Skip to main content

Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations | Master

Photo: Karin Pelte

The master’s degree program Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations (language of instruction: English) provides in-depth theoretical knowledge in all core areas of grammar (phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics) as well as empirical investigation methods to obtain linguistic data. As a methodological focus, students can choose between experimental methods of psycholinguistics / neurolinguistics and field research.

NameLinguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations
DegreeMaster of Science
Standard period of study4 semesters
Credit points120
Language of instructionEnglish
Start of study (1st semester)Winter semester
Fees & ChargesSemester fees and charges: yes
Tuition fees: no

Program Content

The master’s degree program Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations (language of instruction: English) is an interdisciplinary course of studies. It deepens the subject-specific knowledge, methods, and skills acquired in the field of empirical and theoretical linguistics during bachelor’s studies. The degree program combines the formal implementation of findings in modern grammar models for all core areas (phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics) with experimental investigation methods and field research. The program provides comprehensive, detailed, and specialized knowledge in formal and experimental linguistics. Students will be taught to recognize and analyze current research trends, to critically reflect on them, and to develop their own research questions as well as the methods to answer them.

Course Objective and Future Career Options

The master's program Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations aims to provide its graduates with a thorough command of the methods of linguistics and with the specialized knowledge that will enable them to make their own scientific contribution in the research focus of their choice, which also qualifies them to continue their academic studies (doctorate).

The program is research-oriented and imparts personal and decision-making skills in the context of project work and research-related internships, which open up career opportunities for the graduates as executives in research, innovation, and development. Graduates will acquire technical and conceptual skills to solve strategic problems, are able to weigh alternatives (even with incomplete information), develop new processes, and apply appropriate assessment standards. English as a teaching language enables them to work scientifically and professionally in an English-speaking environment.

Their outstanding expertise of the language system as well as basic statistical and programming skills qualify them for the primary fields of work science, research, and innovation, but also for starting a career outside of academia with a focus on language (such as documentation, specialist journalism, editorial work, advising on development of user-oriented tools, e.g. for communication).

Prerequisites for Admission to the Master’s Program

In general, the prerequisite for studying in a master’s degree program is a first professionally qualifying academic degree, e.g. a bachelor’s degree. You should have completed your first degree in a linguistics subject relevant to the master’s program, such as linguistics, general / theoretical linguistics, clinical / patholinguistics, computational linguistics, linguistics of an individual language with 180 CP or in another course with a linguistic component of at least 90 CP (or 50% of the respective total number of points). Applicants must demonstrate language skills in English that are at least equivalent to level B2 of the European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Please refer to the respective Admission Regulations for more information on the specific admission requirements.

Program Structure

As part of the four-semester degree program, you will earn a total of 120 credit points from the following English-language modules and your thesis.

For more information, please read the Subject-Specific Rules and Regulations or contact the Departmental Advisor.



Credit points

I. Introductory phase (compulsory)

In the introductory modules, students acquire knowledge in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, statistics, and programming required for further study. All three modules have to be completed.

30 CP

Introduction to phonology and morphology

Introduction to syntax and semantics

Statistics and programming

9 CP

9 CP

12 CP

II. Specializiation phase (elective)

The compulsory elective modules expand the students’ level of knowledge acquired in the introductory modules and familiarize them in detail with the current state of research and research methods used in the core areas of linguistics. Three modules have to be completed.

36 CP






12 CP

12 CP

12 CP

12 CP

12 CP

III. Empirical Methods (elective)

The compulsory elective modules impart in-depth methodological knowledge in empirical research / field research. A module with 12 credit points must be completed.

12 CP

Neurolinguistics and Psycholinguistics

Field Research

12 CP

12 CP

IV. Advanced Phase (elective)

In the compulsory elective modules, students expand the knowledge they have acquired so far and concentrate on a selected field of linguistics. A module with 12 credit points must be completed.

12 CP

MPL Psycholinguistics

MTL Theoretical linguistics

12 CP

12 CP

Master thesis30 CP
Total120 CP


Department of Linguistics

Dr. Stavroula Sotiropoulou | Departmental Advising

Advantages at a Glance

Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations is a research-focused degree program that combines theoretical foundations with empirical methods. Our employees actively participate in numerous (also international) co-operations and third-party funded projects.

In light of the actual life situation of students, the University of Potsdam has introduced the possibility of part-time study for many degree programs. This also applies to Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations. For more information, see Part-Time Studies at the University of Potsdam.


Have you decided for a Master's Program in Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations at the University of Potsdam? Then you should take the next step on the application pages to find out more about current application and enrollment procedures.


Department of Linguistics

Dr. Stavroula Sotiropoulou | Departmental Advising


This description is partly based on the Study and Examination Regulations for the English-language master’s program Linguistics: Empirical and Theoretical Foundations at the University of Potsdam of February 12, 2020 (Bulletin no. 7/20, p. 267).