Our institute offers an English-language master's degree in linguistics. You can start your studies in the winter semester or in the summer semester. The programme lasts four semesters, and leads to a Master of Arts degree (M. A.). With this you satisfy the prerequisites for admission to a doctoral programme.
The master's programme focuses on the phonology, morphology and syntax of the world's languages and combines grammar theory, language typology and computational and experimental methods. As a student, you will get to know a variety of theoretical approaches and will be involved in the institute's research activities at an early stage (e. g. as a student assistant). We value individual support and support you with your own early publications and the preparation of lectures at international conferences. You can benefit from guest lectures and block events by respected international researchers. It is our concern to prepare you optimally for a doctoral degree.
Structure of the Programme
The master's degree in linguistics builds on the bachelor's degree in linguistics and is more research-oriented (see slides of the master's orientation by Prof. Fabian Heck). In particular, it conveys in-depth knowledge in the following three areas:
- Grammatical theory (phonology, morphology and syntax)
- Language typology
- Computational and experimental approaches to grammar
The Master in Linguistics is taught in English. Entry requirements are English language skills at the B2 level. There are three module categories: basic (or foundational) modules, advanced modules and special modules. The final module (the master's thesis) comprises 30 credit points. You can take a maximum of 20 credit points as special modules; this will usually come to two modules. As part of the special modules, you have the opportunity to take modules from other courses at Leipzig University. To do this, you must submit an application to the examination committee.
The master's modules offered by the Institute for Linguistics each comprise ten credit points and usually take place in a four-semester cycle. All modules are compulsory elective modules and can be freely combined. We offer three to four modules each semester. The modules are as follows:
The module 04-046-2002 is a basic module and is offered every winter semester and serves to convey essential theoretical concepts of phonology, morphology and syntax, which will then play a role in the advanced modules. The module examination consists of a portfolio (typically a compilation of smaller tasks in the three courses).
The module 04-046-2001 is a basic module and is offered in a four-semester cycle in the winter semester. The module introduces basic theoretical concepts of sentence semantics and lexical semantics. A course on experimental semantics may also be offered. The module examination consists of a two-hour written exam.
The module 04-046-2033 is a basic module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. In the three courses of the module you will get to know various empirical methods of linguistics (e. g. elicitation techniques in field research, statistical methods, data annotation, corpus linguistic methods, lexicography, programming languages such as Python, etc.). The module examination consists of a portfolio (typically a compilation of smaller tasks in the three courses).
The module 04-046-2010 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. In the three courses of the module you will get to know theoretical, typological and/or experimental investigations and analyses of selected morphological phenomena (e. g. in the area of inflectional and derivational morphology). The module examination consists of a project together with a presentation.
The module 04-046-2013 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. In the three courses of the module you will get to know various theoretical approaches (e. g. rule-based or optimality theoretic) to selected phonological processes at the segment level (e. g. assimilation or neutralization processes); the feature level of the segments (e. g. feature geometries) is also dealt with. The module examination consists of a project together with a presentation.
The module 04-046-2014 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. In the three courses of the module, you will learn about empirical research and theoretical analyzes of phonological units that are larger than individual segments. This includes phenomena such as metrics, prosody, lexical and grammatical tone, sentence intonation, syllable theory, etc. The module examination consists of a project with a presentation.
The module 04-046-2015 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the winter semester. In the three courses of the module you will learn more about the theoretical treatment of syntactic phenomena that take place in the local area of the core predicate of the sentence (e. g. projection of arguments, case, diatheses, agreement, etc.). The module examination consists of a term paper.
The module 04-046-2016 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the winter semester. The module consists of three courses that deal with non-local processes in syntax (such as binding, control, Wh-constructions, long-distance dependencies, etc.), the associated theory and the special and general consequences arising from it (such as for architecture of grammar). The module examination consists of a project.
The module 04-046-2025 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. The module consists of three courses that introduce the formal foundations of linguistic theories. The first seminar focuses on understanding a grammar formalism (e. g. minimalist grammars, categorial grammars). The second seminar is about the formal properties of restrictions, filters and optimization. The module examination consists of a portfolio.
The module 04-046-2026 is an advanced module and is offered in a four-semester cycle during the summer semester. The module is built around three courses (two seminars and a colloquium). One of the two seminars examines the relationship between abstract grammar and actual language usage, for example by developing a correct parsing algorithm for a linguistically motivated grammar formalism. The second seminar deals with how abstract grammar can be used effectively to predict the real, complex data of linguistic behavior. The module examination consists of a portfolio.
The module 04-046-2031 is an advanced module and is offered every four semesters during the winter semester. The module consists of three courses (a seminar, an exercise and a colloquium). In the courses, methods of language typology (creation of typological samples, data analysis) and results from qualitative and quantitative typology are presented. The seminar focusses on particular phenomena. The module examination consists of a 30-minute oral exam.
