Hogeschool van Amsterdam

English Honours programme

The English Honours Programme (EHP) has been especially designed for students aiming for an extra challenge. Internationally and academically oriented, the English Honours programme prepares students for teaching English in Dutch secondary schools offering bilingual education (tweetalig onderwijs), intensive English programs (such as Fast Lane English) and in international schools.

Graduates of the English Honours programme will have examined key concepts related to learning, language, education and pedagogy, they will have analyzed differences between systems of education, critiqued the purpose of education and have developed their professional skills and networks.

The English honours programme is a full-time grade two teacher training programme. We encourage EHP students right from the start to adopt a proactive  and professional approach to the programme and their work experience as students will be expected to teach at a work placement from their very first year. You will learn to think about issues and analyze them, carry out independent research using library and internet resources, and develop the ability to express ideas coherently. The programme provides a stimulating learning environment which aims to stretch and develop your intellectual potential to its fullest. 

The programme has three cornerstones: subject knowledge, teaching placement , and professional development. To support your professional development you will be given a large field assignment (beroepsopdracht) to complete every semester of every year. The focus during the field assignments will be on broaden your knowledge of teaching methodology and pedagogical theories which you can then apply to your teaching practice. At the same time you will also work on your personal development as a teacher.

During year three students must spend a semester studying modules in English and Education at universities in Britain and/or Europe. The exchange between universities is a part of the Erasmus programme; as such students from participating countries may apply for an Erasmus grant. International students from non-participating countries should inform for eligibility and be aware of the possibility of extra costs. Successful graduates gain a Bachelor in Education diploma (which entitles students to teach English in lower secondary education in the Netherlands) and an Honours Certificate.

In your third year you also choose a specialization in either preparatory secondary vocational education/senior secondary vocational education (vmbo/mbo) or senior general secondary education/pre-university education (havo/vwo). The main phase of the specialization consists of 60 credits, in other words the entire year four programme including placement and the final research project.

In year four students are also required to complete the National Knowledge Test in order to attain their diploma. The NKT consists of two parts:

  1. the digital Knowledge base test;
  2. the Cambridge English Proficiency Exam (CPE).

Additionally, students may follow the Masters or ICELT route. The Masters route will allow students to directly transfer to a Master’s programme in Linguistics or Literature at the Vrije University in Amsterdam. The ICELT route  will allow students to attain the world renown prestigious In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching (ICELT) degree from Cambridge ESOL.

The National Knowledge Test

For every subject, in our case English, the base subject knowledge that a teacher in the grade two area in the Netherlands must command is set in a document called the 'Landelijke Kennisbasis' loosely translated to the National Foundational Knowledge base. The base subject knowledge covered in this document is tested nationally during the National Knowledge Test (NKT).

For English the test consists of two parts:

  1. a digital exam covering the foundational knowledge base
  2. the Cambridge esol Proficiency exam.

All grade two students are required to sit the NKT in order to attain their diploma. For further information on the NKT please refer to  '10 voor de leraar' website. Here you will find per subject area an exam guide specifying exactly what subject knowledge is tested as well as a mock test for the digital exam. Students must have attained their Foundation year certificate and have passed sixty-five percent (65%) of the subject specific modules including English Skills and English Speaking World in order to sit the exam. Please note subject specific modules do not include placement. For specific details see the  Onderwijs en Examenregeling (OER).

In year two, new subjects will be introduced which will build on the previous year’s knowledge. The study of English will move away from developing your own proficiency into more academic study of the language through Linguistics. Literature will still form an integral part of the programme. You will be expected to teach whole lessons, which will be theoretically underpinned through the Language Learning and Teaching modules two and three. You will be expected to be at placement for the entire year for a minimum of two days a week. Your goal is to become a full member of the teaching team at your placement school i.e. teaching full lessons, invigilating for exams, going on school excursions and meeting with parents. For a full description on your placement requirements see the year two placement handbook.

At the end of year two you may apply for  a specialist route. The routes available are

  1. a Masters route for Literature or Linguistics; 
  2. the ICELT certificate.

Eligibility to do so depends on meeting admission criteria. The EHP staff will evaluate your work and if it is up to standard you will be invited to follow an extra-curricular programme in Linguistics, Literature or English Language Teaching.

During semester one of year three you will follow modules such as Language Learning and teaching four, Language and Society, and Research Methods all of which intend to prepare you for your semester abroad.

Semester two you will spend at a British or European University. The HvA is a partner in the European Erasmus Exchange Programme and currently has an Erasmus agreement with several universities in the UK including the University of Wolverhampton, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Derby. In Europe, the School of Education is exploring extending existing agreements with a university in Sweden, the Czech Republic or Finland. There is careful consideration in the choice of partner universities to ensure that the EHP programme fulfils the 'kennisbasis' requirements of all Grade two English teacher graduates. In this way, the semester spent outside the Netherlands fully complements the rest of the EHP. Please note: all EHP students are required to go abroad to one of our UK partners as a part of the International programme. UK nationals are the only exemption as they are not eligible for an Erasmus grant to return to the UK and as such will be required to follow the time abroad at one of our European partners.


