Master in Linguistics: Language Consultancy and Linguistic Documentation


Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)

Master of Linguistics: Language Consultancy and Linguistic Documentation offers a program in general linguistics that focuses on the interaction between theory and data in the research traditions of anthropological, typological and descriptive linguistics. The emphasis on practical field work, cultural pragmatics and anthropological perspectives makes this program unique in the Netherlands. Upon graduation, the student has the knowledge, skills and expertise to function as a linguistic consultant or linguistic researcher in many settings, especially in translation, cross-cultural communication and language documentation:

  • knowledge of current developments in the fields of typological, descriptive and anthropological linguistics;
  • the ability to reflect critically on scholarly publications in these fields;
  • the skills to carry out linguistic research in fieldwork and cross-cultural linguistic consultancy settings in a methodologically adequate and systematic fashion;
  • the ability to communicate the results of his or her research clearly and systematically to both fellow linguists and audiences outside academia;
  • the ability to write a reference grammar of an underdocumented language in accordance with the international standards of descriptive and documentary linguistics.

Study Programme

There are three specialist courses in the first semester: Articulatory phonetics & the Typology of Sounds, Linguistic Research, and Describing Morphosyntax. In the second semester, the student takes two more specialist courses, Anthropological Linguistics and Field Methods & Linguistic Analysis and writes his/her MA thesis. In addition the student chooses elective courses and/or tutorials in both semesters.

Career Prospects

The program enables you to work in the domains of language consultancy, linguistic documentation or (Bible) translation in the roles of consultant or researcher.

Admission and application

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.

Students are eligible for admission to the Language Consultancy and Linguistic Documentation programme with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics after assessment by the Examination Board of your previous education. Students with a Bachelor in a modern language, a Bachelor in classics or in communication- and information science with a minimum of 60 ECTS in linguistic courses are also admissable. We will assess your previous education at course level to decide whether you have completed a sufficient number of linguistics courses. There is no pre-master programme available for this track.

Your suitability will be assessed on not only the basis of your previous education, but also on your motivation for this specific programme. Be sure to elaborate on your interest in multimodal communication in particular.

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

  • TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English : Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam!

Overview Linguistics: Language Consultancy and Linguistic Documentation.

  • Language of instruction: English
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
  • Start date: 1 September
  • Study type: Full-time
  • Field of interest: Language and Communication
Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less