Universiteit Leiden

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Linguistics (MA)

About the Programme

The master's programme in Linguistics is a one-year programme that offers a wide range of perspectives on the history, structure and use of language, and teaches you to contribute to this broad field in your own area of interest.

Programme overview

The programme has three specialisations, and offers a wide range of courses that can be combined according to specific thematic or disciplinary routes, which allow you to tailor your study programme to your personal interests.

  • In the Modern Languages specialisation, you study one of the following languages: Chinese, English, French, German, or Italian. Courses are offered in the language of study. In the elective part of the program you can focus on one of the thematic or disciplinary routes, Second Language Learning or Language and Literature. In addition to these two, there is the possibility of creating your own thematic or disciplinary route depending on your specific interests. This programme also prepares you for the educational Master at ICLON.
  • In the Linguistics specialisation, a linguistic theme forms the basis of the various thematic or disciplinary routes: Language Description and Documentation, Theoretical or Experimental Approaches to Linguistics, Language Use and Communication, Language Acquisition, and Forensic and Phonetic Speech Science. In addition, there is the possibility of creating your own thematic or disciplinary route depending on your specific interests.
  • In the Translation (Dutch/Engish) specialisation, you receive a step-by-step academic training in the art of translation, its theoretical underpinning and practice.

The master's programme in Linguistics comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 40 credits for core courses, electives, or an internship
  • 20 credits for a Master's thesis

For a more detailed programme structure, please check the specialisation of your interest.

All specialisations are offered in Full-time. English Language and Linguistics, French Language and Linguistics, and Translation in Theory and Practice are offered in Part-time as well.

You can tailor the programme to your own interest through a range of electives that cater to various thematic and disciplinary interests.

In order to gain work experience or to explore the professional field, you can do an internship (10 EC) as part of your studies through the Career Service of the Humanities faculty. Within the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, it may be possible to do an internship at one of the Experimental Linguistics Labs, or to exploring the world of scientific research together with an experienced researcher is possible through an individual project.


The programme is concluded with a Master's thesis (20 EC), which reflects your thematic or disciplinary route. Within the Modern Languages specialisation, the thesis can be written in the language of specialisation: English, French, German, or Italian. 

The thesis may reflect a wide range of topics, ranging from a linguistic analysis of a language, a linguistic comparison of languages, an experiment performed in one of the Linguistics Labs, an analysis of political speeches, a study of language policies, an annotated translation, to a language description, and more.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Claartje Levelt


Claartje Levelt

"We offer an exceptional range of subject areas and theoretical approaches, due to our affiliation with the Leiden University's Centre for Linguistics (LUCL). The Linguistics specialisation offers thematic programmes that you can choose from, which represent the different specialisations within the university's centre for linguistics and the programme. There are also a lot of experimental labs within the institute and programme. This way, you can as a MA student get hands-on experience with experimental research in several labs. You also have to possibility to do field work, such as individual projects or an internship."

Claudio Di Felice

Researcher and University Lecturer

Claudio Di Felice

“The learning dynamics within this MA will help you build your curriculum, developing in you the language and editorial skills that employers are looking for, as well as the strong analytical skills needed for a career in research.”

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