Theoretical Linguistics: Dynamics and Variation (M.A.)

The Master's degree programme 'Theoretical Linguistics: Dynamics and Variation' prepares students for a career in linguistics research. Students on the programme receive practical and theoretical guidance that introduces them to the latest research work in theoretical linguistics. In the first part of the programme students will become acquainted with modern theories and concepts in core areas of linguistics, establishing the foundations on which students subsequently build in their chosen area of specialization 'Dynamics' or 'Variation'. By undertaking experimental projects, students acquire the skills needed in order to be able to independently develop and implement empirical studies. Students also have the option of attending a linguistics summer school where they have an opportunity to establish networks and build contacts with the scientific community at an early stage of their career.


In terms of the curriculum, the programme in Saarbrücken is distinguished by the specific linking of the areas of language dynamics and language variation. The field of language dynamics is concerned with processes such as the acquisition of a first language (mother tongue), the production and processing of linguistic utterances in a specific context (utterance situation) and with theoretical approaches to modelling dynamic processes. In the field of language variation, the focus is on the historical development of language, the differences and similarities of dialects within a larger language area and the dependence of grammatical phenomena on text type, register or channel of communication.


The research-driven Master's programme 'Theoretical Linguistics: Dynamics and Variation' is designed to be completed in four semesters of full-time study or seven semesters of part-time study. Students are required to earn coursework and examination credits totalling 120 CP (credit points), of which 28 CP are awarded for the Master's thesis.

Outline content

  • Module AT: Advanced Topics in Theoretical Linguistics
  • Module FE: Further Explorations in Theoretical Linguistics
  • Module AM: Advanced Methods in Theoretical Linguistics
  • Module DV: Language, Dynamics and Variation
  • Module GM: Graduation Module

Further details can be found in the study regulations and the module catalogue, which can be downloaded from the Useful docs page.



Admission requirements

  • A Bachelor's degree or equivalent university qualification that included at least 30 ECTS credits (30 CP) of linguistic content and for which the applicant was awarded an overall grade of at least 'good' (2.0 on the German academic grading scale). If it is not possible to demonstrate the equivalency of the academic credentials presented by an applicant, the applicant may be granted conditional admission status.
  • Proof that the applicant has successfully completed the module 'Introduction to Modern German Linguistics' or the module 'Introduction to English linguistics'. If this requirement has not been met, conditional admission status may be granted provided that the applicant takes and passes the corresponding module examinations.
  • If German is not the applicant's mother tongue, applicants must demonstrate that they have advanced proficiency in German by presenting one of the following qualifications: TestDaF: a grade of at least 'TDN 4' (in all parts of the examination); DSH: a grade of at least '2'; Goethe-Institut: level C2.
  • If English is not the applicant's mother tongue, applicants must demonstrate that they have advanced proficiency in English by presenting one of the following qualifications: Cambridge English Advanced (CAE); IELTS Academic: a band score of at least 6.5 in all four parts of the examination; TOEFL: a score of at least '90'; pass grade in the internal language assessment test run by the English Department; or proof that the applicant studied English in school for seven years up to Abitur level (Abitur: German higher-education entrance qualification). Proof of English language proficiency may be submitted at any time during the first semester.

Detailed information regarding admissions requirements can be found in Section 35 of the subject-specific regulations.


How to apply

Students can join the programme in the summer or winter semester. Applications must be received by 31 August for admission in the following winter semester and by the last day of February for admission in the following summer semester.

Foreign applicants who do not yet have a certificate of proficiency in German can apply up until 15 July for winter semester entry, and up until 15 January if they plan to begin their studies in the summer semester.

The application takes place online via the SIM portals of Saarland University. If you have questions about the SIM portals, please visit our SIM Saarland support pages.

Applicants whose pre-university education credentials were obtained in a country other than Germany

Applicants who do not have adequate proof of proficiency in German at the application deadline can apply as an external candidate to take the DSH language exam (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang), which is the German language proficiency test for foreign applicants seeking admission to higher education, or they can apply for a place on the preparatory German course at Saarland University (Internationales Studienzentrum Saar).

External candidates who want to take the DSH exam will require an advanced level of German (equivalent to CEF level C1). Applicants whose German competence is at a lower level than C1 can apply to join the preparatory German course.

Please note that different deadlines apply for applicants who do not yet have the required level of proficiency in German (15 January for a summer semester start, 15 July for a winter semester start). Applications for admission to the Master's programme will only be processed if they are submitted before the relevant deadline.

At a glance

Standard period of study4 semesters
Language of instructionGerman and English
German language requirementsTestDaF: 4, DSH: 2, Goethe: C2
English language requirementse. g. CAE, IELTS Academic: 6.5, TOEFL: 90
Restricted entryNo
Application deadlineWinter semester: 31 August
Summer semester: Last day of February
Tuition feesNot applicable
Semester feeSee current fee structure


Course advisers

Ingo Reich
Department of German Studies
Saarbrücken Campus
Building C5 3, Room 3.10
Phone: +49 681 302-2233

Remus Gergel
Department of English
Saarbrücken Campus
Building C5 3, Room 1.13
Phone: +49 681 302-3309

Augustin Speyer
Department of German Studies
Saarbrücken Campus
Building C5 3, Room 3.12
Phone: +49 681 302-3342

Central Student Advisory Service

Saarbrücken Campus
Building A4 4, Ground floor
Phone: +49 681 302-3513

Central Student Advisory Service

Saarbrücken Campus
Building A4 4, Ground floor
Phone: +49 681 302-3513

Central Student Advisory Service

Accredited study programmes

Saarland University was one of the first universities in Germany to successfully complete the system accreditation procedure. Since 2012, it has carried the seal of the Accreditation Council.

Quality management