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Master's Degree Programme

About the programme
Language: English  (See language requirements)  |  Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / September (no winter intake)


Linguists study language in its most general and fundamental sense. In our daily lives, we are surrounded by language, and linguists seek to understand how humans use sound, writing, sign and gesture to encode and convey meaning. They develop descriptions of and theories explaining the structure, use, and evolution of language, and they investigate language in its interpersonal and cultural contexts. Linguists conduct research on the cognitive, social and neurobiological processes involved in producing and understanding language; on the development of these processes in childhood; on clinical disruptions to these processes; on the historical and cultural processes involved in the evolution and use of language; on the role language and dialect play in society and cultural identity; and on the structural characteristics that distinguish the world’s languages. Increasingly, linguists also contribute to the development of language technologies such as speech recognition, machine translation, and automatic text parsing.

Collaboration, relevance and independence

On the linguistics MA, you will complete courses on linguistic theory, on language in use, on universals and typology, on experimental and statistical methods for studying language, and on computational methods (including programming). The MA also includes the opportunity to complete a project placement related to linguistics with an external organization, and to conduct your own research in a Masters thesis.   


Graduates with an MA degree in Linguistics have a well-defined, yet broad set of opportunities for finding employment and contributing to society. These opportunities can be grouped under three main career trajectories: Traditional language services, Social language services, and Computational language services (see below for examples).

To prepare students for work in these areas, the MA program includes courses on linguistic theory and practice, including courses on grammatical theory, interactional linguistics, typology, psycho/neurolinguistics, and computational linguistics. Students also complete a research topic, and gain real world experience by completing a project placement. The program concludes with a research thesis, in which students conduct independent research in a particular area within linguistics. In addition to working together with the thesis advisor, theses may also be completed in collaboration with an external organization.

Admission requirements

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.

Other qualifications can provide admission to the Master’s degree programme, provided the university assesses that their level, extent and content correspond to the degrees mentioned above. The corresponding Bachelor’s degree should as a minimum include:

  • 30 ECTS in linguistics
  • 30 ECTS in one or more of the following: linguistics, a language, anthropology, psychology, sociology, literature

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 with a 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 for admission to the Master’s degree programme no later than three years after completion of the Bachelor’s degree programme. The legal right of admission requires receipt of the application by Aarhus University within the appropriate period of time.

Selection criteria

If there are more academically qualified applicants than places available, each applicant will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  1. Academic background (counts 75%)
    Based on the amount and quality of BA exams that are relevant to the MA-program.
  2. 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.

Language Requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of English B (Danish upper secondary school level).

Read how to document your language qualifications

Programme structure

Academic regulations

The following table shows the structure of the degree programme. More information about the structure and content can be found in the academic regulations.

Project-oriented work

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.

Student life

The Master’s degree programme in Linguistics is a full-time course corresponding to 37-40 hours of work a week. Even though you may not have to attend lectures or classes every day, you should expect to spend quite a lot of time preparing for the teaching and meeting your study group.

A typical week at the Master's degree in Linguistics

8-10 Reading
10-13 Class in Language in context
14-16 Instructor in Experimental Psycholinguistics

8-10 Reading
10-12 Lecture in Experimental Psycholinguistics
13-16 Study group work

9-12 Study group work
12-16 Reading

8-10 Reading
10-12 Class in Experimental Psycholinguistics
13-16 Reading

8-11 Class in Grammatical Theory: A functional approach
12-15 Reading
16-?? Friday bar

There are about 100 students of linguistics at Aarhus University, and the study environment is extremely friendly and lively. The students have their own facilities and organize a wide range of academic and social activities. There is also close contact between the teachers and students – not only in the teaching, supervision and project work, but also because the students have the chance to take part in research alongside the academic staff. Here are some of the activities and projects which our students take part in:

