Theoretical Linguistics - master

Varighet: 2 år

Foto: Edvard Kristiansen -
Foto: Edvard Kristiansen -

Theoretical Linguistics - master

Varighet: 2 År

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April, EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March, Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November
How to apply?

The Master in Theoretical Linguistics is the flagship research programme built around the internationally active research group in formal linguistics at UiT. The programme provides a grounding in formal aspects of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology, to prepare students for their own research in language description and analysis. This course of study emphasizes the ways in which languages are formally similar, but also different in highly intricate and specific ways. The programme is especially suited to students interested in working on understudied languages, or engaged in comparative and micro-comparative research.

Spørsmål om studiet
Telefon: +47 77660793

Informasjon om studiestart

The Master's of Philosophy in Theoretical Linguistics covers graduate level studies in theoretical linguistics, and is to be seen as an extension of work at the Bachelor's level. The programme places special emphasis on the formal aspects of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology. The approach to these disciplines relies on comparative studies of many languages. Students will develop insight into the structure of language, comparative aspects of linguistic research, social and geographic variation, the historical development of languages and language acquisition. At the Master's level, students will develop special interests based on their coursework and will write either a Master's Thesis or two article-length papers.

The programme consists of the following components:

  • 60 ECTS of coursework and
  • 60 ECTS for either (1) one thesis, or (2) two articles.

The two elective ten credit courses can come from any 3000-level course in language or linguistics offered by the groups for English and General Linguistics, Finnish/Kven, Nordic, Russian, Saami, and Spanish. Note that elective courses must be oriented to theory of language rather than practical language learning. By application, other courses may be accepted (e.g. courses in philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and so on), as long as their relevance to the degree can be documented.

Interdisciplinary courses
Several "interdisciplinary" courses are offered, and these courses are assigned a HIF-code in the university course catalogue. Not all of the HIF-courses, however, may be appropriate for incorporation into the programme. To find out which HIF-courses are accepted as part of the Master in Theoretical Linguistics, please contact the programme staff.

The following courses are compulsory in Semester 1: HIF-3010 Syntax I, and HIF-3022 Phonology I. In addition students are required to complete an elective course.

The following courses are compulsory in Semester 2: HIF-3011 Syntax II, and HIF-3021 Phonology II. In addition students are required to complete an elective course.

Master's Thesis
The degree includes 60 ECTS which must be earned either (i) by writing one Master's Thesis (60 ECTS) or (ii) by writing two papers (30 ECTS each). This work is normally done individually, but may be part of a research project being carried out at the Department of Language and Culture (ISK). The topic and supervisors for this work will be chosen in consultation with one of the academic staff. There is no other restriction on the subfield of linguistics that the thesis should deal with, but it is expected that the content be contextualized to reflect an understanding of the relevant issues from linguistic theory. This applies also to those opting to write two papers, but in this case the two papers cannot be in the same subfield.

After completing the Master's programme in Theoretical Linguistics the candidate will have the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge - the candidate has:

  • specialised knowledge of a linguistic subfield through work with the Master's Thesis
  • deeper knowledge of theoretical linguistics through the study of core subjects
  • broadened knowledge of adjoining fields through elective courses
  • a critical view of the theories and methods that have been informing linguistic research

Skills - the candidate can:

  • orient himself or herself in linguistic scientific literature with special regard to the development of theory and methods, and to earlier research
  • solve problems, analyze linguistic data, and present findings according to academic standards
  • communicate scientific content at a high level

General competence - the candidate is able to:

  • work in occupations that require thorough knowledge of human language and/or experience with independent project work
  • analyze academic, professional and research ethical problems in linguistics
  • apply his/her knowledge and skills in new linguistic areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects
  • communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of linguistics
  • communicate about linguistic issues, analyses and conclusions, both with specialists and the general public
  • contribute to new thinking and innovation processes in linguistic theorizing

The programme is an excellent starting-point for further study at the PhD-level.

It also qualifies candidates for work in occupations that require specialized insight into language and/or experience with independent project work, for example programming, administration, industry or the media.

In addition to the complusory courses in Semester 1, students are required to complete an elective ten credit course.
In addition to the compulsory courses in Semester 2, students are required to complete an elective ten credit course. 

The two elective courses can come from any 3000-level course in language or linguistics offered by the groups for English and General Linguistics. Other courses may be accepted (e.g. courses in philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and so on), subject to approval by the Head of Linguistics and English Language.

In Semester 3 and 4 the compulsory course is LIN-3990 Master’s Thesis in Linguistics 

Admission to the Master's programme in Theoretical Linguistics requires a Bachelor's Degree (180 ECTS), or equivalent qualification, in a language or linguistics, or a degree combining linguistics and literature (minimum 80 ECTS in linguistics/language/literature, of which minimum 60 ECTS must be in linguistics and/or language).

Applicants need an average minimum grade of C or better from the bachelor's degree to be admitted to the master's program.

A special interest in the formal and descriptive properties of natural language is a precondition.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

Applicants from EU/EEA and Switzerland:

  • The application deadline for EU/EEA and Swiss applicants is 1 March.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars. The Master's in Theoretical Linguistics is a demanding programme that requires the student to work throughout the term. The students are expected to spend 37.5 hours per week on their studies, including preparation for lectures and seminars, work on term papers and other assignments.

As a Master's student, you will be assigned a supervisor who will monitor your progress throughout your studies. The Master's Thesis will be assigned a grade (from A to F); the coursework will be graded on the same scale. For information about examinations, please see the individual course descriptions.

The language of instruction and all syllabus material, and of exams is English.

On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD in Linguistics.

Exchange studies abroad will make you more attractive on the job market. Studies abroad will increase your learning outcomes, improve your language skills, give you unique adventures and international experience. Students taking the Master's in Theoretical Linguistics are encouraged to make use of one of our exchange agreements in the second semester.

For an updated overview of exchange universities, please take a look at UiT's webpage on student exchange.

The application deadlines are:

1 February (autumn semester)
1 September (spring semester)

Studiested Land
University of Constance Tyskland
Eötvös Loránd University Ungarn
The Norwegian Study Centre Storbritannia og Nord-Irland


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