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Course content


The very fact that we have and use languages is part of what makes us human. Many different languages are spoken in the world. In this programme, you get to reflect on their structures and what drives language variation and change.

Communicating by means of language is a crucial ingredient of success in modern society. You will learn the principles of first language acquisition, and what is special about learning more languages. The programme also satisfies your curiosity to know more about the way language is processed in the brain and how we use it. The key focus of the Research Master’s programme in Linguistics is on the cognitive faculties underlying human language, and their interaction.


This two-year Research Master’s programme in Linguistics brings together students from all over the world who combine their unique talents and backgrounds with a shared interest in languages, and the way language is embedded in human cognition.


The programme offers a broad focus on:

  • theoretical linguistics (phonology, syntax, semantics)
  • psycholinguistics (language acquisition, language processing)
  • language use (discourse studies, bilingualism, phonetics, historical linguistics)

You will acquire a solid background in all three domains, and then choose a series of elective courses in order to specialise in one area. You will receive training in empirical, computational, and experimental methodology, and you will practice designing, planning, and carrying out a research project during your internship and thesis work.


  • You are equipped with a broad understanding of the field of linguistics, and in-depth knowledge of a particular linguistics subdiscipline.
  • You have learned to apply your knowledge to new topics and to reflect critically on existing knowledge and current research.
  • You have acquired the academic, communication and methodological skills that prepare you for carrying out your own research.
  • In your internship and thesis under the supervision of senior researchers of the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, you have learned to formulate original research questions, and develop answers.
  • You have started building a network in linguistics through participation in lecture series, workshops and the national LOT schools that will give you a head start in your postgraduate career.

As a graduate of the Research Master Linguistics, you will be highly eligible for a PhD position or for a position within a public or private organisation. Many alumni pursue academic careers, while others obtain traineeships in natural language resource firms, junior research positions in international organisations and research facilities, teaching positions in secondary schools and colleges, etc. Read more about possible career prospects.

Visit the Linguistics - MA page on the Utrecht University website for more details!





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