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About the programme
GPA 2018: All applicants admitted  
Language: English  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: August / september


What does it mean?

Are you interested in how language influences a reader, how a picture influences a spectator and how all this is connected to our conceptions, our memories, our awareness and the way our sense of sight is organised? Cognitive Semiotics is the study of meaning in all its aspects. Here, you will learn what it means when a person experiences something as meaningful, whether it is a natural phenomenon, literature, communication or art.

Cognition and Categorisation

As a Cognitive Semiotics student, you will learn to combine cognition, having to do with the way man perceives the world, with semiotic problems, primarily having to do with communication, sign formation and language. With this combination, you will get a theoretical insight into the creation of categorisations, metaphors, image formation, symbolisation and narratives. Furthermore, you will become acquainted with the practical aspects of analysing meaning, that is, you will study concepts and models that make it possible to effectively analyse the human production of meaning in cultural expressions, texts, artworks etc.

Good Semiotic Questions

  • What is the relationship between language, perception, thought and memory?
  • How do humans – regardless of race, gender, history and origin – generate their thoughts and experiences?
  • What is the relationship between ordinary language and aesthetic language, and what is the relation between ordinary perception and aesthetic perception?
  • Which similarities and differences can be found between the creation of meaning in images, texts, art, marketing, everyday communication and political communication?
  • What is the relation between a person’s cognitive skills as an individual and the social context in which that person lives?
  • What importance do communication and language have for human cognitive development?
  • How can we explain the origin of language and culture from an evolutionary perspective?

Admission requirements

In order to be admitted to a supplementary subject, you have to be enrolled in a bachelor’s degree programme at a Danish university. Furthermore, the academic regulations of the bachelor’s degree programme have to allow for a combination with a supplementary subject.

You also have to meet the admission requirements for the supplementary subject in question. You can familiarise yourself with the requirements on the Danish version of this page by clicking on Danish in the top right corner.

Read more about admission to supplementary subjects.

Academic regulations

As a student it is important to know the regulations for the chosen supplementary subject: what is the content, how is it structured and what does it require from you.

You can find this information in the academic regulation for the bachelor’s supplementary subject:


In the following graphical presentation of the subject you can see the different modules and courses that, in addition, link to the course catalogue where you can read the course descriptions.

Structure bachelor

Student life

The Academic Environment

The teaching of Semiotics is mainly in the form of seminars, but also includes practical exercises such as presentations by students and small written assignments followed by discussions. You will be assigned a study group in which you solve exercises and discuss the litterature for classes. A stuy café is held every other week, where you can meet with and work in your study group. In addition, you are responsible for a so-called “student symposium”, in which students present their assignments or other examples of work in progress.

The Cognitive Semiotics environment is extremely international and students from almost all continents attend on a daily basis. The teaching draws on your main subject, so that knowledge, theories and analyses within and outside Cognitive Semiotics support each other. The supplementary subject focuses on independence, collaboration, dialogue and presentation skills, interdisciplinary and philosophical openness, and – last but not least – an academic interest.

Teaching in English

Many of the students taking the supplementary subject in Cognitive Semiotics are exchange students or foreigners permanently residing in Denmark, and all the teaching is therefore conducted in English. If you wish, it is possible to hand in exam papers and minor assignments in Danish.

Social Environment

As a Semiotics student, you spend every day at the Nobel Park along with others studying languages, Philosophy, The History of Ideas, Theology, the study of Religion and much more. Students with a variety of interests therefore influence your everyday life.

Together with students of Philosophy and the History of Ideas, you can contribute to – or just read – the Semikolon journal, which aims at creating dialogue between students of Semiotics, Philosophy and the History of Ideas.


Student-to-student is your opportunity to ask about being a student at the Faculty of Arts and about Aarhus and Denmark in general to another international student who has already taken the leap and now lives in Denmark and studies for his/her Master's degree at the Faculty of Arts.

You can read more about the student-to-student service and find the list of AU international student ambassadors at Arts here.

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Job Profile

A degree programme that includes a supplementary subject in Cognitive Semiotics is relevant for a wide range of jobs in the business sector, and provides support in:


  • professional skills of a cultural analytical nature
  • language and communication subjects
  • aesthetic subjects
  • IT and media subjects
  • anthropological and sociological subjects
  • design and architecture degree programmes
  • degree programmes targeting the marketing and advertising sectors

Competence Profile

The supplementary subject in Cognitive Semiotics provides you with the following skills:


  • You learn to describe and analyze complex issues of an interdisciplinary nature and to communicate such issues in an academic context
  • You strengthen your analytical skills by mastering basic concepts about meaning
  • You develop an ability to perceive similarities between linguistic and visual meanings, and thus carry out interdisciplinary work with different media
  • You are able to convert general theoretical knowledge into practical analysis
  • You improve your ability to analyze meaning phenomena in their social context and to communicate this knowledge to non-specialists