The module 04-046-2034 is offered every semester, although it does not make sense to take it in your first semester. The aim of the module is for you to familiarize yourself with linguistic research questions and methods by means of a linguistic research project. You can complete the internship in a project at the Institute for Linguistics, but also outside of it (e. g. also at an external research institution with a linguistic focus or research component). You are expected to describe the internship during one of the institute colloquia (see §11 (1) of the Examination regulations); therefore, only those internships may be recognized where you are allowed to report on your internship. Clarify beforehand with a member of the institute whether the chosen internship is relevant to the degree; if it is not, it may not count for the purposes of this module. The internship should go on for at least 150 hours. Please submit a confirmation of the scope and content of the internship. The module examination consists of an internship report, which has to be submitted within 6 weeks after the end of the internship. Since you can, in principle, take this module in any semester, we expect that all examination components are completed by the end of the respective semester.
The module 04-046-2035 is a special module and is offered depending on the available teaching capacities. The basic concept of this module is to focus on a specific topic from different perspectives. The topics that can be considered are understudied languages or language families, current research concepts (such as economy, iconicity, cyclicity) or complex linguistic phenomena (such as diatheses, sentence embedding, topicality). In the seminars, the topic is considered from different linguistic perspectives (e. g. theoretical vs. experimental vs. typological) and with a view to the various sub-areas (phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics). The module examination takes the form of a project.
An imported module from another institute is counted as a special module, of which you may take a maximum of two. In order to import a module from another institute, you must submit an application to the examination committee justifing the choice of module. We cannot guarantee that you will be admitted to the desired module. Please contact the module coordinator for the relevant modules in advance. The module examination is determined by the respective examination regulations.
The Master's thesis is written during the third/fourth semester; it corresponds to a workload of thirty credit points. It can be written in English or in German. You have 23 weeks to complete your thesis. The deadline can be extended by up to six weeks upon request (by using the application form for extension). The deadline begins with the announcement of the topic in the examination office, and is noted in Almaweb.
There are fixed deadlines for registering for the Master's thesis. The specific dates can be found on the website of the examination office.
• Registration for processing in the summer semester: beginning to mid-December
• Registration for processing in the winter semester: beginning to mid-June
With the consent of the Examination Committee you may also register for the thesis at a different time.
Please think about the area in which you want to write your Master’s thesis and contact a possible supervisor. Ideally, you should do this several weeks before the registration deadline. All regular institute members can be considered as supervisors, but also employees with a doctorate from third-party funded projects who regularly participate in teaching. At the point of registration, the topic of the Bachelor's thesis and the second reviewer have to be finally decided. Please get the signature of your supervisor and the second reviewer before you submit the registration form.
Topic and Advising
Ideally, you should choose a topic for the Master's thesis that is related to teaching or research at the Institute of Linguistics. Topics in areas of linguistics that are not represented at the institute may be possible, but you must find someone at the institute for linguistics who is willing to supervise this topic. Please make use of your advisors in the early phases of your work as well!
When designing your Master's thesis, use articles from renowned specialist journals as a guide. The Unified Style Sheet for Linguistics journals has become the standard for citing literature and the bibliography in a large number of specialist journals. The Leipzig glossing rules apply to the glossing of examples. We recommend the use of LaTeX for writing the thesis.
You must submit two printed copies and one electronic copy of the Master's thesis to the examination office before the deadline.
For general questions about the programme, please contact the academic advisory service.
If you have any questions about the possible specializations in the programme, you can consult the following members of the institute:
The technical admission requirements for the master's degree in linguistics are the possession of a bachelor's degree in linguistics. If you have a different degree, the examination committee will decide whether you have sufficient relevant prior knowledge to successfully participate in the master's programme. You must provide evidence of English language skills at the B2 level and knowledge of another foreign language at the B1 level. The application is made in two stages for all applicants. You apply in parallel to the university via the Almaweb or Uniassist platforms (depending on the assignment to the various application groups) and to the Institute of Linguistics (for the verification of the technical admission requirements). You will not be able to start the master's degree without confirmation from the institute that you have met the technical admission requirements!
The University of Leipzig distinguishes between the following application groups:
- German applicants with a bachelor's degree from Germany:
Almaweb; Application deadlines:
- 15 September (for the winter semester)
- 15 March (for the summer semester)
- German applicants with a Bachelor's degree from abroad:
Uniassist application deadlines:
- 1 September (for the winter semester)
- 1 March (for the summer semester)
- Foreign applicants with a Bachelor's degree from Germany:
Almaweb application periods:
- 1 May – 31 May (for the winter semester)
- 1 December – 31 December (for the summer semester)
- Foreign applicants with a Bachelor's degree from abroad:
Uniassist application periods:
- 1 April – 1 May (for the winter semester)
- 1 November – 31 December (for the summer semester)
Different application deadlines apply to the parallel application to the Institute for Linguistics: Application
- by 1 June (if you start your studies in the winter semester) or
- by 1 January (if you start your studies in the summer semester).
Please submit the following documents to the Department of Linguistics:
- Statement of purpose with an explanation of why you would like to pursue this course of study at Leipzig
- Copy of the bachelor's certificate
- Overview of the completed modules / module exams (Transcript of Records, Diploma Supplement)
- the following form with information about your background knowledge (German version, English version)
- Language certificates (English B2, other non-native language B1)
Please send your documents to the following address:
Institut für Linguistik
Prüfungsausschuss – M. A. Linguistik
You may also submit your documents electronically (as pdf document!). Please send an email with the subject line "Bewerbung M. A. Linguistik" to our institute.