Dutch academic university;
  • English-taught Bachelor's degree from an accredited Dutch university of applied sciences (hbo). Please provide proof of this as described in the final bullet below;
  • Dutch-taught Bachelor's degree from an accredited Dutch university of applied sciences (hbo) combined with either a havo diploma with at least a grade of 8 for Engels, or a vwo diploma;
  • International Baccalaureate diploma taught in English;
  • Bachelor's degree from a university located in the USA, Canada (with the exception of Québec), the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.
    If you completed a Master's degree in one of these countries but obtained your Bachelor's degree elsewhere, you are not automatically exempt.
    If you have completed a double degree at Bachelor’s level which was only partly completed in one of the above-mentioned countries, please submit a formal exemption request (see below).
  • Bachelor's degree, if fully taught in English and you provide proof of this in one of the following ways:
    - either your official transcript of records states that the entire programme was taught in English;
    - or you must provide a statement from your home institution that the entire programme was taught in English. This declaration needs to contain the university seal and needs to be signed by a registrar from your home institution.
    Upload this document in your MyInfo application.
    Personal statements cannot be accepted.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for an automatic exemption with the degree, transcript or statement that you have, please contact the Admissions Office. Please attach the relevant document to your request.

English language test requirements

Unless your previous education exempts you (see above), you will need to submit a copy of your official English language proficiency certificate as part of your application in MyInfo before the application deadline.

The Graduate School of Humanities only accepts English language tests taken within the past two years, counted from the moment that you submit your application. English language test results that do not meet our requirements will not be considered, and will result in a rejection of your application. All certificates will be verified with the issuing exam centre.

English language tests and minimum scores we accept:

  • IELTS Academic

    Minimum scores: 7 overall, minimum 6.5 on each sub-score

  • TOEFL iBT

    Minimum overall score: 100, with a minimum score of:

    • Reading: 24
    • Listening: 22
    • Speaking: 25
    • Writing: 24

    TOEFL iBT Home Edition and TOEFL MyBest scores are not accepted.

    The TOEFL institution code for the University of Amsterdam is 9011. Students will need to enter this code on their answer sheets when taking the exam. If asked for a department code, please indicate none, or 99 (any department not listed).

  • Cambridge International Examinations

    Minimum of C1 Advanced (CAE) with a minimum score of 190

    If you have taken a Cambridge Exam, please also include the secret code and Cambridge ID in your MyInfo application for verification purposes.

Formal exemption request

If you have serious reasons to believe you should be exempted from taking an official English language test, you will need to file a strongly motivated, official exemption request at the Graduate School of Humanities’ Examinations Board. 

Follow the steps below if you wish to officially request an exemption for the English language requirement of the Graduate School of Humanities:

  1. Officially request exemption at least 1 month before the official Master’s programme application deadline, to allow the Examinations Board enough time to review your request.
    Master's programme deadline: 1 March 2023
    Exemption request deadline: 1 February 2023

    Master's programme deadline: 15 May 2023
    Exemption request deadline: 15 April 2023
  2. Upload sufficient documentation to support your case in the exemption request, see below for examples of such documentation.*
    If you fail to upload sufficient supporting documentation, your request for exemption will be denied.  
  3. DO NOT submit an incomplete (i.e. lacking proof of English language proficiency) Master’s application. Incomplete Master’s applications are rejected.
    If you are granted a waiver for the English language proficiency requirements, submit your MyInfo application including proof of your granted waiver before the Master’s application deadline.

Exemption requests may take up to 4 weeks to process. Please note that:

  • It is the student’s own responsibility to arrange a timely exemption request. Submitting an exemption request outside of the above-mentioned deadlines, or submitting an exemption request with insufficient supporting documentation is at your own risk, and might result in your waiver request being denied and your Master’s application dossier not being processed.
  • If you are applying for more than one programme, one exemption request is valid for all programmes at the Graduate School of Humanities.
  • If you have taken multiple English language tests, and on each of these tests you do not meet the required scores for different components, this will not be considered as sufficient basis to receive an exemption.
  • If you are granted a formal exemption, this will remain valid for two years for Master’s applications at the Graduate School of Humanities.
  • Only complete Master’s applications will be taken into consideration. Failure to submit a complete application (including proof of sufficient language proficiency, such as an approved exemption request) will result in a rejection of your Master’s application.
  • *Evidence that may support your exemption request includes but is not limited to:
    • transcripts and diplomas of your higher education, showing that your programme was (mostly) taught in English
    • High school diploma that includes 6+ years of English
    • Other official English language tests
    • Personal statements of a teacher or colleague are not accepted.