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Master Program Linguistics

Prerequisites & How to apply

Admission Requirements Master Program Linguistics

The specialized Master’s degree Linguistics does not link to a specific program but is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics or related fields (see Annex to the Study Regulations for details). The admission requires acquired academic skills at the undergraduate level equivalent to 21 ECTS credits in the field of linguistics. Applicants who meet the academic requirements can be admitted “sur dossier” without a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics. This program can be studied completely in English* and therefore explicitly addresses Swiss and international students. 

  • Motivation letter
  • An independently written paper
  • Very good knowledge of English on academic level (listening, reading, speaking), including academic writing skills in English

At the request of the study program directorate:

  • Other evidence of qualifications relevant to the study program (e.g., seminar papers translated into English)
  • An oral admission interview

The decision on admission to the study program is made by the study program directorate.

* Courses from the focus area 'Romance Linguistics' are taught in the languages studied (i.e. French, Italian, Spanish, Rumansh), courses from the focus area 'Language - Interaction - Society' are predominantly taught in German as well as some Dutch language courses. Indo-European Studies is taught predominantly in German as well.

Motivation letter and written work

Please provide a motivation letter as well as an independently written seminar paper  in the language of instruction of your chosen focus area that you are applying for (German or English).

Focus area

Language of the motivation letter and written work

Descriptive Linguistics, Indo-European Studies, Psycholinguistics, Slavic Linguistics, 
Language - Interaction - Society, 
Linguistics (no focus)

German or English
Digital Linguistics, English Linguistics, Phonetics and Speech Sciences English
Romance Linguistics Italian, French, or Spanish

Motivation letter: Your motivation letter should outline your reasons for applying to the specialized Linguistics MA and how this program aligns with your academic and career goals in the field of linguistics. You may also want to articulate your long-term goals in the field of linguistics, whether it's pursuing a Ph.D., working in academia, or contributing to language-related industries. Explain how the specialized master's program will help you achieve these goals and how you envision using the knowledge and skills acquired during the program.

Written work: Provide an example of an independently written work, e.g. from your BA studies. This does not have to be on a linguistic topic if you come from a background unrelated to Linguistics. 

Language Skills

The specialized Master’s in Linguistics requires very good knowledge of English at an academic level. This means that before the start of your studies, you need to have very good skills in listening and reading comprehension, speaking and writing. 
Your level of English should allow you to actively participate in scientific discussions, write academic seminar papers, and follow lecture and seminar contents. You should be able to communicate fluently in spoken English, compose complex texts in academic or professional settings and present your thoughts and arguments clearly and convincingly. You should also be able to deliver presentations in English (unless otherwise stated in a specific course description, e.g. if the language of instruction is Spanish, then you should be able to communicate in Spanish).

21 ECTS from the field of Linguistics

Candidates must have at least 21 ECTS credits from linguistic contents at Bachelor's level. If this is not the case, candidates may be admitted to the program with additional requirements of up to 21 ECTS credits to be completed in BA level courses in linguistics. This additional requirement can be fulfilled during the course of study. However, we strongly advice you to fulfil this requirement before your studies or in the first semester. 

Important: Courses aimed at learning a language (e.g. 'Oral English', 'Writing in English', 'Business English', etc.) do not count as linguistic content. Only courses that belong to the field of Linguistics will be considered in the evaluation of previous knowledge in linguistics. 


We may schedule an interview with you if deemed necessary. The purpose of the interview is to assess if our program aligns with your goals and interests, and vice versa. It's not a test but rather a conversation to ensure compatibility and a positive experience for both parties.
This interview takes place online. 


The mandatory methodology modules are very technical and can thus be quite demanding. We recommend you brush up on your highschool math knowledge before taking these modules. See section Preparation for more detailed information on the mandatory requirements. 


Applications must be submitted online via the UZH Application Portal. Please read the pages Admission to the Master’s Program and Online Application and Admission before you apply.

Upload all the necessary documents on the application portal (see documents to submit and the paragraph Admission Requirements Master Program Linguistics above). 

UZH students apply for the program change at the Administration Office.


Admission into the Master's program involves the following three steps:

  1. Application assessment by the University: The Admissions Office reviews the application based on the formal criteria set out by the Ordinance on Admission to Studies at the University of Zurich.
  2. Academic Review: Once the Admissions Office approves the application, the documents are forwarded to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (examination delegate) and the Linguistic Centre Zurich (Admissions Committee) for specialized academic review. Each application is reviewed individually.
  3. The Admissions Office sends you a decision on admission, informing you of your admission.

Information for UZH-Students: Changing your study program to Linguistics

If you are currently enrolled at UZH and are considering transitioning to a Linguistics program, please ensure to adhere to the specified deadlines. Applications submitted after the deadline may not be considered for the ongoing semester.

Weiterführende Informationen

Study Advisor and Programme Coordinator

For questions related specifically to the program as well as the prerequisites.

Lorena Schneider
Office hours: Mon - Tue - Thu (AND 4.76)

For questions regarding the admission process in general, please contact  the Admissions Office.

International Students

Contact for questions related to visa requirements and mmigration

Cecilia Caruso
+41 44 634 20 28
Office hours: Mon - Thu