MA in Cognitive Semiotics

Aarhus University

Program Description

MA in Cognitive Semiotics

Aarhus University


Humans experience things as meaningful; we learn by experience, we think, reason, and find new insight. We also, in addition to comprehending meaningful phenomena, constantly produce meaning through communication, science and art. On the MA in Cognitive Semiotics, we study how meaning is created in every sense of the word, whether in perception, thought, or language.

The goal of the programme is to enable our students to come up with well-substantiated answers to questions such as: What are the essential characteristics of meaning construction? How does it work in language, in perception, in our interaction with the natural world, and in the social world?

Students acquire a solid, operational knowledge of the most important aspects of meaning-making, and since human meaning construction is found in all the areas of our daily lives and activities, the programme is very transdisciplinary.


The programme comprises courses in cognitive science and its links with semiotics in social cognition, text processing and production, and cognitive aesthetics. In a research workshop, students develop their own projects.


Our aim is not just to deliver research-based instruction, but to do ‘instruction-based research’ – in other words, to give competent students the opportunity to actively contribute to ongoing research projects and participate in organising and making presentations at conferences.

Similarly, we expect students to be rationally questioning, constructively critical, active, eager for knowledge, and hard-working. We know that we have the framework for a highly qualified and insight-giving education in human meaning construction. But it is the students who make sense of the framework, by filling it with commitment, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity. Anyone who fulfils these criteria is welcome at the Centre for Semiotics. In return, we promise to take your education a very important step further.


The MA in Cognitive Science is taught at the Centre for Semiotics in a very international and informal environment. Our extensive network of international contacts means that we regularly have visits and seminars from academics who can impart expert knowledge in many areas including cognitive science, classic and modern semiotics, philosophy, cognitive psychology and linguistics, and aesthetics. The Faculty of Arts and Aarhus University also organise a wide range of events for students including lectures, student fairs, career days, seminars, celebrations and sports days.


Graduates of the MA in Cognitive Semiotics have gone on to pursue careers in fields as diverse as communication, advertising, and marketing. Some graduates also move on into teaching or research.

“I met five students from this programme at a student conference. They all presented very different topics, relating to cognitive aspects of film, narrative, language etc., but all were equally interesting and using a common framework. That’s why I decided to sign up - because this programme allowed me to study the things I was already interested in, but from a new perspective. It is also a place where I got the feeling that anyone can learn anything at any age if they really want it.”

MARLENE STAIB 4+4 (MA/PhD) Student,

MA in Cognitive Semiotics, from Germany




EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: FREE

Others: EUR 8,000



Applicants to the MA programme must have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a subject in the humanities. Certain bachelor’s degree programmes not belonging to these two categories may be accepted by the Board of Studies at the Institute for Communication and Culture if the candidate for admission is able to argue convincingly for the relevance of their bachelor’s degree.

As the Master’s programme admits only a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme. The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark or GPA of the bachelor’s degree at the time of application, as well as personal factors such as motivation and the relevance of the programme. Marks obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA.

Please note: If there are more academically qualified applicants than places available, applicants will be assessed according to the following criteria: academic background (counts 75 percent), based on the number and quality of BA exams relevant to the MA programme; and other relevant experience (counts 25 percent), based on the CV and the applicant’s statement of relevance.


The Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics is one of the nine departments at the School of Communication and Culture at the Faculty of Arts.

The teaching at the department is not only research-based, but also research oriented. Students are encouraged to collect and analyse data and to design and carry out experiments, either alone or in cooperation with the research staff. In the best cases, the students get their research published. Students regularly present their research to fellow students and staff at research seminars.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated March 6, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
2 years
Full time
8,000 EUR
Denmark - Aarhus
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
Denmark - Aarhus
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Tuition fee per year; EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: FREE