During your  third year of study, you select one of the specializations: either preparatory secondary vocational education/senior secondary vocational education (vmbo/mbo) or senior general secondary education/pre-university education (havo/vwo). The main phase of the specialization consists of 60 credits, in other words the entire year four programme including placement and the final research project.

Please note: Your specialization is directly linked to your choice of placement school in year four. For example: You may not choose to do your specialization on vocational education and then complete your year four placement at a pre-university.

Year four consists of modules and a parallel placement in a Dutch school. You will deepen/broaden your knowledge of Literature and Linguistics. All modules in year four cater to your chosen specialization. Research will take a central role as you focus on collecting, analysing and evaluating data at your placement school that will further support your learners in their learning process.

If you have been admitted to a Masters or ICELT route (an optional, selective extra), you will extend and deepen your knowledge and skills in either linguistics, literature or teaching. On satisfactory completion of the Masters/ ICELT route, you will gain 15 EWP credits. The linguistics and literature Masters route will allow you to specialize in linguistics or literature to thoroughly prepare you for further study in either field at Masters level. The ICELT route will prepare you for and ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching) degree.

Masters route

The Masters route will allow you to deepen your subject knowledge in a chosen field, in this case Linguistics or Literature. Students will be required to do research and write a Bachelors level thesis. The coursework and teaching are internally assessed by TEBS staff but externally moderated by a Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam approved moderator, who will sample candidate's written assignments.

If these are sufficient student may gain direct entry into a one year VU Masters programme in Linguistcs or Literature.


The ICELT (In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching) degree is an award for practicing English Language Teachers. By doing this certificate whilst still graduating, it shows that you are already at a level beyond a beginning teacher. The coursework and teaching are internally assessed by EHP staff but externally moderated by a Cambridge University approved moderator, who will sample candidate's teaching and written assignments. Samples of coursework are also submitted to Cambridge ESOL for further moderation. This is why an extra administration fee is required to be paid by ICELT candidates. The syllabus for ICELT covers:

  • Language Knowledge and Awareness
  • Background to Teaching and Learning English
  • Resources and Materials
  • Planning and Management of Teaching and Learning
  • Evaluation, Monitoring and Assessment
  • Professional Development
  • Language for Teachers

What opportunities are there with ICELT?

For graduates who are looking to work abroad, Cambridge certificates are recognized world-wide and uphold high standards. The ICELT certificate in particular is often required for teaching work permits in Asia (Japan/Indonesia). It is also required by the majority of private language teaching schools. ICELT ensures an international standard of teaching and also evidences professional development specifically related to teaching English as a foreign language.

The EHP offers the chance to travel and experience British and European culture from the 'inside'. In your third year you must study in the UK or Europe during your minor where you will spend a semester at a University. Studying abroad also means you will be in a unique position to find out about English and Education studies from a different, foreign perspective and compare this to what you have experienced at home. Living and studying in another country gives you not only a broader view of the world but also a richer understanding of life and education in the Netherlands. It goes without saying that,  in Amsterdam the modules being offered also focus on a world view.

Students can expect 42 weeks of classes per year; 40 hours per week, including on average 20 class hours (lectures and practicals). The remaining hours are spent on projects, research, assignments and self-study (preparing lessons and exams). One credit equals 28 hours study time. 

Study credits and contact hours

  • 180 credits
  • 42 weeks of classes per year.
  • 40 hours per week,
  • One credit equals 28 hours study time.  

Students who, at the end of year one on the English Teacher Training programme, have attained 60 credits, a seven (7) grade point average and have proven to be at B1 (Common European Framework of References) level for Dutch, may choose to apply to the English Honours programme.

Should you successfully complete the Honours programme you may use the title Bachelor of Education (with Honours).

Graduates of the EHP may start working as English teachers in the grade 2 area (which are the lower years of secondary school) in the Netherlands. They will have specialized in bilingual and intensive English programs (Fast track English) in Dutch secondary schools and/or have gained experience in international schools. The Dutch teaching qualification and ICELT combination make students a strong force in the work field abroad as well.

In addition to your university tuition fees you should take into account that you will also have costs for books, readers and other study materials, on average €150 per semester. In year Three you will study abroad for 1 semesters, although you pay your tuition fees to HvA, you will need money for housing and living expenses, the amount needed depends on the country where you are going to study. Non-European students should be aware that you will not be allowed to work in the UK. 

Gepubliceerd door  Faculteit Onderwijs en Opvoeding 4 november 2015