The program is well suited for students who wish to study language from a comparative perspective. The program places special emphasis on the formal aspects of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology. The approach to these disciplines relies on comparative studies of many languages.
- Duration: 2 years
- Credits (ECTS): 120
- Admission requirements: Bachelor's degree in a language or linguistics
- Degree Name: Master's of Philosophy in Linguistics
- Application code:
- Norwegian and Nordic applicants: 5060
- International applicants: 2025
The Master's of Philosophy in Theoretical Linguistics covers graduate-level studies in theoretical linguistics and is to be seen as an extension of work at the Bachelor's level. The program places special emphasis on the formal aspects of grammar, in particular syntax and phonology. The approach to these disciplines relies on comparative studies of many languages. Students will develop insight into the structure of language, comparative aspects of linguistic research, social and geographic variation, the historical development of languages, and language acquisition. At the Master's level, students will develop special interests based on their coursework and will write either a Master's Thesis or two article-length papers.
The program consists of the following components:
- 60 ECTS of coursework and
- 60 ECTS for either (1) one thesis, or (2) two articles.
The two elective ten credit courses can come from any 3000-level course in language or linguistics offered by the groups for English and General Linguistics, Russian, Finnish, and Saami. Note that elective courses must be oriented to the theory of language rather than practical language learning. By application, other courses may be accepted (e.g. courses in philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and so on), as long as their relevance to the degree can be documented.
Several "interdisciplinary" courses are offered, and these courses are assigned a HIF-code in the university course catalog. Not all of the HIF-courses, however, may be appropriate for incorporation into the program. To find out which HIF-courses are accepted as part of the Master in Theoretical Linguistics, please contact the program staff.
The following courses are compulsory in Semester 1: HIF-3010 Syntax I, and HIF-3022 Phonology I. In addition, students are required to complete an elective course.
The following courses are compulsory in Semester 2: HIF-3011 Syntax II, and HIF-3021 Phonology II. In addition, students are required to complete an elective course.
The degree includes 60 ECTS which must be earned either (i) by writing one Master's Thesis (60 ECTS) or (ii) by writing two papers (30 ECTS each). This work is normally done individually, but may be part of a larger research project being carried out at the faculty, especially projects being carried out at the Center for Advanced Studies in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL). The topics for this work will be chosen in consultation with one of the academic staff, who will serve as a supervisor. Those opting to write two papers must write one of them in the core disciplines phonology or syntax. The two papers cannot be in the same field.
After completing the Master's program in Theoretical Linguistics the candidate will have the following learning outcomes:
The candidate has:
- specialized knowledge of a linguistic subfield through work with the Master's Thesis;
- a deeper knowledge of theoretical linguistics through the study of core subjects;
- broadened knowledge of adjoining fields through elective courses;
- a critical view of the theories and methods that have been underlying linguistic research.
The candidate can:
- orient himself or herself in the linguistic scientific literature with special regard to the development of theory and methods, and to earlier research;
- solve problems, analyze linguistic data, and present findings according to academic standards;
- communicate scientific content at a high level.
The candidate is able to:
- work in occupations that require a thorough knowledge of the human language and/or experience with independent project work;
- analyze academic, professional, and research ethical problems in linguistics;
- apply his/her knowledge and skills in new linguistic areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects;
- communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of linguistics;
- communicate about linguistic issues, analyses, and conclusions, both with specialists and the general public;
- contribute to new thinking and innovation processes in linguistic theorizing.
The program is an excellent starting point for further study at the PhD-level.
It also qualifies candidates for work in occupations that require specialized insight into the language and/or experience with independent project work, for example, programming, administration, industry, or the media.
|Term||10 credits||10 credits||10 credits|
|1st term (autumn)||
HIF-3010 Syntax I
HIF-3022 Phonology I
Elective course in English language or linguistics (3000-level)
|2nd term (spring)||
HIF-3011 Syntax II
HIF-3021 Phonology II
Elective course in English language or linguistics (3000-level)
|3rd term (autumn)||
LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics
|LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics||LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics|
|4th term (spring)||LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics||LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics||LIN-3990 Master's Thesis in Linguistics|
Admission to the Master's program in Theoretical Linguistics requires a Bachelor's Degree (180 ECTS), or equivalent qualification, in a language or linguistics, or a degree combining linguistics and literature. The applicant should have at least three semesters (minimum 80 ECTS) of concentrated work in linguistics and/or language. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand: An average grade C as a minimum requirement. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above mentioned region/countries: An average grade B as a minimum requirement.
Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:
The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is 15 April.
Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:
The application deadline for international applicants is 1 December.
Teaching and assessment
Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars. The Master's in Theoretical Linguistics is a demanding program that requires the student to work throughout the term. The students are expected to spend 40 hours per week on their studies, including preparation for lectures and seminars, work on term papers, and other assignments.
Evaluation is carried out at the end of each course on the basis of a portfolio of the students' written work. As a Master's student, you will be assigned a supervisor who will monitor your progress throughout your studies. The Master's Thesis will be assigned a grade (from A to F); the coursework will be graded on the same scale. For information about examinations, please see the individual course descriptions.
Access to further studies
On successful completion of the degree program, students may be qualified for admission to a Ph.D. in Linguistics.
Exchange studies abroad will make you more attractive in the job market. Studies abroad will increase your learning outcomes, improve your language skills, give you unique adventures and international experiences. Students taking the Master's in Theoretical Linguistics are encouraged to make use of one of our exchange agreements in the second semester.
The application deadlines are:
- 1 February (autumn semester)
- 1 September (spring semester)
About the School
UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a medium-sized research university that contributes to knowledge-based development at the regional, national, and international levels.