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Language and Society (Linguistics)
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Study programme

The Master's in Language and Society is a one-year programme in which you investigate language use within society while developing your spoken and written communicative competence in both your target language and English.

Programme structure

The Master's programme Language and Society comprises 60 ECTS credits: 24 credits for core courses, 12 credits for electives, 6 credits for term paper, and 18 credits for a Master's thesis. Over the course of the year, students will also attend six extracurricular lectures of the Language Matters Series.

  • Language in Use: Acquisition and Variation
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  • Contact, Conflict and the Media
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  • Specialisation-specific course
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  • Term Paper Linguistics
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  • Free-choice electives: recommended electives and/or internship
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  • Master's Thesis
  • Tutoring and Study Guidance
  • Core courses

    Language in Use: Acquisition and Variation

    Through the study of foundational texts and case studies in both sociolinguistics and language acquisition, you will explore such topics as standard language versus regional/social varieties and intercultural communication as well as first versus second language acquisition and bilingualism. Course assignments focus as much as possible on the students’ target languages.

    Contact, Conflict and Media

    In this course, you will first study the reasons for and consequences of multilingualism, both on an individual and societal level, and discuss the influence of language policy on multilingualism. In the second block, you will examine language use in the media, studying code-switching, registers and the influence of language policy.

    Target language core course

    The final core course of the programme corresponds to the language in which you choose to specialise, and is tailored to a unique facet of each language community. Students who choose German as their target language, for example, will study the relationship between the standard language and the wide range of traditional and modern, often mutually unintelligible varieties, while students who choose French will explore the position of French in France and the rest of the world. For language specific details, see the UvA Course Catalogue.

  • Electives

    You can tailor your study programme to your own interests through a broad range of electives. This consist of any combination of coursework (at the UvA or through Masterlanguage) and an internship. Consult with the programme coordinator to discuss which option works best for you.

    You may take any of the preapproved elective courses from the list in the Course Catalogue. Make sure that you have the appropriate background to take courses of interest before enrolling. In consultation with the programme coordinator, you may also take an elective course offered by the UvA that is not on the preapproved elective course list.

  • Internship

    An internship offers you the opportunity to gain work experience at an academic level. It enables you to apply theory in a real-world work environment and to complement and further shape your study programme. You can complete an internship for 6 EC (168 hours) or 12 EC (336 hours).

  • Thesis

    The Master's thesis reports on research carried out under the supervision of an academic staff member involved in the programme. The thesis is written in either the language of specialisation of the students (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish) or in English or Dutch (Scandinavian, Slavonic). The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and academic adviser.


Masterlanguage is a collaboration between Dutch universities to offer additional course options in various target languages. Currently, there are courses in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Classical languages. For more information, consult the programme coordinator.

Language and Society in part-time mode

This programme is also offered in part-time study mode, in which case it takes 2 years. You can obtain a maximum of 30 ECTS per year (12-18 ECTS per semester). As a part-time student you will follow the programme together with full-time students. You will prepare your study plan for the part-time programme in consultation with the Master’s programme coordinator (See: Contact).

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during the first semester can apply to switch to the two-year Research Master's programme in Linguistics. If admitted, you can transfer credits earned in the first semester towards the Research Master's degree. The Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for transfer.