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Linguistics (MA)

What is the degree programme about?

This degree programme is aimed at students who are interested in language and languages, in the function and change of language systems, and in how people deal with language. The degree programme covers a range of languages; the main focus is on German, English and Romance languages, with some elements of other languages. Students have the opportunity to specialise in either applied and descriptive linguistics or historical linguistics and variational linguistics, depending on their own interests.

The main topics of the degree programme are grammar and grammatical theory, language change and language variation, research on multilingualism, language acquisition and lexicography. In-depth study of empirical methods in linguistics used in areas such a corpus linguistics plays a key role.

On the basis of these topics, students gain further knowledge of language and languages, their structure and their history as they work intensively with methods of analysing and describing language. Students are encouraged to analyse linguistic utterances and theoretical and methodological concepts critically, taking a critical approach to theoretical and corpus-based research. Due to close links between research and teaching, there is also an opportunity to take part in current research projects and explore possible specialisations which students may be interested in.

What type of Bachelor's degree do I need?

This degree programme is open to graduates of Bachelor's degree programmes in linguistics as well as graduates of degree programmes in German studies or other philological subjects (e.g. English studies, Romance studies or studies of another language) which include study of linguistics. It is also possible to study the Master's degree programme if you have a teaching degree (Lehramt). More information on admission requirements is available below.

Modules and degree programme structure

It is possible to study the Master's degree programme in Linguistics without a programme specialisation or with one of the following programme specialisations: 'Applied and descriptive linguistics' or 'Historical and variational linguistics'. The specialisation is determined by choosing appropriate elective modules.

1st semester

Students gain an overview of the topics of the Master's degree programme in Linguistics in the lecture series 'Linguistics – Languages – Language', which includes lectures from all of the subjects involved. There are also modules in the three core subjects, German studies, English studies and Romance studies.

2nd and 3rd semester

Students take research-oriented modules run by the collaborating interdisciplinary centres – the Interdisciplinary Centre for Lexicography, Valency and Collocation, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Dialect Studies and Language Variation. At this stage students can take part in research projects, complete placements and/or improve their proficiency in foreign languages. They can also choose from a selection of elective modules on a wide variety of topics. Methods and empirical work in linguistics are a key topics.

4th semester

Master's thesis and oral examination


Potential challenges

The Master's degree programme Linguistics does not include any specific language courses. However, you may choose language courses as elective modules, and these courses are not limited to English or Romance languages – you can choose from the whole range of courses offered by FAU's Language Centre.

Do I have to study all three subjects – English, German and Romance linguistics – in equal depth during the Master's degree programme?

No. In the first semester you must choose two out of English studies, German studies and Romance studies. In the rest of the degree programme there are no specific requirements.

Programme features

In the Master's degree programme in Linguistics there are close links between research and teaching.

  • In the lecture series in the first semester, students get to know the research priorities in linguistics at FAU, not only in the core subjects – English studies, German studies and Romance studies – but also in other disciplines.
  • In the research-oriented modules in the second and third semesters, students attend lectures by external and international guest researchers and discuss their research with them. The following two FAU research centres collaborate with the degree programme:
    • The Interdisciplinary Centre for Dialect Studies and Language Variation focuses on research into language variation and language contact in various disciplines related to linguistics and runs lectures, research seminars and conferences on these topics.
    • The Interdisciplinary Centre for Lexicography, Valency and Collocation connects and coordinates research in subjects from various faculties at FAU which deal with the way in which words are used in larger linguistic units and the description of this use of words. The centre runs guest lectures, conferences and workshops on these topics.
  • In the second or third semester there is also an opportunity to take part in a linguistic research project as part of the project module.
Admission requirements
  • Applicants require a first university degree in linguistics or a related subject.
  • Applicants with a minimum grade of 'gut' (good – 2.5) in their previous degree qualify for admission; applicants with an average grade of 2.51 to 3.00 will be required to attend an individual interview.
  • For applicants in the final semester of a Bachelor's degree programme proof of 140 ECTS credits is sufficient.

From winter semester 2016/17, applicants who do not have a German degree or German university entrance qualification (Hochschulreife) must provide proof of German-language proficiency at DSH-2 level, plus one of the following: Goethe-Zertifikat C2: Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (level C2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference) or equivalent, proof of German-language proficiency at DSH-3 level or equivalent, a TestDaF level 5 certificate or equivalent or a UniCert4 certificate.

Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Please find more detailed information on how to apply for a Master or advanced degree programme on the following website:

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Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Master of Arts (MA)
Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Summer Term, Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: No Admissions Restrictions
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: no
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology