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BSA - Binding study advice

BSA - Binding study advice

The Binding Study Advice (BSA) is part of a series of measures that increase a student’s chances of successfully completing a programme on time. The faculty uses the BSA to specify the extent to which a student – after the first year of study – has the motivation and abilities to successfully complete the programme. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the BSA norm for 2020-2021 has been reduced by 6 ECTS. Read more below.

Please note: BSA norm academic year 2020-2021 reduced by 6 ECTS

In the past academic year of 2019-2020, the issuing of a ‘binding study advice’ (BSA) was postponed due to the coronavirus situation. Because of the uncertain times, universities gave the first-year students extra time to obtain the minimum number of credits. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has decided not to postpone the BSA again in the academic year of 2020-2021, but, instead, to reduce the BSA norm for this academic year by 6 ECTS. For tehe Faculty of Humanities, this means the following: students who started their study programme in the academic year of 2020-2021 must obtain 42 ECTS worth of credits in first-year courses in order to proceed to the second academic year. For part-time students who started in the academic year of 2020-2021, the BSA norm has been reduced by 6 ECTS too, meaning that they will have to obtain 18 ECTS in order to proceed to the second academic year. This temporary arragement does not apply to students who started their study programme in the academic year of 2019-2020: for students who received dispensation with regard to their BSA this past summer, the regular norm of 48 ECTS (full-time) or 24 ECTS (part-time) still applies. Read more about the normal BSA regulations below.

Binding Study Advice at the Faculty of Humanities

  • How does the BSA work?
    • The Faculty of Humanities issues a BSA to all first-year Bachelor's students. The BSA also applies to students who started a second or new Bachelor’s programme within the faculty.
    • You can only continue your studies when you meet the requirements of the BSA. To receive a positive advice, you must have obtained at least 48 ECTS in first-year courses. For part-time students, the minimum is 24 ECTS.
    • If you do not meet the requirements of the BSA, a negative binding study advice will be issued. In this case, you are not allowed to re-enrol for the same programme.
    • The rules pertaining to the BSA are stated in Article 6 of the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER Part A). See the link below:


    In order to obtain the standard minimum of 48 ECTS (24 ECTS for part-time students), you will receive the necessary support. For example, every student is assigned a lecturer as a tutor. The tutor's primary task is to discuss your study progress and choices.

    In addition, your programme’s study adviser can help you with study-related problems. Should you experience problems due to personal circumstances, it is important that you inform the study adviser immediately, even if you are not sure what the consequences might be for your academic performance.

    Study advice 

    During the first year, you will receive multiple notices regarding your study progress: in December and February. Based on these, you may want to make an appointment with the study adviser or decide to prematurely end your enrolment in the programme.

    At the end of July, the faculty will give you a positive or provisional negative BSA, which states whether or not you can continue your studies.

    See also:

  • Positive BSA

    If you obtain at least 48 ECTS (24 ECTS for part-time students) in first-year courses at the end of the first year of study, you will receive a positive BSA at the end of July. This means you can continue your studies in the following academic year.

    Completing your first year

    Please ensure that any credits not earned in the first year are earned in the second year of study. Contact the study adviser to discuss your study plan.

    Defining your second and third year

    For more information about the possibilities to define your curriculum in your second and third year, see the following references.

    Honours programme

    If you have completed the first year of your study with a weighted average mark of at least a 7.5, you can apply for the Honours programme.

  • Negative BSA

    If you do not meet the requirements of the BSA, you will be given a provisional negative binding study advice at the end of July. When this negative advice becomes definitive, you cannot re-enrol in your programme for the following academic year.

    Negative BSA – what are your options?

    1. Study adviser

    The study adviser can give you more information about the consequences of a negative BSA, the appeal procedure and/or on the possibilities of pursuing another programme.

    2. Career Centre

    For advice on the possibilities of pursuing another programme, you can contact one of the career coaches of the UvA Student Careers Centre.

    3. Appeal the decision

    You can appeal the Negative BSA decision by applying for a dispensation from the Examinations Board. A dispensation request can be submitted on the grounds of personal circumstances which you feel have led to you being unable to meet the BSA requirements. This only applies if you have reported these personal circumstances to your study advisor. For more information about personal circumstances that can be used as a reason for dispensation and general information about the dispensation procedure, see article 6 of the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER Part A).

    You must submit your dispensation request before at the latest 9:00 on 9 August 2021. If you submit your request after this deadline, there is no guarantee that the Examinations Board can make a decision before the new academic year. The Examinations Board will consult the tutor and the study adviser when reviewing your application. If the Examinations Board feels it needs additional information in order to reach a decision regarding your dispensation request, you may be invited to a hearing. The hearings will take place on 17, 18 and 19 August 2021.


    When you submit your request for dispensation, you need to send a motivation letter and a study plan to the Examinations Board using the dispensation request form. For your study plan, you can use the template below. If you want to add more information or evidence to your study plan and motivation letter, you can also send these along with your request. 


    You will receive the decision of the Examinations Board as soon as possible after the submission of your request and (if applicable) the hearing. The Examinations Board can honour your request and grant you dispensation from the BSA. In doing so, the Examinations Board will inform you of any adjusted norms or further conditions in the next year of your studies. If your request for dispensation is denied, you will also receive a personal notification.

To help you assess your current study progress, you can make use of the study progress chart that you can download below. In this chart, you will find information regarding a more challenging programme, extra support, training and workshops, and the BSA procedure.