Universiteit Leiden

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Linguistics (BA)

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and an important way of understanding what it means to be human. The BA in Linguistics is your chance to explore the world through this fascinating lens at one of the world’s leading institutes in the field.

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Why study Linguistics?

The BA in Linguistics develops your knowledge on one of the most intriguing aspects of human knowledge and behaviour: language. Studying linguistics means learning about the fundamentals of human language, from its many sounds and sentence structures to the ways in which language influences how we think about the world. At Leiden University, it also means exciting and interactive lectures, an expansive curriculum that covers every corner of the globe and the most intriguing topics, and the flexibility to define your own educational experience. With the freedom to follow your own interests and exceptional support from our lecturers, the BA in Linguistics will give you the edge to succeed in any career you choose.

The city centre of Leiden is covered in them: wall poems. When roaming around, you come across poetry written in the Latin alphabet, but also in scripts that might be more difficult to understand for the average person visiting Leiden. In a new series of videos, linguist Tijmen Pronk talks more about this. Continue reading.

Luuk Suurmeijer


Luuk Suurmeijer

“I’ve always been good at languages, but because I’m not interested in literature I decided to follow a programme that focuses purely on language. I also wanted to study language in general and not a specific language. I’m really interested in how language is embedded in our brains and how that differs across the world.”

Alwin Kloekhorst

University Lecturer

Alwin Kloekhorst

“Linguistics at Leiden is a very broad programme. Anyone who is interested in language, who questions where words come from, or how Geert Wilders manages to wind people up with his pronouncements, will be fascinated by the curriculum. If you are not yet sure which area interests you most, don’t worry: you will be introduced to the different specialisations during the programme. By the time you graduate you will understand every type of linguistic expression – sentences, words, and sounds – inside out.”

Why Linguistics at Leiden University?

  • Join a university where over 60 languages are taught and researched. Leiden University is one of a handful of universities in the world with such a concentration of language academics and specialists.
  • Specialise in what interests you most. With four separate study tracks and a wide range of electives and additional educational opportunities, you can customise your degree to meet your goals.
  • Learn in small classes where you can enjoy regular, quality interaction with your teachers and fellow students.
  • Gain the best start to your career. A linguistics qualification from Leiden University is respected by organisations worldwide.

Is this the right programme for you?

The BA in Linguistics delivers in-depth knowledge in the field of linguistics covering all corners of the world, as well as research and general academic skills in effective analysis, critical thinking, writing, and presenting.

Is this the right programme for you?

  • Are you fascinated by language in general, such as what makes a speech convincing, the process via which children acquire languages, and the history and diversity of languages in the world?
  • Are you interested in exploring the areas in which Linguistics intercepts with knowledge from psychology, neuroscience and computer science?
  • Do you like taking a logical approach to problem-solving?

Then you should consider applying to the BA in Linguistics at Leiden University.

Online Experience Linguistics

Want to know if this is the right study for you? Check out our online experience and find out more. This experience consists of online mini-courses with a few assignments.
Take the online experience!

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about student life in Leiden, studying at Leiden University or do you want more information about this course? You can get in contact with a student from the Linguistics bachelor's programme directly!

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