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The science of language. You don’t learn all the languages in the world, but you learn to understand them.

About the programme
Quota 1 2018: 9.9 (Standby: 9.1)   |   Quota 2 2018: 9.1 (Standby: 8.1) (Indicative)  
: Danish and English  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: Week 35


Linguistics is about languages, which means it is concerned with topics that essentially concern all the world’s languages, for example: how languages are learned (or lost) and used, how they have evolved, how they are structured (how languages differ and what they have in common), how language is produced and interpreted (psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics), how we use language, etc. Students develop the necessary knowledge, skills and competences to prepare them for professions inside and outside the field of linguistics

Studying linguistics at Aarhus University

The Bachelor’s degree program includes courses in the central disciplines of Linguistics: Phonology (sounds), Morphology & Syntax (the structure of words and sentences), Semantics & Pragmatics (dealing with meaning and language use). Apart from a general introduction to the field of Linguistics (‘Understanding Linguistics’), the Bachelor’s program also offers courses on the role of language in society (Sociolinguistics), on ‘Language, Cognition and the Brain’, on Danish from a cross-linguistic perspectives, on Conversation Analysis, and topics such as language change and language acquisition.

Courses on the linguistics programme are based on practical exercises, lectures and classroom instruction, where you give presentations, participate in discussions and work with your study group.

The world of linguistics

On the linguistics programme, you study the rules governing how sounds can be linked together into words, words into sentences and sentences into speech or writing. You learn theories of language and learn to understand language in a historical context. You also learn to do linguistic research on issues such as how sign language reflects the user’s psychological and social perception of reality, and how language forms national and personal identities.

Career opportunities


With a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics, you will be qualified for a number of Master's degree programmes. For example, you might choose the Master’s degree in linguistics, which can give you career opportunities in language teaching and language research, as a language consultant, or as an information or communication officer.

Admission requirements

Admission area number: 22310

To be eligible for admission to this degree programme, you must fulfil the following requirements:

qualifying examination as well as the following specific admission requirements (A, B and C refers to the subject level in the Danish upper secondary school with A being the highest level possible):

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).


If there are any subjects you have not completed at the required level, you can take them as supplementary courses or as a summer supplementary course (conditional Admission).

The admission requirements must be met and documented by 5 July in the year of application unless you apply for conditional admission.

Quota 2

Like quota 1 applicants, quota 2 applicants must have passed a qualifying examination, and they must also fulfil the specific admission requirements above.

Quota 2 applicants are individually evaluated on the basis of: 

  1. grade average calculated on the basis of the particularly relevant subjects (Quota 2 subjects) listed below
  2. other particularly relevant documented qualifications.

Read more about Aarhus University's quota 2 criteria.

Quota 2 subjects:

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).

Programme structure

The courses on the linguistics programme focus on two central aspects. First and foremost, you acquire the tools to analyse a language from many angles, including grammar, morphology and phonology. You also learn how to contextualise languages, for example through comparative analysis and evaluating the role languages play in a culture. During your studies, you also become an expert at collecting and interpreting linguistic data.

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations, you can read more about the content of the individual course, the structure of the degree programme and the demands the programme places on you as a student. You can also read about the types of exams and the exam requirements.

In the diagram below, you can see how the programme is structured. You can click on the various courses to read the individual course descriptions.

Student life

Academic life on the linguistics programme

The linguistics programme has about 100 students. This means that you will develop a close relationship to your fellow students, both academically and socially. At lectures on the linguistics programme, your teacher will review the day’s topic for your entire year group, and you have many opportunities to participate actively in class discussions and give presentations in seminars. At the same time, you will be part of a study group, which is a forum for discussion and dialogue. 

Here is an example of a typical week in the first semester of the BA programme in linguistics. As you can see, you spend a lot of your time preparing for classes. This is why linguistics is a full-time degree programme, even though you don’t necessarily have scheduled classes every day.

8:00-11:00 Lecture: Understanding Linguistics
11:00-17:00 Independent study

8:00-10:00 Study group
10:00 - 12:00 Lecture
12:00-17:00 Independent study

8:00-10:00 Independent study
10:00 - 12:00 Student teacher: Danish and the Languages of the World
12:00 - 14:00 Grammar assignments
14:00 - 15:00 Student teacher: Understanding Linguistics

8:00 - 10:00 Lecture: Danish Grammar
10:00 - 12:00 Lecture
12:00-17:00 Independent study

8:00 - 11:00 Grammar assignments
11:00 - 12:00 Lecture: Danish Grammar
12:00-14:00 Study group
14:00 - 17:00 Friday bar

Social life on the linguistics programme

Your life as a student doesn’t necessarily stop after the last lecture of the day. There are lots of different academic and social events for you to participate in together with your fellow students:

The student’s common room is called Lingoland, a space for group study and relaxation.

The social committee for linguistics hosts lectures every Friday as well as social events like Lingobio and Lingo board games.

Linguistics shares a Friday bar with Scandinavian studies.

Studying abroad

Doing a semester abroad is an excellent idea for students on the linguistics degree programme. Getting to know other exchange students introduces you to a variety of new ways of using language, and you develop your understanding of another culture. During the last year of your BA programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

Commencement of studies

Your time at Aarhus University will begin with an introductory week in week 35 (the last week of August). During this week, you will get an introduction to IT systems, exam forms and degree programme structure and opportunities as well as meeting your teachers. You can read more about your commencement of studies and the introductory week here. On this page, you will also find tips and good advice for new students at Aarhus University.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

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The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.


Job functions for MA/MSc grads

The diagram shows the kinds of jobs and job functions available to graduates of the corresponding MA/MSc programme, based on the 2016 AU employment survey.

As a linguistics graduate, your career options depend a lot on what you’ve chosen to focus on during your studies, along with your choice of supplementary subject and Master’s degree programme. 

As a linguist, you are an expert in the structure and function of language, and you familiarise yourself with new languages quickly. You are skilled in analysing both oral and written linguistic data. 

Many graduates of the linguistics programme work in education, for example in teaching Danish to immigrants or children with language difficulties such as dyslexia (reading disorder) or aphasia (brain injury). Others work as language consultants, communications officers, administrators or software developers, for example developing language learning software. 

Supplementary subjects

There are lots of options to choose from when deciding which supplementary subject to do in the course of your Bachelor’s degree programme. Examples of supplementary subjects other linguistics students have chosen:

  • Supplementary subject in Cognitive Semiotics
  • Supplementary subject in Scandinavian Language and Literature
  • Supplementary subject in Rhetoric 

Master’s degree programmes

Most graduates of the Bachelor’s programme in Linguistics go on to do a Master’s degree. You should be aware that specific supplementary subjects can be a prerequisite for admission to some MA programmes. Here are some examples of the options available to graduates of the BA programme:

  • The Master’s degree programme in Linguistics, where you work with the topics and methods of your BA programme at a more advanced level and adopt a more independent approach to critical evaluation of different theories of language.
  • The Master’s degree programme in Cognitive Semiotics, which is an interdisciplinary programme that investigates how humans create meaning in language, science and art.
  • The Master’s degree programme i Rhetoric, where you learn to master audience-oriented communication strategies.
  • The Master’s degree programme in Journalism, where you learn journalistic skills while continuing to build on your linguistic skills.