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Facts and Data

  • Duration: 4 semesters
  • Degree Award: Master of Arts
  • Language: German
  • admission free
  • Special admission requirements


Language Dynamics: Acquisition, Variation, Change - Master's Programme

Orientation and Goals

How are languages acquired? How do new languages develop from older ones and why do languages become extinct? How do languages adapt throughout society, time and space? The School of Linguistics at the University of Oldenburg is particularly concerned with research issues that focus on the variability of language – essentially, the dynamics of language.

The Language Dynamics Master‘s programme focuses on acquisition, variation and change in three main areas of linguistic research: psycholinguistics, language contact and language change. We offer students the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects within these disciplines, making this Master‘s programme truly one of a kind in Germany. The subject languages focused on are provided by the four philologies at the University of Oldenburg: English, German, Dutch and Slavic, but we also welcome students with a different linguistic background. Also included in the programme is a professionalization module of 15 ECTS, meant for individual profiling. Within this module, students can choose courses from related disciplines, depending on their professional interests (for example auditory research, history, special needs education, German as a foreign language, sociology, etc.). Other possibilities include internships, language courses or personal research projects.

The Master’s programme is a research-related programme
and prepares students for an academic career.

Study Design and Contents

During the four-semester Master‘s programme you will earn a total of 120 ECTS credit points. It consists of the following components, from which you can set individual specializations:
  • Profile course unit 15 ECTS
  • Overview of various linguistic research areas
  • Setting specializations 60 ECTS

You select four course units from the three research specializations (each worth 15 ECTS) from a minimum of two of the represented philologies
of English/American Studies, German Studies, Dutch Studies and Slavic Studies:
  • Specialization 1: Psycholinguistics
  • Specialization 2: Language systems and variation
  • Specialization 3: Language contact and Language change

Area of specialization 15 ECTS
Possibility for individual profile creation (for example, language courses, internships, projects, course units from other disciplines, etc.)

Final Master’s course unit 30 ECTS

Reasons for Studying

The term „Language Dynamics“ is self-referential and views languages as organisms of perpetual change and adaption, right from individual language acquisition on up to supraindividual transformational phenomena in space and time. With this focus, the Master’s programme relates directly to the reality of life for many students whose native language is not German or who are training to be mediators in a foreign language.
In a profile course unit, you receive an initial overview of the linguistic research areas at the University of Oldenburg, which focus on the following three areas:
(1) Psycholinguistics: concerned primarily with the issues of first and second language acquisition, language (acquisition) disorders and speech processing;
(2) Language systems: examining the issues of linguistic change, both within a general perspective as well as focused on individual linguistic structure levels.
A special feature of the university’s research involves the research spheres of Intonation and Graphematics;
(3) Language contact: employs the phenomenon of the emergence of mixed speech forms, in particular the mixture of closely related varieties. This area is directly related to the main areas (1) and (2).

Your course units are chosen to ensure that during the programme 1) at least two specializations are covered, and 2) course units from at least two of the four disciplines (English/American Studies, German Studies, Dutch Studies, or Slavic languages) are selected.
The area of specialization allows you to personalize your degree programme. Depending on your desires for your future career, you can, for example, delve deeper into certain specializations in your studies (not only via the programme course units dedicated to this, but possibly also through participation in a research project), you can select course units from related disciplines such as Auditory research, Sociology, History, or Education/Special Education, or you can take advantage of one of the many other opportunities that the practice-oriented training offers (internships, language courses, journalistic writing, etc.).
The fourth semester is reserved for the completion and defence of the Master‘s thesis (30 ECTS in total).

A number of collaborations between the participating institutes of German Studies, English/American Studies, Dutch Studies and Slavic Studies at universities abroad make the organization of a semester abroad particularly easy.

Foreign Language Skills

In order to study this course at the University of Oldenburg as a student from outside of Germany, you need an adequate knowledge of German.

German Language Proficiency
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level C1

English Language Proficiency see admissions regulations
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2 or
  • if applicants are native speaker or they have university entrance qualification or a university degree obtained in English

Language proficiency in another foreign language see admissions regulations
  • Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level A2 or
  • if applicants are native speaker in this foreign language or they have university entrance qualification or a university degree obtained in this foreign language

The proof of language proficiency must be presented for the enrolment. For other proof possibilities see: Language requirements

Careers and Areas of Employment

Graduates of the Language Dynamics Master’s programme are prepared for a career in the field of language research. Most students continue down an academic PhD path, and this programme ideally prepares students for this path with its specialized character. Depending on the profile set in the sphere of practice-oriented training, various career paths and professions open up in fields such as language teaching or migration research.

Target Group/Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in Linguistics or General Language Studies or in a closely related field worth at least 60 credit points. A degree in a philological study program with 60 credit points and a Bachelorsthesis on a linguistic topic also qualifies.

  • Language proficiency based on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
    • German language proficiency at level C1
    • English language proficiency at level B2
    • Proof of another foreign language at level A2
For more details see Foreign language skills on this page.

Application/Admission Procedures

This is an open admissions degree course, and applications are accepted for both the winter and summer semesters.
The application deadline for the winter semester is 30 September.
The application deadline for the summer semester is 31 March.

Overview application deadlines Master's programmes

Please note
For open-admission Master's degree programmes it is strongly recommended to submit their applications as early as possible before 15 July for the winter semester and before 15 January for the summer semester. If the supporting documents are submitted after these dates but before the standard application deadlines, this may have disadvantages for the start of your studies. Please note our information on the local application procedure (German document).

Further Information

General questions
Coordinator for Academics and Teaching:

(Changed: 03 May 2024)  | 
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