The curriculum reflects the research-oriented nature of the programme, providing ample opportunity to acquire the research skills and knowledge and to work on honing those skills for concrete research tasks within areas of specialisation.


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The first semester comprises the orientation phase, recognising the fact that enrolled students may come from several disciplinary backgrounds. An orientation module offers a series of lectures illustrating the scope, aims, and current research projects undertaken in each of the three profile areas. This is combined with overview seminars in each of the three profile areas of which students must select two. The semester also includes the first part of an obligatory module for advanced communication skills. Finally, a further supplementary-studies module must be taken; students choosing three courses (over two semesters) from a pool comprising a selection of language courses (e.g. German for non-German speakers), courses from relevant neighbouring disciplines, and/or courses on soft skills.

The second semester builds on the first with two extension modules, comprising two courses each. The first extension module sets out theories, concepts, current research trends and methods in each of the specialisation areas; the second extension module focuses on specific topics and themes from the current research landscape in each of the specialisation areas. Practical skills are also developed further in the second part of the module extending advanced communication skills, as well as in a module focussing on practical academic work experience, for which students must gather documented experience from a wide range of activities, such as conference or workshop organisation, work-experience in relevant institutions or companies, active participation in conferences, workshops, or tutorials.

In the third semester, the modules of the programme provide the opportunity for a strong specialisation in the focus areas on offer, constituting concrete preparation for the work to be undertaken for the M.A. thesis. A specialisation module offers two advanced courses in each of the programme’s three focus areas. A research module provides the scope within which a single research project, including theories, methods, corpora, literature research, and so on, is undertaken. The research project is a major element of the programme, conducted primarily in independent individual or group work, closely guided by a supervisor selected by the student. In this way, students gain in-depth experience in the planning, execution, analysis and written description of a research project in preparation for the M.A. thesis. Finally, a second module for academic work experience refines and develops students’ skills through further practical activities, students being required to select activities that they did not cover in the first academic work experience module.

The final, fourth semester completely focusses on the M.A. thesis, including both the necessary research and writing the thesis itself. An accompanying research colloquium for thesis preparation is also part of this module. Ideally, the M.A. thesis should build directly on the research project begun in the third semester, drawing on the additional extension modules taken. It is possible for students to construct their own specialisations with considerable flexibility: the selection of courses within the extension modules can either focus more narrowly on single specialisation areas, or maintain greater breadth with courses from one or two of these areas. However, it is strongly recommended that the final M.A. project be undertaken in a primary specialisation area that each student builds for herself or himself.

The successful completion of each module earns students a certain number of credit points reflecting the average workload for the module in question. 1 CP corresponds to 30 hours of work including the in-course sessions at university, preparation, reading and other homework, etc. A module is a coherent teaching unit concerning a specific topic. The extension modules and specialisation module consist of two courses, which need to be selected from a pool of courses on offer; the orientation module consists of a lecture series and two courses; the research module consists of one course, while the final master thesis module consist of an accompanying research colloquium and the master thesis; the supplementary studies module consist of three courses; the academic work experience module requires the collection of certificates from a number of activities, depending on the workload. It is necessary to gain the requisite credit points in each of the modules set out in the curriculum in order to successfully complete the programme. In each semester an average of 30 CP should be accomplished. Over the course of the 4 semesters (2 years) 120 CP in total must be acquired.

Language of instruction

All courses in the programme are taught in English.

Start of the programme

The programme starts at the beginning of the winter semester of each year. Courses in the winter semester (WiSe) begin in mid-October and end in early February, with a two-week break during the holiday season. The summer semester (SoSe) lecture period lasts from the beginning of April to mid-July.

Duration of study

This M.A. is a two-year programme, comprising four semesters, including the M.A. thesis.

(Research) Co-operation schemes

Students enrolled in this M.A. programme may benefit from a number of international co-operation schemes focused on academic exchanges (internships, research projects, or studies in the context of a regular academic semester) and an increasing number of research collaboration arrangements and partnerships, permitting students to experience and adapt to an international environment, including the benefits of studying and conducting research in other educational systems. International co-operation schemes are active with universities in Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Malta, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Please explore our homepage for further information:


An internship is optional.