English Language and Culture

For whom

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.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements.

All classes are taught in English and you need to have at least HAVO level of English (CEF/ERK level B1).

Content

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 have 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.

Learning objectives

  • 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.

Courses

This programme takes place over one semester (two periods) when taken full-time, in both autumn and spring. You’ll study the following topics:

Period Course Unit Title ECTS
A/C Language Skills 1: Speaking and Writing 5
Culture 1: American Culture 5
Grammar and Basics 5
B/D Language Skills 2: Advanced Speaking and Writing 5
Culture 2: British Culture 5
Elective Course: Business English 5
Elective Course: Cambridge Exam Training 5
Elective Course: Short Stories 5

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. In period one students start Taalvaardigheid 1: Speaking and Writing. This course aims to improve your confidence, fluency and flexibility using the language in conversations and semi-formal writing assignments, such as blogs. The course focuses on speaking and writing about topics and events within your field of interest and experience. You will receive feedback throughout the course to identify areas for improvement and guide your development.

In period 2, you will build on this knowledge during Taalvaardigheid 2: Advanced Speaking and Writing. This course focuses on formal English language use and will challenge you to discuss a wider range of topics using more sophisticated language. You will learn to write a formal argumentative essay, which will teach you language skills, such as the organisation of information, which you can apply to other areas of communication. You will also learn how to give speeches and hold debates in English to challenge your listening as well as your speaking 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.

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 analysing various media sources such as news articles and documentaries, but also some British comedy. Moreover, this course gives students the opportunity to visit Britain for a week to research an aspect of British Culture they find intriguing (please note that this will not be financed by the Hogeschool Utrecht).

For the final 5EC students can choose a course that best suits their ambitions and development. We offer Business EnglishShort Stories and Cambridge Exam Training (again, please note that this is a training course and you will need to pay for the official exam yourself). There are limited places available per elective module.

Assessment

Period Course Unit Title Assessment form
A/C Language Skills 1: Speaking and Writing Speaking Portfolio (range of tasks) / Writing Portfolio (range of tasks)
Culture 1: American Culture Logbook & Presentation / Exam
Grammar and Basics Exam
B/D Language Skills 2: Advanced Speaking and Writing Speaking Portfolio (range of tasks) / Exam Essay
Culture 2: British Culture Research Project / Culture Blog
Elective Course: Business English Dossier / Presentation
Elective Course: Cambridge Exam Training Speaking & Listening Exam / Reading & Writing Exam
Elective Course: Short Stories Short Story Analysis / Exam
  • 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 the course that best suits your ambitions and development, but note that there are limited spaces available on each course.

Literature

The following literature will be discussed during the minor. You will receive a definite reading list before the start of the minor.

  • O’Driscoll, James. (2009). Britain: for Learners of English.
  • Murphy, Raymond. (2012). English Grammar in Use Fourth Edition (with answers and CD-Rom). ISBN 9780521189392
  • Fry, Stephen. (2009). Stephen Fry in America.
  • Giles, Chris & Fray, Keith. (2018, October 11). The UK economy since the Brexit vote — in 6 charts: Government talks of deal dividend as uncertainty hits business confidence and investment. Financial Times.
  • Jackson, Shirley. (1948). The Lottery. The New Yorker.

Schedule

This programme takes place over one semester when taken full-time, and is organised 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 final schedule 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.

Additional costs

A self-funded trip as part of the British Culture course. Costs TBD.