Master's degree programme in Linguistics
A Master’s degree in Linguistics?
As a Master’s degree student of Linguistics at the University of Aarhus, you deal with many different aspects of language and how it is used. You study topics such as the way languages change as dynamic systems over periods of time of longer (e.g. over hundreds or thousands of years) or shorter durations (e.g. over a person’s lifetime), applied linguistics, cognition and language, linguistic typology (the unity and diversity of languages), as well as interactional linguistics (the structure of interpersonal interaction). In all of these subject areas you learn to analyze data using subject-specific methodologies and insights. In addition, some courses are geared towards research projects.
We also emphasize that you shape your own individual Master’s degree profile to reflect your interests in linguistics and your career plans. You can do this through your choice of subjects of exam essays, and by including other areas to shape your degree in the direction you want. You can also structure your studies by means of a period of practical training, during which you gain insight into life in a workplace, try out your academic skills, and get an impression of what the job market expects of a humanistic graduate.
Linguistics at Aarhus University has approximately 100 active students and is therefore a middle-sized discipline, which still has a close academic and social environment, with an ongoing academic dialogue between teachers and students. Active students organize events on a weekly basis.
The Master’s degree program in Linguistics counts as two years of full-time study (120 ECTS credits).
In order to be admitted to the Master’s degree program in Linguistics, you must have completed a Bachelor’s degree with Linguistics as a main subject plus an optional subject in a different discipline, or have completed a Bachelor’s degree in another subject plus a supplementary subject in Linguistics. Qualifications of students with other backgrounds will be assessed on an individual basis; the main focus will be on the amount and quality of studies in linguistic topics.
Read, print and be inspired
Download and print a short presentation of the MA programme in Linguistics 2014.
The Master’s programme in Linguistics is open to candidates with a Bachelor’s degree or a supplementary subject in Linguistics (i.e. minimum 45 ECTS studies in linguistics. For this reason), foreign students must be able to provide full documentary evidence that they have completed a relevant and recognised university degree equivalent to a Danish BA degree in level and contents.
Only students who fulfil these requirements should apply.
The Master’s programme is a two-year continuation of the Bachelor’s programme. It expands the students’ knowledge of and skills in the subject of study. At the same time, it provides an opportunity to delve deeper into the field of study.
Legal right of admission
Students of the Bachelor's degree programme in Linguistics at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master's degree programme in Linguistics on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor's degree programme to the Master's degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.
As the Master’s degree programme in Linguistics (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.
In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA.
The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.
Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency.
In addition to the general documentation requirements, you must upload the following documentation to your application:
- Applicants without a right to admission must upload a statement of relevance: a brief statement in English (1-2 pages) which explains:
- the relevance of your Bachelor’s degree in relation to the Master’s programme
- your career plans
- the courses in your Bachelor’s degree which have particular relevance to the Master’s programme
- Please note that applicants for the Master’s programme in Linguistics are NOT required to upload course descriptions.
Changes from 2016
If there are more academically qualified applicants than places available, each applicant will be assessed according to the following criteria:
- Academic background (counts 75%)
Based on the amount and quality of BA exams that are relevant to the MA-program.
- Other relevant experience (counts 25%)
Based on Curriculum Vitae and relevance description. See below for more details.
In addition to the general documentation requirements, you must upload the following documentation to your application:
1) Relevance Description
Relevance description is a brief description (1-2 pages) explaining:
- The academic relevance of your Bachelor’s degree programme to the Master’s degree programme
- Which courses from your Bachelor’s degree programme meet the academic requirements for admission to the Master's degree programme. These requirements can be found above.
- Your career plans
2) Curriculum Vitae
Curriculum Vitae (CV) detailing relevant parts of your education as well as work-related and other experience in chronological order.
You may also attach detailed documentation connected to your resume, such as recommendations, assessments, etc. However, this is not a requirement.
3) If your Bachelor’s degree is not from Aarhus University, you must upload the academic regulations or contents of your study programme or a link pointing to them.