  • Lingoland is the students’ own common room, where all the different year groups meet. It’s a place for studying, talking, relaxing, reading and simply hanging out.
  • ViGør: This is a student committee that hosts a range of social events every Friday, including a variety of lectures and what they call “student stories” and “Lingospilledage”. 
  • DanTIN is a group of researchers consisting of students, PhD students and researchers. They run samtalegrammatik.dk, as well as carrying out research and giving presentations about grammar in conversational Danish.
  • KOMMABAR is a Friday bar for everyone involved in the study of linguistics and Scandinavian language and literature at AU.
  • SOLIA: The organization, SOLIA, corporates with students and educators to create your own language(s). Do you have a project that lacks a constructed language, or do you want to immerse yourself further in your linguistic knowledge, then you can do a little bit of everything at SOLIA – Student Organization of Language Invention Aarhus.
  • Lingoblog.dk: A multilingual platform that provides fun, knowledge, quizzes, and informed opinions on language and linguistics (the science of language) to all with a passion for languages.
  • Language as a Tool for Learning    
  • LICS Student council, The Basal Gang. Together, Cognitive Science and Linguistics form a student council that jointly organises meetings and events aimed at promoting the academic enviroment in the studies.

Keep an eye on all the academic activities going on at the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics.

The University Park campus – a unique place

The main Aarhus University campus is unique, with buildings closely grouped together and surrounded by nature. The campus is conveniently situated close to the city centre, and student accommodation is readily available as long as you apply on time. There are a range of activities, ranging from running to regatta on the lake, as well as guest lectures, film screenings, and university events taking place throughout the year. To ensure student well-being, counselling services are available for students, to offer support and guidance during their time at Aarhus.

Aarhus as a city

As the second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus is a young and dynamic place with plenty of opportunities. The 40,000 students at the university make up 17.5% of the city’s population, which leaves its mark on city life. An attractive feature of Aarhus is that there are beaches and woods a short bike-ride away, as well as cultural events taking place throughout the year, including the Aarhus Festival in September. The theatres in the city and the ARoS international art museum offer many events that enable you to experience the Danish culture.

Why choose Aarhus? See studyguide.au.dk and get all practical information about being an international student. 

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #AUInternational, #AarhusUni gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.

The photos belong to the users, shared with #AUInternational and #AarhusUni.

Meet our Master's graduates in Linguistics

You can get an overview of potential jobs with a Master's degree in Linguistics by watching the four presentations below.

  • Marie Møller: Teacher at Sprogcenter Midt. Specialised in teaching Danish as a second language
  • Lise Bækgaard Brinck: Datalinguist at Vitec MV. Specialised in reading and writing technologies
  • Kasper Fyhn Jacobsen: Natural Language Processing Engineer at Cactus Communications. Specialised in large-scale NLP pipelines
  • Signe Thy Thomsen: Reading Consultant at Kompetencecenter for Læsning (KCL). Specialised in reading (disabilities)


Job functions for grads

The chart shows the five most common types of work for graduates 1-2 years after finishing their degree. The data is derived from a survey made by Epinion for the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and Aarhus University in 2020.

Job profile

Graduates with a Master’s degree in Linguistics have detailed insight into all aspects of oral and written language, as well as great understanding of information structures. Common jobs for graduates from the program fall into one of three categories:

  • Traditional language services. These are services that involve working with spoken and written language directly. Examples of traditional language services include translation and interpretation, language education, text production and editing, and communication.
  • Social language services. These are services that involve working with people to increase social welfare and contribute to social good. Examples of social language services include childhood language evaluation and intervention, evaluation and support for adults with reading and writing disorders, further education in language topics for early childhood teachers and caregivers, and linguistic integration in immigration.
  • Computational language services. These are services that involve working with data, algorithms, and software. Examples include natural language processing and language analytics, and development or application of automated systems for language transcription, translation, and voice recognition, or development of tools or resources for computational applications (corpora, annotation). 

Career paths

Still curious about career opportunities? Watch the video where graduate Sara V. Løppenthin Stendevad talks about her job as a Senior Communications & Sustainability Consultant at NNIT specialising in strategic communication.

You can find inspiration for potential career paths in the Arts Career alumnus portraits of Master’s graduates from the Faculty of Arts.