Graduate School of Social Sciences

English language proficiency

Graduate School of Social Sciences

English test requirement for all non-native speakers

All non-native speakers of English applying to English taught programmes of the GSSS (Dutch and foreign students) are required to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English. All students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions and undertake written work in English.

Applicants with a nationality other than American, Australian, British, Canadian, Irish or New Zealand - as proven by the identity papers submitted - are required to submit an English test score meeting the entry requirements as specified below.

An exception is made for:

  • Applicants who have obtained their BA degree in the USA, Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand.
  • Dutch students applying to an MSc programme or track offering the possibility to hand in written work in Dutch:
    • MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology
    • MSc Human Geography: all tracks
    • MSc Political Science: all tracks (excluding MSc Conflict Resolution and Governance)
    • MSc Sociology: general track only (excluding all other tracks)
    • MSc Urban and Regional Planning
  • UvA students of the College Sociale Wetenschappen (CSW) who completed the CSW course Academic English, or passed the entry examination for this course.
  • Students who have obtained or will obtain a fully English taught Bachelor's degree at one of the following institutes, with entry requirements or exit qualifications meeting the entry language proficiency requirements of our MSc programmes:
    • Amsterdam University College
    • Leiden University College
    • Roosevelt Academy Middelburg
    • Tilburg University
    • University College Maastricht
    • University College Utrecht

The students mentioned above do not have to submit an English test score. This exemption does not apply to other students or programmes.

All other applicants are expected to submit an English test score. Inability to do so will prevent enrolment.

Please note that we will need to receive the official English test score report one month before the start of the programme at the latest (so the test score does not have to be submitted before the application deadline).

The following tests are accepted:

  • TOEFL International - internet-based test (IBT)
  • TOEFL International - paper-based test (PBT)
  • IELTS Academic
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

Chinese students are strongly recommended to take either the IELTS test or the TOEFL IBT, as one of these tests is required for their visa application.

Way of submitting score
Official scores should be sent by regular mail directly by the testing organisation.

If you took the test more than two years ago, please make sure to add a scan or photocopy of your test score to your online application file and describe any relevant experience, showing that you have been practicing your English since the time the test was taken. The admissions committee will then decide whether a waiver of this requirement can be granted.

Please note that third year Bachelor students of the UvA can do the IELTS test free of charge. Please see below for more information about this free IELTS test.

International test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL)

There are two different types of TOEFL tests: the international test and the institutional test. Only international TOEFL test scores are accepted.


  • Paper-based test: minimum total score 600; minimum score on each component 57
    (components are: listening, structure/writing, and reading)
  • Internet-based test: minimum total score 95; minimum score on each component 22
    (components are: listening, structure/writing, reading, and speaking)

TOEFL reporting number
The TOEFL reporting number is 9678. Students will need to enter this code on their answer sheets when sitting for the examination. If asked for a department code, please indicate none, or 99 (any department not listed). When asked for a reporting number, do not use any other number than 9678. Otherwise your test score will get lost as the University of Amsterdam is quite decentralised.

The TOEFL test costs approximately € 225,-.

More information
For more information, please visit the TOEFL website.

International English language testing system (IELTS) Academic

The IELTS examination is organised by the British Council. Students can contact the nearest British Council centre in their home country to register for this test.

IELTS is available in two formats: Academic and General Training. The GSSS only accepts Academic test scores.

A minimum of 7.0 for the test, with a minimum of 6.5 for each test component. 

The IELTS test currently costs approximately € 185,-. The University of Amsterdam offers its third year bachelor students the IELTS test free of charge.

More information
For more information, students in the Netherlands can contact the British Language Training Centre (BLTC).

Students in the rest of the world can contact The British Council.

Cambridge international examinations

Students can also take one of the English as a Foreign Language Exams (EFL) of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), whose examinations are available in more than 150 countries.

There are three different types of Cambridge exams: First Certificate in English (FCE), Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Only CAE and CPE test scores are accepted, not FCE.

CAE and CPE: minimum score of C

The Cambridge test costs approximately € 225,- for CAE and € 245,- for CPE.

More information

For more information, students in the Netherlands can contact the British Language Training Centre (BLTC).

Students in the rest of the world can contact: ESOL website.

Published by  GSSS

Graduate school of Social Sciences

12 July 2016