Semiotics is a 2-year Master’s program that provides interdisciplinary background and gives a theoretical base for application of semiotic ideas to a wide variety of disciplines and scientific study. Semiotics is the general study of sign processes or semiosis. The program binds together the theory of semiotics and three core modules – cultural semiotics, biosemiotics, and socio-semiotics.

Why study semiotics at the University of Tartu?

  • The tradition of excellence in semiotic theory in Tartu was established by Yuri Lotman in the 1960s, the founder of semiotics of culture and the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School, as well as the oldest journal of semiotics, Sign Systems Studies;
  • UT is one the few institutions in the world teaching full Master's and Ph.D. degree programs in semiotics since 1993;
  • As one of the world's major centers of semiotics, the University of Tartu collaborates and is regularly visited by professors from all around the world: Myrdene Anderson, Paul Bouissac, John Deely, Dinda Gorlee, Jesper Hoffmeyer, Winfried Nöth, Roland Posner, Frederik Stjernfelt, Eero Tarasti etc.;
  • The finest collections of semiotic materials in Tartu include the memorial library of Thomas Sebeok, one of the world leaders in the 20th-century semiotics, and the Centre of Jakob von Uexküll, a Baltic German whose works have been very important to the development of biosemiotics.


All students who have a Bachelor's degree in social sciences, natural sciences or humanities are welcome to apply.

Career prospects:

  • Graduates can apply their expertise in the professions that require a complex knowledge of cultural analysis, i.e. semiotic consulting companies, marketing or media;
  • Practical applications of semiotics include translation and science writing, design and architecture, advertising, and communication strategies;
  • Employees of international organizations, e.g. embassies, where tolerance and conflict management skills are vital, can improve their professional education;
  • Program graduates can continue on to doctoral studies and research.
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Last updated April 1, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
3,400 EUR
Tuition-waiver scholarships available
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Start Date
End Date
June 30, 2019
Application deadline
Application deadline
End Date
June 30, 2019