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COVID-19 update: This course will start online and continue on campus later. Read more

What will I learn?

The programme for the Modern Languages specialisation is a one-year programme within the masters's degree in Linguistics at Leiden University. In the course of the programme you will be able to focus on one of five language themes, or a combination thereof: Chinese Linguistics, English Linguistics, French Linguistics, German Linguistics or Italian Linguistics. The programme equips you with unique skills relevant to a career in academia, teaching, writing and communications.

Why study Modern Languages?

  • Linguistics deals both with the search for general properties common to all languages and the study of particular languages. Chinese, English, French, German and Italian are among the most widely spoken and best-studied languages in the world.
  • The programme for the Modern Languages specialisation provides you with a solid foundation in the languages of the world’s most influential societies. You will look at how these languages can vary by place, by situation and by social group (sociolinguistics, dialectology); how they evolve over time (historical linguistics); how people acquire or learn them (language acquisition); and how people use them in context (pragmatics).

Learn more about the study programme

Modern Languages at Leiden University

  • Focus on the language or languages of your interest: Chinese, English, French, German, or Italian.
  • Learn about second language learning and bilingualism, or dive deeper into your language of specialisation by combining linguistics with literary studies on your language of choice.
  • Choose one of the ready-made thematic routes or create your own programme to match your specific interests.
  • Gain professional experience by doing an individual research project with a staff member, or an internship as part of your programme.
  • Become part of the linguistics community at Leiden University by attending events such as the MA Linguistics colloquium, Linguistic Movie Nights, or by becoming involved in the T.W.I.S.T. study association for BA and MA linguistics students in Leiden.

Modern Languages: the right master’s programme for you?

The programme for the Modern Languages specialisation is aimed at students who are interested in Chinese Linguistics, English Linguistics, French Linguistics, German Linguistics or Italian Linguistics. You might also be interested in second language learning, or in combining linguistics with literary studies of your language of choice. These options are an excellent preparation for a subsequent educational master.

Career prospects

According to our survey, our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in a range of professions. These professions are usually in the field of academia (linguistic and cultural research), teaching (English/French/German/Italian language acquisition and linguistics), writing (in journalism, publishing, advertising, marketing and public relations), and any role in which communication and analytical skills have added value (Human Resources, for instance).

  • Junior advisor at an institute Focusing on linguistic research and language teaching
  • Author of digital educational materials
  • Research assistant, teaching assistant at a university in Canada
  • Project manager at a translation agency
  • Teacher at a secondary school
  • Consular officer at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Technical writer at a company specialising in automation in health care
  • PhD candidate at a Dutch university
  • Consular officer at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Technical writer
  • Content manager, editor, translator at NGO's
  • Translator within EU organisations
  • Author of digital educational materials

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (1 Year)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (14,31,018) per year
Application deadline

Expected April 2023

More details

Start date

Expected September 2022


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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