Language in Motion (M.A.)

The Master's degree programme 'Language in Motion' has been developed from the previous programme 'Theoretical Linguistics: Dynamics and Variation' and offers students a stronger empirical-practical approach to language and linguistics. 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 area of specialization. By undertaking experimental projects, students acquire the skills needed to independently design and implement empirical studies. Students also have the option of attending a linguistics summer school where they have the opportunity to establish networks and build contacts with the scientific community at an early stage of their career.

Content and structure

In terms of the curriculum, the programme in Saarbrücken is concerned with linguistic processes such as first-language acquisition, the production and processing of linguistic utterances in a specific context (utterance situation) and with theoretical approaches to modelling dynamic processes. Further topics addressed include 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 Master's programme 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 ECTS credits, of which 28 credits are awarded for the Master's thesis.

  • 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.

Admission requirements
  • A Bachelor's degree or equivalent university qualification that included at least 30 ECTS credits 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 at Saarland University; 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.

Regulations and programme content

How to apply

Students can begin this programme at the beginning of the winter or summer semester. The application period runs to 31 August if you plan to begin studying in the winter semester and from the beginning of December to the last day in February if you want to start in the summer semester.

International applicants who do not have certified proof of proficiency in German must apply before 15 July if they plan to begin studying in the winter semester and by 15 January if they plan to start in the summer semester.

Applications for admission are submitted online via Saarland University's student information management (SIM) portals. If you have any questions about using the SIM portals, please check out our SIM Saarland help 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 (ISZ Saar – International Study Centre Saar).

Please note that to pass the DSH exam for the purposes of admission to a Master's study programme, you will need to demonstrate an advanced level of German (equivalent to CEFR level C1). Applicants whose proficiency in German is lower than C1 can apply to join the preparatory German course.

Please also 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 for full-time students
Part-time studies are possible
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 periodWinter semester: beginning of June to 31 August
Summer semester: beginning of December to the last day of February
Tuition feesNot applicable
Semester feeSee current fee structure


Course adviser

Nele Hartung
Phone: +49 681 302-57542

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 achieve Quality Assurance Accreditation and has held the Accreditation Council's official quality mark continuously since 2012.

Quality management