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Basic Qualification Language Proficiency English (BKE)

Leiden University has introduced the training program for the Basic Qualification in Education (BKO). This is mandatory and has been made available for (university) teachers and professors to obtain a BKO certificate, depending on the timing, scope, and duration of their employment.

Basic Qualification Language Proficiency English (BKE)

Lecturers who teach in English are required to have a Basic Qualification Language Proficiency English (Basis Kwalificatie Engels, BKE) certificate, ensuring a basic level of English language proficiency. The required level is C1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

The Basic Qualification English test is conducted by the Academic Language Center and consists of three parts:

  1. A computer-based test assessing listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary (30 to 45 minutes.);
  2. An interview with a language advisor to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your speaking skills (20 minutes.);
  3. An evaluation and advisory conversation (10 minutes).

The interview includes a series of short assignments designed to create a comprehensive profile of the teachers language skills. It assesses both prepared and spontaneous language use on familiar and unfamiliar topics. The tasks not only test your speaking proficiency within your own field of expertise, but also evaluate the flexibility and improvisational skills necessary for conversations with foreign students and colleagues.

The entire process takes a total of one hour and 15 minutes. You will be asked to present a valid passport or ID card on the day of the test. For more information about the BKE test or to make an appointment, please send an email to mail.academicenglish@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Support staff

The support and administrative staff of Leiden University are also increasingly having to use English in their daily work. As an example, visiting lecturers need to be informed about the opening hours of different buildings, and students have questions about their study programme, accommodation, etc.   

Over the past few years, the Academic Language Centre has developed custom-made intake tests and courses in English for such groups as study advisers, technical staff and library officers. For further information, please contact Philomena Dol.


The Academic Language Centre offers an extensive range of courses addressing diverse English language skills at different levels of competence. For staff of Leiden University, English courses are available that focus on improving a specific skill, such as academic writing, making presentations and pronunciation for public speakers.  

Complete range of English courses.

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