Academic Core

The Academic Core of the AUC programme is designed to ensure that you develop strong academic skills in a number of essential areas, and to prepare you for your choice of theme and major. You will take Academic Core courses across all three years of your programme, ensuring an ongoing development of your skills.

Components of the Academic Core

The first component of the AUC programme that students complete are the required courses of the Academic Core. The Academic Core consists of various courses that provide a foundation for the rest of the programme and include methodology courses, foreign language courses, Big Questions courses, academic writing courses and the Global Identity Experience. Some of these courses are required for all students, while others vary per major. 

Courses required for all students

  1. Academic Writing Skills
  2. Logic, Information, Argumentation
  3. The Global Identity Experience
  4. Advanced Research Writing
  5. One 'Big Questions' course
  6. Two consecutive levels of a single language
  7. CPI

Big Questions

A special feature of the Academic Core is the Big Question courses. You can choose from Big Data, Big Books, Big Books World Literature, Big Questions in Future SocietyBig Questions in Time, Big Questions in Language, Power and (dis)Empowerment, and Big Questions on The Environment: Science, Society, and Culture. These courses approach big questions in science and society from a variety of different and challenging perspectives, and the aim is to stimulate debate from day one of your programme. You are encouraged to reflect on your own position with respect to these big questions and how you can engage with them on a personal level. They also help to inspire and prepare you for your choice of theme and major.

Logic, Information Flow and Argumentation

Scientific reasoning is an essential skill when debating ‘big questions' and it is the focus of this course. During Logic, Information Flow and Argumentation, you analyse and discuss patterns of reasoning, and the validity of reasoning and information flow in a variety of contexts. This course develops analytical skills which will be of use to all AUC students, regardless of their major, which is why it is a mandatory course for all first-year students.

Academic Writing Skills and Advanced Research Writing

You are expected to enter AUC with a high level of written and spoken English, but more specific training is incorporated in the Academic Core in order to help all students write texts at an academic level, give presentations and participate in academic debates. After the first semester, you will also follow a more advanced course that will help prepare you for your Capstone (Bachelor's thesis). All AUC students, including native English speakers, will take both courses.


In today's globalised world, language skills are essential. It is for this reason that you are expected to reach a certain level of competence in a language (other than English and your native language) during your studies at AUC. The current options include: 

  • Dutch (Levels A1-B2.2)
  • French (Levels A1-B2.2)
  • German (Levels A1-B2.2)
  • Spanish (Levels A1-B2.2)
  • Chinese (Mandarin) (Levels I, II, III)
  • Arabic (Levels I, II, III)

The Global Identity Experience

AUC is an international institution, located in a cosmopolitan city, and seeks to prepare its graduates for a globalised world. This course is designed to open your eyes to issues in an international, multicultural context and to equip you with intercultural (communication) skills. Part of the course involves a group research project in the city of Amsterdam.

More information on the Academic Core

You can find more information on the Academic Core in section 2.6 of the Academic Standards and Procedures.

Published by  Amsterdam University College

24 February 2020