1st semester/E MA
2nd semester/F MA
3rd semester/E MA
aka: Profile Semester 
4th semester/F MA
Language and Social Interaction – 10 ECTS
Development of Language – 10 ECTS
1) Profile Subject
2) Project-oriented Work
3) International electives 1, 2 and 3 
Social/Linguistic Typology – 10 ECTS
Cognitive/Functional Linguistics – 10 ECTS
(max 2 research courses)
(max 3 research courses)
 The profile semester does not include courses specifically designed for third semester linguistics students, but it may be possible for the students to take profile subjects offered by the Faculty of Arts.
 International electives: students have the option of spending the semester studying abroad.
You can complete project-oriented work during the 3rd semester of your programme. The project gives you an opportunity to use your linguistic skills in a real work context.
The project must be relevant to your degree programme in a broad sense and should preferably also improve your future job prospects. In other words, you have an opportunity to create your own individual competence profile by working on a project which focuses on job and career experience.
You can find much more information about project-oriented work and internships af AUs Job and Project Bank.
As a linguistics student at the University of Aarhus, you have plenty of opportunity to participate in social events of both a study-related and a less academic nature.
- In Lingoland, a common room for students of linguistics, you can socialise with fellow students from different years. This is a pleasant place in which to relax away from your books.
- The Student Committee provides a forum for you, as a student, to influence your own degree programme. This is where teachers and students discuss topics such as practical or teaching-related problems.
- The Linguistics department has a very active commitee called ViGør which arranges both social and academic events every Friday from 13 - 15 o'clock. These are, among other things, Student Stories, LingoBio and Firday Lectures.
- Wednesday afternoons at 13 - 15 o'clock the MA Course Café arranges events for MA students only. The events are both workshops e.g. poster sessions and guest lectures about writing the MA thesis, internships and more. At every café there is a cozy atmosphere joint by obligatory coffee and cake.
On Fridays the Lingobar opens the doors for all linguistic students. There is also semester parties and Tour de Friday Bar events.
In addition, there are many other events for students at the Faculty of Arts and the University of Aarhus in general – e.g. lectures, intro days, career days, seminars, celebrations and sports days.
Student-to-student is your opportunity to ask about being a student at the Faculty of Arts and about Aarhus and Denmark in general to another international student who has already taken the leap and now lives in Denmark and studies for his/her Master's degree at the Faculty of Arts.
You can read more about the student-to-student service and find the list of AU international student ambassadors at Arts here.
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Job functions for grads
This data is derived from AU's 2013/2014 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.
The most common career paths for linguistics graduates are:
- Teaching: Linguists are experts in how to learn a language, and many graduates therefore choose a career as a teacher – e.g. at training colleges or as bilingual consultants.
- IT design: As a linguist, you acquire a thorough understanding of information structures, which can lead to a career as a software developer or web designer. Examples are e-learning programmes for language teaching or dialogue and chat systems.
- Language and communication: Many graduates work with internal and external communication in jobs such as information or project officers.
You have the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. You can apply when you have completed your Bachelor’s degree and one year of your Master’s degree studies or when you have completed your Master’s degree.
Read more about AUs PhD degree programmes.
A Master’s degree in linguistics gives you the following competences:
- Language: You have insight into language structure and function, you quickly come to grips with language and grammar, and you can apply linguistic theory to language data.
- Analysis: At the Department of Linguistics, you work with many different types of texts and are therefore able to analyse everything from fiction to advertisements, using linguistic theory and methodology.
- Communication: Linguists have an ear for language and you are therefore good at expressing yourself both verbally and in writing, and have gained experience with solving linguistic problems – a skill that can be used in teaching situations, etc.
- Problem-solving: You are skilled at identifying, assessing and solving problems relating to language and linguistics.
- Communication: With a degree in linguistics, you can help improve and simplify language and communication techniques.
Students of linguistics can study abroad if and when they choose, but the third semester is the most appropriate. Please note that it takes about a year to plan a study period abroad – no matter where you want to go!
Aarhus University collaborates with different universities in other countries. In addition, there are a number of other exchange programmes such as Erasmus agreements.
Stop by AUs Study Abroad and find inspiration, information and guidance in relation to your possibilities for studying abroad.
International student counsellor
If you would like more information about study periods abroad, you can contact the student guidance service or the international student counsellor on tel. +45 8942 6563
You will find more information about student exchanges at the International Centre.