The programme is well suited for students who wish to study language from a comparative perspective. The programme 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.
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 programme 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 programme 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. By application, other courses may be accepted (e.g. courses in philosophy, psychology, mathematics, and so on).
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.
Some of the Master's degree programmes offered by the faculty overlap to a certain degree in that they offer a range of "interdisciplinary" courses. For example, the core disciplines of phonology and syntax are taught as part of both Theoretical Linguistics and English Linguistics and are therefore assigned a HIF-code in the university catalogue. Not all of the HIF-courses, however, may be appropriate for incorporation into a given programme. To find out which HIF-courses are accepted as part of the Master's degree programme in Theoretical Linguistics, please contact the programme staff.
The following courses are compulsory in Semester 1: HIF-3010 Syntax I, 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.
Elective courses may be selected from the list of courses offered by the groups for English, Finnish, French, Linguistics, German, Scandinavian, Russian and Saami. Note that elective courses must be oriented to the theory of language rather than practical language learning. It is also possible to take courses offered by other Faculties as long as their relevance to the degree can be documented.
After completing the Master's programme in Theoretical Linguistics the students will have acquired the following:
Knowledge and understanding:
- specialised knowledge of a linguistic subfield through work with the Master's Thesis
- 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 students will have achieved
- the ability to orient themselves in linguistic scientific literature with special regard to the development of theory and methods, and to earlier research
- skills in problem-solving, analysis of linguistic data, and in the presentation of findings according to academic standards
- skills in communicating scientific content at a high level
Competence: The core goal of the programme is to prepare students for study at PhD level. It also qualifies for work in occupations that require a thorough knowledge of human language and/or experience with independent project work.
Admission to the Master's programme in Theoretical Linguistics requires a Bachelor's Degree (180 ECTS) in a language or linguistics, or a degree combining linguistics and literature, or equivalent qualification. The applicant should have at least three semesters (minimum 80 ECTS) of concentrated work in linguistics and/or language. An average grade of equivalent to C or better in the Norwegian grading system is required.
Applicants must enclose an application essay (Statement of purpose) written in English (maximum of two pages). This should include descriptions of their motivation for, interest in and expectations relating to their Master's degree studies and ideas for their Master's Thesis project.
More information on admission requirements:
Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:
The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is 15 April for admission to the autumn semester
Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:
The application deadline for international applicants is 1 December for admission to the autumn semester.
Applicants from Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Danemark) with upper secondary education from these countries must apply as regular applicants.
Foreign non-Nordic applicants with valid residency in Norway and proof of Norwegian language proficiency must apply as regular applicants.
Norwegian citizens with upper secondary education from a non-Nordic country must apply as an international applicant.
Teaching and assessment
Teaching takes the form of lectures and seminars. Evaluation is carried out at the end of each course on the basis of a portfolio of the student's 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.
Students can apply for exchange studies or field work abroad according to the available cooperation agreements within scholarship programmes such as Erasmus, Nordplus, Barentsplus or North2North. Please consult the international coordinator at the faculty for more information.
The core goal of the programme is to prepare students for study at PhD level. It also qualifies for work in occupations that require a thorough knowledge of human language and/or experience with independent project work, for example, teaching, programming, administration, industry or the media.
Access to further studies
On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD in Linguistics.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated January 28, 2018