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Binding Study Advice (BSA)

Social Sciences

In the College of Social Sciences (CSS), you are expected to earn 60 ECTS credits in the first year of your Bachelor’s programme. At the end of the first year, the BSA Committee of the CSS will review your study progress and, on the basis of that progress, issue you a binding study advice (BSA).

What does the binding study advice mean?

It is possible that you will not have earned the full 60 credits during your first academic year. In such cases, whether or not you will be allowed to continue with your programme depends on the number of ECTS credits that you have obtained. For Bachelor’s programmes in the UvA College of Social Sciences, the BSA standard is 42 credits. This figure means that you must obtain at least 42 credits in the first year to be able to continue the degree programme. Any exemptions that have been granted to you will not be included when calculating the number of credits obtained.

The BSA decision

After all the results of the first academic year have been registered (including those for any resits), the proposed final decision on the BSA will be established. Final decisions will be communicated by email approximately four weeks after the end of the second semester (around late July). For this reason, it is very important that you review all incoming email (or have someone else do so for you) during this period! The BSA decision will be sent to the email address registered in Studielink. You can update your email address in Studielink should the address on record there no longer be correct.

Please note: If there happens to be an error in the number of credits on which the proposed decision is based, please contact the Programme Administration (via the Education Desk Social Sciences) immediately.

A positive study advice

If you meet the BSA standard, you will be issued a positive study advice. You will then be able to continue your study programme. If you have not earned all 60 credits, you must ensure that the entire first year of the programme is completed before the end of your second academic year; otherwise, the validity of any study results that you have obtained will lapse.  

A negative binding study advice

Unfortunately, if you do not meet the BSA standard, you will be issued a negative binding study advice (NBSA) and you will not be permitted to continue the degree programme. You will then be prohibited from enrolling in the same programme for a period of three years.

The negative binding study advice will be issued in a letter (sent by email) which will inform you of the dean’s intention to issue you a negative study advice.

In the event that it can be definitively established before the end of the year that a student will be unable to meet the BSA standard, a negative binding study advice might be issued at an earlier date. This situation not only enables students to receive a decision on a potential request for dispensation in a timely fashion, it also allows them to orient themselves to a different choice of study programme at an early stage and to save tuition fees.

Lodging an objection

You may lodge an objection with the BSA Committee within two weeks of the date on which the decision was made. If you do not lodge an objection within that period of two weeks, the proposed decision will be finalised in a definitive negative binding study advice.

Requesting a dispensation 

In exceptional cases, it is possible to be granted dispensation from the BSA standard. This provision applies when exceptional personal circumstances are present which have affected the academic performance of the student in question. See Exceptions to the BSA.

BSA and a second programme

Are you currently enrolled in a second degree programme or are you considering enrolling in a second programme? In that case, please contact the study advisers of both programmes to discuss the study planning and workload. If you can demonstrate that you have earned at least 42 ECTS for the other degree programme, a BSA standard of 30 ECTS will apply to your first programme.

If your second degree programme is not in the CSW, however, other rules may apply. For this reason, you should contact that programme as well to inquire about the regulations in effect.

Guidelines of the CSS BSA Committee

Relevant information, rules and procedures concerning the binding study advice at the College of Social Sciences are established in the ‘Guidelines of the BSA Committee of the College of Social Sciences’.

This document contains information on the composition of the Committee, a definition of exceptional circumstances, the manner in which students should report exceptional circumstances, when and how to request a dispensation, the criteria and grounds applied by the Committee in its decision-making, the role of the study adviser and an explanation of the alternative study plan.


The CSS has drafted this web page with great care. Should any errors be present in a text on this page, no rights may be derived from such errors.