This two-year programme is taught in English, with some electives being taught in Russian (courses in Russian linguistics). During the programme, students take a number of courses, including:
- Introduction to programming and analysis of linguistic data in Python
- Cognitive and functional linguistics: an introduction
- Linguistic data analysis: quantitative methods and visualization
- Laboratory phonetics
- Models and methods in language description
- Historical comparative linguistics
- Experimental linguistics
- Introduction to the grammar of a lesser known language
- Linguistic anthropology
While enrolled in the programme, students may participate in linguistic projects carried out at the School of Linguistics, including:
- fieldwork, including minority languages, Russian dialects, and field sociolinguistics
- typology, including sample-based typology, intragenetic typology, lexical typology, and corpus-based typology
- experimental linguistics, including psycholinguistic research on Russian and eye-tracking (together with the Center for Language and Brain)
- research in Russian grammar, including corpus-driven studies and Russian lexicology
Finally, the programme has research partnerships with the University of Tromsø, University of Helsinki, University of Stockholm, and the University of Pavia. Leading experts in linguistics from Europe and the US are invited to give guest lectures every year.
The Master’s programme in Linguistic Theory and Language Description is designed for students who plan to pursue careers in academic research and teaching. Successful graduates will typically look to further their training through PhD programmes in Russia or abroad or pursue positions teaching theoretical linguistics at leading universities.
Graduates also pursue positions with internationally renowned academic centres; in Russia, these include the Institute of Linguistics, Institute of Russian Language, Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, and the Institute of Linguistic Research.
The application process for Fall 2023 is open from November 1, 2022 through August 13, 2023 (preliminary selection). Submission of all supporting documents takes place from August 14 – August 25, 2023.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a strong background in linguistics or humanities and provide proof of English proficiency. Russian is not required for admission. HSE offers courses in Russian as a foreign language for different levels of proficiency, from starting to advanced.
Applicants are considered for admission based on their application portfolio meeting the programme’s requirements. Applicants without prior academic experience in theoretical linguistics are evaluated based on online interviews and offline assignments. Early applicants with a strong background are eligible to compete for tuition-free places based on their evaluation.
We suggest that you contact the representatives of the programme, including the deputy academic supervisor, early in the application processes, including prior to submitting your documents. More information about the application process can be found here.