MA in Semiotics


Program Description

Semiotics is an ancient discipline with a long history, which has gained a firm theoretical foundation during the 19th century and an ever-growing significance over the last 50 years. This discipline is now in a period of very intensive, concentrated research and self-identification on the map of contemporary science.

The interdisciplinary Semiotics MA program at ELTE trains students to become well-trained specialists in semiotics of culture with a global overview of the various fields of humanities: literary studies, linguistics, philosophy, visual arts and general art studies – including approaches to the fine arts, films, theatre and music – and also the most contemporary methods of research synthesized from a semiotic methodological point of view. At the same time, choosing the specific field for degree thesis students can gain specialized knowledge in one subfield of the semiotics of humanities (e.g., the literary, visual, musical, theoretical semiotics, and ethnosemiotics). The program is designed to be flexible to motivate students to find the best Hungarian specialists in the given field and assist them to become involved in international research and dialogues with foreign scholars and lecturers. The curriculum consists of courses on the history and theory of semiotics; language, communication, texts, and translation; theory of meaning, logic, argumentation; field studies of cultural, national and special semiotic systems; various forms of applied semiotics and semiotic pragmatics in general. The program also puts emphasis on the preparation of students for Ph.D. studies to plan their research careers.

This program is recommended to applicants who wish to acquire skills for analysing processes of communication (mediation, translation) in culture and the results of these processes (texts, artefacts, events etc.) arising from the past and in the digital age, in a great variety of media and discourse representations to be described and evaluated as they constantly change through creative cultural interactivity.

This program enables students to become versatile experts on culture, having substantial knowledge and competence in understanding, analyzing and influencing both general and specific cultural phenomena and the various forms of interaction and pragmatic exchange, and innovative system construction in general.

Strength of program

  • An interdisciplinary orientation within the humanities.
  • The application of the valuable research and methodological results of classical semiotics linking them to the most recent scholarly results in the discipline.
  • Equilibrium in teaching semiotic theory and its implications in applied semiotics.
  • Flexibility in encouraging students to find their own subfield by enabling their specialization (free option possibilities built in the curriculum).
  • International context for research and education.
  • Offering perspectives for students for doctoral studies in other directions, not restricted to semiotics.

Career opportunities

The labor market for specialists with an MA degree in semiotics includes job opportunities for experts who are expected to have the skills to:

  • Understand current cultural movements.
  • Grasp and describe the developmental logic in contemporary arts and the various forms of intercultural communication both within social interaction and national and international cultural texts.
  • Interpret and describe different media and message transfer processes.
  • Analyze conflict, argumentation systems and philosophical discourse in any field which can be interpreted from the point of view of sign system constructions;
  • Build models, typologies and create system-descriptions.

Also, jobs may be found in fields linked to applied semiotics (e.g. sign system translation activities; analysis of behavior symptoms in the work-place; symptom-interpretation in various social or workgroups; activities for handling situations in spheres where special sign systems are involved, etc.).

Job examples
  • Researchers at universities, in museums;
  • Copywriters, journalists, cultural critics;
  • Scriptwriters for video games; enterprises;
  • Translators;
  • IT specialists;
  • PR specialists.

Admission requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a university bachelor’s degree (or an equivalent college degree) in the fields listed below. Full credit acknowledgment is only given for a bachelor’s degree in the field of Arts and Humanities.

In the case of diplomas from social sciences, informatics, law, natural sciences, contemporary and applied arts, each degree will be considered individually. The applicant must have 50 credits (but at least 20 credits to enter the program) in the fields of aesthetics, philosophy, historical study, linguistics, literature, cultural and art studies.

Transcripts from your bachelor's degree as well as course descriptions will be requested.

The educational and outcome requirements are defined by the Ministry of Human Capacities Regulation No. 18/2016. VIII. 5. The details of the application and admission process are defined by the Organisational and Operational Regulations of ELTE.

Language requirements

Your knowledge of English must be at a good level in reading, listening and speaking. English is the working language of the MA program (C1 level preferred).

Documents to submit with the application
  • Online application form
  • Secondary school certificate
    Notarized copy only on request.
  • Bachelor-level degree
  • An official copy of your completed Bachelor degree
  • Transcript of records
  • CV
    In English, in MS Word format with one low-resolution photo
  • Motivation letter (A maximum of 500 words)
  • Essay/Other writing
  • Copy of the main pages of the passport (needs to be valid)
    Scanned, in color all personal details and expiry date must be shown. The passport must be valid.
  • Copy of application fee transfer
  • Copy of the Entrance exam fee transfer
  • Language certificate
    Official test results or certificate must be provided; see program specific proficiency requirements.
  • Other: Sample(s) of previous (academic) work or writing
    • Some sample pages of the BA diploma work in English, or a 1-2-page summary of it in English.
    • A sample of any other writing (essay, project plan, seminar paper, artistic creation, a new work plan, etc. – English, French, Russian and German languages are preferred) to be considered important, with a one-page comment.
    • A list of the 10 most outstanding intellectual/cultural experiences of his/her life (reading and/or, visual experience and/or music, film, theatre and/or meetings, discussions, lectures, etc.

Optional documents for admissions

  • Research Proposal
    Please consult with the coordinating department for more information
  • Letter of Reference
    Also called "Letter of recommendation." From a former instructor and/or employer.
  • Letter of Authorization
    If the applicant uses the services of a non-contracted third party during the application process, a Letter of Authorization must be signed. Applications will not be processed without.
Application procedure

The application starts in the online application system. Students need to register in the system, fill in the online application form, upload the required documents and follow the instructions during the application process.

Applications will only be processed if the application fee (150 EUR; non-refundable) has been transferred to the Faculty’s bank account. For further information regarding fee transferring please visit the Faculty’s website.

Results and the official decision will be announced in the application system.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) - in terms of student and staff number, quality of education and research, and its international relations - is a prestigious institution of public higher education in ... Read More

Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) - in terms of student and staff number, quality of education and research, and its international relations - is a prestigious institution of public higher education in Hungary, operating continuously since its inception in 1635. As a top-ranked research university in Hungary, it is the most popular higher education institution among applicants as well as alma mater of five Nobel laureates and leading figures in technology, public policy, and culture in Hungary. Read less
District V. , Szombathely , Budapest + 2 More Less