Studiegids

nl en

The Programme

The programme and its requirements

The Leiden University Research Master’s programme in Linguistics provides intensive and comprehensive training covering the entire range of present-day linguistic research. Students need to earn 120 EC in total, including a thesis of 30 EC.

The basic programme consists of:

  • 40 EC of compulsory components

  • 50 EC of electives

  • 30 EC thesis

Compulsory Components (40 EC)
All the compulsory components are taught at research master level. This means they equal level 600 according to the programme structure at Leiden University.

  • Core Courses (20 EC): Students have to take two compulsory core courses - one in each year - each worth 10 EC (20 EC in total). The core courses cover the broad theoretical and methodological aspects of diversity in linguistics.

  • Topics in Linguistics (10 EC): Besides the core courses, students have to take two topics courses, each worth 5 EC (10 EC in total). These short, current-research-oriented courses change every year.

  • LOT Research School (10 EC): Students must attend courses at a research school to obtain the remaining 10 credits of the compulsory package. The recommended research school to do so is LOT, the Netherlands National Graduate School of Linguistics.

Electives (50 EC)
The ways to obtain elective credits are as follows. Students can:

  • take more courses offered in the programme of the research master’s in Linguistics; more Topics in Linguistics courses;

  • choose courses within the Master’s programme in Linguistics from among the courses offered by the specialisations ‘Linguistics’ and ‘Modern Languages’ ;

  • take courses via the RM Mobility Programme in ResMA Linguistics Programmes all over the Netherlands;

  • select other linguistic courses within other Master's programmes in Leiden. You may search for such courses in this Prospectus, on the web pages and timetables of various departments. Such courses need to have at least the 500 level and are subject to prior approval by the Board of Examiners of Linguistics;

  • organize tutorials with an LUCL professor. Tutorials are small-scale classes worth 5 or 10 EC (subject to prior approval by the Board of Examiners). Please discuss the possibilities with the expert lecturers and consult the study adviser;

  • take some courses at another university in the Netherlands or abroad. Approval from the Board of Examiners is required in advance. The usual limit is a maximum of 15 EC at another Dutch university and maximum 30 EC abroad;

  • take courses at Research Schools in the Humanities. Such courses are subject to prior approval by the Board of Examiners of Linguistics;

  • do an internship (10 or 20 EC). For more information, please contact the Humanities Career Service and the study adviser.

First year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Core course

Core: Samples of Linguistic Structure 10

Topics in Linguistics (10 EC required in two years)

Topics in Linguistics: Advanced L1 Acquisition: the Developing Speaker 5
Topics in Linguistics: Sign Linguistics 5
Topics in Linguistics: Tone and Intonation 5
Topics in Linguistics: Language, Culture and Society 5
Topics in Linguistics: Introduction to descriptive statistics and programming in R for Linguists 5

LOT School

LOT Lab Rotation 5
LOT Summer School/Winter School 5

Electives (50 EC required in two years)

Electives ResMA Linguistics
Research School courses in the humanities 10

Second year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Recommended course

Due to a programme change, this course will be offered as a recommended elective for students who started in academic year 2023-2024 and will be in their second year in 2024-2025.
Second year students who have not yet earned 20 EC of Core Courses in their first year (according to the First year programme in Prospectus 2023-24), can take this course as a Core Course (20 EC required in two years).

Core: Academic Skills for Linguists 10

Thesis

Linguistics (research) Thesis 30

Topics in Linguistics (10 EC required in two years)

Topics in Linguistics: Advanced L1 Acquisition: the Developing Speaker 5
Topics in Linguistics: Sign Linguistics 5
Topics in Linguistics: Tone and Intonation 5
Topics in Linguistics: Language, Culture and Society 5
Topics in Linguistics: Introduction to descriptive statistics and programming in R for Linguists 5

LOT School

LOT Lab Rotation 5
LOT Summer School/Winter School 5

Electives (50 EC required in two years)

