How is language stored in the brain? How do we acquire a foreign language? How can we explain patterns of language use in terms of underlying structures, and also the role of language in society?
Language and Cognition is a selective two-year Research Master's program that prepares you for entry into a related PhD program, or other research positions. The program offers a unique combination of neuro- and psycholinguistics, theoretical linguistics, developmental linguistics, computational linguistics, discourse analysis and communication studies. The key focus of the Research Master's program is on the cognitive aspects and processes underlying human language and interaction, which is the focus area of excellent, multidisciplinary research carried out in the Centre for Language and Cognition Groningen (CLCG) and the Groningen Research School for Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience (BCN).
The program is meant for talented students from all over the world who aspire to do research in the field of Linguistics. After finishing the degree, you will have acquired essential research skills and fundamental knowledge of linguistic analysis, language development, and language processing. Are you curious if you are eligible for the Research Master's program? Check the entry requirements.
PhD at the University of Amsterdam
While I was in the third year of my Bachelor's degree programme in English Linguistics in Serbia, two of my classmates did a 1-year exchange at the University of Groningen. They were so enthusiastic about everything to do with Linguistics in Groningen: the programme, the lecturers, the new things they learned.
That’s why I chose the Research Master’s in Linguistics at the University of Groningen following my Bachelor’s programme. It sounded like a great opportunity to get into the field of linguistic research. And I have never regretted my decision. In the two years of the programme I learned all the research skills that I was going to need for my PhD, from critical thinking to writing research papers. I conducted a number of small, practical research projects, so the programme felt very interesting and dynamic, and the lecturers were always incredibly enthusiastic and ready to help. Not only was the programme itself good, I also very much enjoyed living in Groningen, a small but beautiful and vibrant student city. I am currently studying for a PhD at the University of Amsterdam, conducting research on language learning in adults. My MA programme and the lecturers involved in it were ideal preparation for my PhD research; I rely on many research skills that I acquired in Groningen, such as critical thinking, designing experiments, analysing data from experiments and writing academic papers. I’m really grateful for all the programme taught me. Thanks to this solid foundation, a PhD doesn’t feel like a difficult undertaking. I would very much like to continue doing research in my future career, but I would also like to combine it with more applied work, such as developing new language teaching methods and materials.
I decided to take the academic path
Originally living in the Baltic countries, I moved to Groningen in 2012 to pursue a BA degree in English Language and Culture with a minor in Media and Journalism. Languages, research, and writing and editing have always been passions of mine, which made the move towards higher education in this field very easy. Following the experiences in languages and journalism, I opted for the academic choice and chose to do a MA in Language and Cognition. Sociolinguistics and forensic linguistics are my field of interest and I was impressed with how much courses the faculty offered in this regard. These modules taught me skills such as discourse analysis, corpus-based studies, and eye-tracking, all of which I found intriguing. No matter what your personal field of interest is, this degree allows you to directly incorporate it into your academic scope. The degree is certainly challenging but the effort is worth it if you are an aspiring researcher and genuinely passionate about linguistics.
I was looking for a highly internationalized and motivating environment where I could develop my theoretical and practical skills, and in Groningen I found it all
After being a research master student for over a year now, I can state that my expectations have not been disappointed. I found in Groningen precisely what I was looking for: a highly internationalized, motivating, and engaging environment. Since the master program has fairly few students, I have been able to get to know my fellow classmates very well. The relationship to them is pivotal as we all are each other’s biggest fans, defenders, motivators, but also judges. Groningen provides everyone with an environment in which they can play to their strengths. An aspect I have realized since moving here is that the most important thing is not the access to knowledge, but what to do with it once it is acquired. This master is about networking skills, seeing and seizing possibilities that others do not, and also learning to cope with rejection and failure but to keep going regardless. For me, being a student of this research master is like being part of a top-class sport team.
Participating in the Research Assistants Programme
In 2014, I was involved in the Research Assistants Program (RAP), in which research master students get to do their own research under a given supervisor. Partaking in the RAP allowed me to attend conferences abroad, for instance the Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD), a three-day conference with researchers from all over the world. I attended various panels, poster sessions, and was involved with people who are at the forefront of research in this field. I also had the chance to see Boston. It was generally an experience that highlighted how interesting it can be to be involved in research, both academically and socially.
I chose this master's track because it offers me the opportunity to explore my own academic interests, while also providing me with the methodological skills essential for a career in research
After finishing my BA in Linguistics and Psychology, I knew I wanted to continue studying the cognitive mechanisms underlying language. A couple of visits to open days of different Research Master programs in the Netherlands brought me to Groningen and to the ReMa Language & Cognition. I chose this master’s track because it offers me the opportunity to explore my own academic interests, while also providing me with the methodological skills essential for a career in research.
During the first semester of your studies, you will follow a number of mandatory courses that make sure that all students, coming different disciplines, have a fundamental knowledge of linguistic theory and research methodology. Additionally, you are free to choose from a number of elective courses in subfields such as theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics or computational linguistics. This allows you to design your curriculum based on your own academic interests.
Are you an international student from a non EU/EEA member state starting a Research Master's programme or Erasmus Mundus Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the Holland Scholarship, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.
Read more on the Holland Scholarship.
Talented and motivated students who start in September in one of the five Research Master Programmes offered by the Faculty of Arts, may apply for a paid position of one day a week at the university.
Read more about the Research Assistants Programme positions.
The Faculty of Arts also offers a one year master’s degree programme in Linguistics.