English Language and Culture
In general, three types of people tend to follow the English Language and Culture minor:
- You love English and want to immerse yourself in the culture and language during your minor;
- You need English for your future studies or work and you want to take this opportunity to improve your language skills;
- You want proof of your English language abilities to include on your CV.
The minor caters for students with a variety of language levels, from B1 to C1; the course assignments have been designed to ensure that everyone who starts the minor will be challenged to improve their English language skills. We also differentiate by allocating students to groups at the beginning of the minor according to their language level and give students the opportunity to design parts of their own learning process.
We live in an increasingly international community where many people with whom we come into contact, do not have Dutch as their first language. An ability to communicate effectively in an international language has consequently become essential for success on a professional, but also personal, level. English is an obvious choice of language for such communication and an excellent command of this language can enhance your professional chances. With five courses and three electives, our English Language and Culture minor gives you a solid foundation.
Your level of English is the starting point for the minor. Before you start taking classes, you will be assessed, and together with your teachers you decide what you want and need to work on, in order to achieve the language level you are aiming for. Your teachers are native speakers or have spent a longer period of time in an English-speaking country.
This programme takes place over one semester (two periods) when taken full-time. It is offered twice per year, once in autumn and again in spring. The skills courses run over two blocks and the other courses will run over one block of ten weeks. You’ll study the following topics:
Autumn or spring semester:
Period A or C
Speaking Skills (runs over two blocks for 5 EC)
Writing Skills (runs over two block for 5 EC)
American Culture (5 EC)
Grammar and Basics (5 EC)
Period B or D
Speaking Skills (runs over two blocks for 5 EC)
Writing Skills (runs over two blocks for 5 EC)
British Culture* (5 EC)
Elective Course: Business English** (5 EC)
Elective Course: Cambridge Exam Training** (5 EC)
Elective Course: Short Stories** (5 EC)
* The British Culture course allows you the opportunity to visit Britain for a week (not financed by HU).
** For the last 5 credits, you may choose one of the elective courses which best suits your ambitions and development but note that there are limited spaces available on each course.
During this minor you will develop both your English language skills and your understanding of British and American culture. There are two courses specifically targeting the development of your productive language skills, namely Speaking Skills and Writing Skills. Both these courses are spread over the duration of the minor to allow you as much time for development as possible. These courses start by improving your confidence, fluency and flexibility. You will practice using the language in conversations and semi-formal writing assignments and progress to formal assignments, which also increase in complexity and sophistication as you learn more. The skills courses will cover a variety of topics within your field of interest, experience, and expertise, but will also challenge you to tackle less familiar, abstract topics and current events. You will receive feedback throughout the courses to identify areas for improvement and guide your development. Whilst actively working on writing and speaking you will also hone your reading and listening skills.
Alongside the language skills courses students also take Grammar and Basics, a course in period one which is aimed at supporting students to become better speakers and writers by teaching them spelling, grammar and pronunciation. It also provides a space to work in a targeted manner on the feedback you received during your speaking and writing classes. By taking a diagnostic test at the beginning of the block students can identify areas that need work and personalize their learning process by attending relevant learning pods. The course is finalized with a summative test which allows students to exhibit their mastery of English grammar.
There are also two culture courses. These are CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) courses where you will improve your English while learning about British and American culture. This also means that you are more prepared to communicate in an international context because you are more familiar with other cultures that you are likely to encounter. In period one students will learn about American history, politics and people. In period two students focus on contemporary British culture by conducting research on a key aspect of British culture. Moreover, this course gives students the opportunity to visit Britain for a week to research their chosen aspect of British culture (please note that this will not be financed by the Hogeschool Utrecht but the students themselves).
For the final 5EC students can choose a course that best suits their ambitions and development. We offer Business English, Short Stories and Cambridge Exam Training (please note that this is a training course for the Cambridge exam. Should you wish to take the official Cambridge exam you will need to pay for this yourself at an external institute). There are limited places available per elective module!
- The student can read, understand, write and speak English at CEFR level B2 or higher.
- The student has an understanding of British and American culture and can express their opinions about them cohesively in English.
Signed learning agreements for minors in the AB period can be sent to us until 25 June 2020. Learning agreements that are received after 25 June will not be processed.
Signed learning agreements for minors in the CD period can be sent to us until 19 November 2020. Learning agreements that are received after 19 November will not be processed.
Learning agreements are handled in order of entry. After HU has also signed the learning agreement, you are entitled to a place on the minor.
There are no formal entry requirements, such as qualifications. However, all classes are taught in English so you need to have at least HAVO level of English (CEF/ERK level B1) in order to successfully follow and complete the minor.
Period B or D - Speaking Skills - TEDx style conference
Period B or D - Writing Skills - Portfolio of written tasks
Period A or C - Grammar and Basics - Exam
Period A or C - American Culture - Presentation and reflection assignment
Period B or D - British Culture - Research project
Period B or D - Elective Course: Business English - Business Skills Portfolio
Period B or D - Elective Course: Cambridge Exam Training - Speaking Exam / Writing Exam
Period B or D - Elective Course: Short Stories - Short Story Analysis
During the minor you will work with recent articles and teachers may provide you with reading materials. No materials have to be bought beforehand.
This programme takes place over one semester when taken full-time, and is offered in both autumn (A/B) and spring (C/D).
Classes take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 8:30 and 18:00. You will receive the schedule a month in advance of the period commencing. However, please allow for last-minute changes due to teacher and classroom availability.
Please note that improving a language takes time and effort; although we only teach lessons on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this is a full time minor and in order to complete the assignments and reach your potential, you will need to put in 40 hours per week. We expect students to attend lessons at the HU to immerse themselves in the language as much as possible. You should participate actively during class and all classroom communication will be in English. We also expect students to complete listening, reading, speaking and writing assignments at home and come to class with these ready for feedback and discussion.