Electives ResMA Linguistics
Research School courses in the humanities 10

More info

Objectives Programme Admission Structure Requirements for graduation

Objectives

The Leiden University research master’s programme in Linguistics provides intensive and comprehensive training covering the entire range of present-day linguistic research. The end of the 20th century witnessed a return of the interest in the diversity of human languages in virtually all existing approaches to linguistics. While descriptive, historical, and anthropological linguists have traditionally emphasised the variability of languages, scholars working in structuralist traditions aiming to uncover specific linguistic universal themes have also recognised the challenge posed by the immense variation between and within languages, and have started to develop theories and methods in attempts to meet it. Students in the Research Master’s Linguistics programme receive education and training that introduces them to and prepares them for innovative research at the front line of present-day linguistic investigation along the lines presented above.

Completion of a Research Master’s degree in Linguistics qualifies graduates for the pursuit of a PhD research project. At the same time, graduates will have acquired good credentials for working as a consultant or employee for an international or governmental agency, multinational business enterprise or non-governmental organisation. Because of the unique curriculum of the programme and the research experience accrued, graduates are an asset to any undertaking in the areas of sustainable development, investigative journalism, social engineering, education planning, and human resource management in a multicultural and multilingual context.

Programme

The Research Master in Linguistics is a specialised research-based programme offered at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL). This two-year programme is designed to prepare students for a career in research, for example as a PhD student. The programme is based on the expertise present within LUCL, specifically in the areas of language diversity and the languages of the world.

The students need to earn 120 EC in total. The programme consists of obligatory and elective courses, worth in total 90 EC. In the first year, all students of Linguistics (research) follow two core courses. The first core course is Research Methods in Linguistics.
In the core course Samples of Linguistic Structure, you get an overview of the grammar of typically four or five languages from different language families. This course gives you a broad overview of language variation – the focus point of linguistic research in Leiden. All students should take two Topics courses during their programme and are advised to take at least one, preferably two of these courses in their first year.

You can choose the remaining EC in the first year from a list of various courses on topics ranging from approaches to language variation and language change to more disciplinary courses in syntax, phonology, semantics and phonetics or courses about the linguistics of individual languages. In addition, numerous conferences, workshops and lecture series are organised by LUCL and all students are encouraged to attend. Students should also do 10 EC worth of courses from the LOT summer/winter schools.

In the third semester, you are encouraged to take further courses from this broad range, and are further expected to follow (at least) two or three short research seminars in which researchers talk about their current research. In the fourth and last semester you write a thesis under supervision of one of the LUCL Professors, who can also guide you towards a submission for a PhD Position, if this is what you wish.

Admission

  • A BA-degree with a relevant specialisation from a recognised university;

  • Good grades comparable with an average mark of at least 7.5 (Dutch grading system) for the entire bachelor’s programme, and a grade for the bachelor’s thesis of an 8 or higher;

  • Sufficient command of English (IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 (internet-based) or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE); for the ‘speaking’ and ‘writing’ components a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL22 is required)

Selection takes place by considering not only the final mark for the Bachelor’s thesis and the level of command of the English language, but several other aspects as well. Important factors are motivation and eagerness to carry out scientific research, as should be demonstrated in the documents required for the admission procedure and/or interview with the candidate.

Structure

All students admitted to the programme participate in a common set of courses providing them with the necessary foundations for further training and research, through confrontation with research methods and results in different approaches to linguistic diversity, presented by specialists in the field. By choosing a particular composition of courses within this common framework, a student may opt for an established or personalised study track, also aimed at a specific type of career. Tracks may also be characterised by special emphasis on the combination of studied languages.

Requirements for Graduation

In order to graduate, students must have completed 90 EC worth of courses and have written a Research Master’s thesis. The thesis needs to be written under the supervision of a lecturer affiliated with the LUCL (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics) and evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader (selected by the supervisor). It must show that the student is capable of analysing existing literature in a critical manner, and of conducting independent research. Moreover, this process must be recorded in an academically sound report. A research master’s thesis is worth 30 EC. It should consist of max. 30,000 words.

Also see: Course and Examination Regulations (OER)

Career Preparation