Utrecht University

Linguistics, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English
The very fact that we have and use languages is part of what makes us human. Many different languages are spoken in the world. In this Linguistics programme at Utrecht University, you get to reflect on their structures and what drives language variation and change.


The highly regarded Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2016 ranked Utrecht University’s Linguistics programme as the best in the field in the Netherlands.

Cognitive faculties underlying human language

Communicating by means of language is a crucial ingredient of success in modern society. You will learn the principles of first language acquisition, and what is special about learning more languages. The programme also satisfies your curiosity to know more about the way language is processed in the brain and how we use it. The key focus of the Research Master’s programme in Linguistics at Utrecht University is on the cognitive faculties underlying human language, and their interaction.

International community

This two-year Research Master’s programme in Linguistics brings together students from all over the world who combine their unique talents and backgrounds with a shared interest in languages, and the way language is embedded in human cognition.

Theory driven empirical research

The programme offers a broad focus on:

  • theoretical linguistics (phonology, syntax, semantics)
  • psycholinguistics (language acquisition, language processing)
  • language use (discourse studies, bilingualism, phonetics, historical linguistics)

You will acquire a solid background in all three domains, and then choose a series of elective courses in order to specialise in one area. You will receive training in empirical, computational, and experimental methodology, and you will practice designing, planning, and carrying out a research project during your internship and thesis work.

After graduation
  • You are equipped with a broad understanding of the field of linguistics, and in-depth knowledge of a particular linguistics subdiscipline.
  • You have learned to apply your knowledge to new topics and to reflect critically on existing knowledge and current research.
  • You have acquired the academic, communication and methodological skills that prepare you for carrying out your own research.
  • In your internship and thesis under the supervision of senior researchers of the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, you have learned to formulate original research questions, and develop answers.
  • You have started building a network in linguistics through participation in lecture series, workshops and the national LOT schools that will give you a head start in your postgraduate career.
Academic career

As a graduate of the Research Master Linguistics, you will be highly eligible for a PhD position or for a position within a public or private organisation. Many alumni pursue academic careers, while others obtain traineeships in natural language resource firms, junior research positions in international organisations and research facilities, teaching positions in secondary schools and colleges, etc.


  • Accredited by the NVAO

Programme Structure

  • Digital methods in linguistics (compulsory)
  • Foundations of sound patterns (compulsory)
  • Foundations of syntactic structure (compulsory)
  • Foundations of acquisition & lot winterschool (compulsory)
  • Foundations of language, brain & cognition (compulsory)
  • Foundations of meaning: introduction to semantics and pragmatics (compulsory)
  • Research seminar & lot school I (compulsory)
  • Internship (compulsory)
  • Thesis (compulsory)
  • Speech production & perception
  • Discourse, cognition and communication
  • Experimental design & data analysis
  • Micro- and macro-variation in syntax
  • Principles of language change
  • Empirical approaches to formal semantics
  • Interfaces: structure and meaning
  • Language, communication and emotion
  • Phonology: typology and acquisition

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Duration 24 months
  • Credits
    120 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • More information Go To The Course Website

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

You have a Bachelor’s degree (equivalent to a Dutch Bachelor’s Degree) in: Linguistics; Modern Languages and Culture (major in Linguistics); Cognitive Science; Liberal Arts (major in Linguistics).

You can demonstrate the following knowledge, insight, and skills:

  • Minimally 45 EC of linguistics courses and/or coursework supportive of linguistics research (such as in statistics, programming, psychology, neuroscience, logic, philosophy of language, etc.), of which 22.5 EC should be at an advanced level.
  • Good insight into the theoretical foundations of linguistics, as can be acquired in courses on phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, historical linguistics, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and computational linguistics.
  • Basic knowledge of methods in quantitative research that can be acquired by an introduction to statistics (or similar) of 7.5 EC at the Bachelor’s level.
Proof of your proficiency in English (CAE- Level B, CPC- Grade C).

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • EUR 15167 International
  • EUR 2006 EU/EEA


Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university. Please note that the scholarship options for programmes starting in February are limited.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.