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Summary of Degree Programme

Field of Studies

45.04.03 Fundamental and Applied Linguistics

Approved by
Approved by HSE Academic Council, Minutes No. 9, dated October 02, 2015
Last Update
October 01, 2020 by the decision of the academic supervisor
Network Programme


Length of Studies, Mode of Studies, Credit Load

2 years

Full-time, 120

Language of Instruction


Instruction in English

Degree Level


Double-degree Programme


Competitive Advantages

In Russia, the HSE MA programme Linguistic Theory and Language Description is the only MA programme with an almost complete dedication to teaching the principles of the empirical study of language. While other similar programs are in one or another way focused on language theory, our programme has a very conscious accent on fieldwork-related courses and interdisciplinary approaches. Our courses include linguistic typology, sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, the domains that are strongly dependent on, or advancing through, field linguistics. A heavy focus on statistical analysis of language data is another competitive component of the programme, without similar skills being taught in any MA programmes in linguistics (to our knowledge). Thirdly, the fact that the programme is hosted by School of Linguistics, HSE, potentially diversifies academic agenda of MA students because of the many research groups and centers, big and small, that are affiliated with School of Linguistics or sister departments, such as Linguistic Convergence Laboratory or Center for Language and Brain, all very active in attracting students to research activities.

Professional Activities and Competencies of Programme Graduates

Our graduates are earmarked for Academia. Even though the programme is young, many of our ex-MA students entered various PhD programs, in Russia or abroad. Some graduates continue at HSE, combining teaching and research activities. They have established research skills, including fieldwork organization and minority language documentation, experimental design, acoustic studies, computer assisted processing of linguistic data, statistical analysis as well as more generally project management, team working, critical academic reading. They have expertise in various research domains, first of all typology and sociolinguistics; and methodologies, first of all quantitative and corpus-driven approaches to the study of language.

Programme Modules

The structure of the programme is as follows. In the first module and partly the second module, we provide introductory and adaptation courses, specifically designed for students lacking background in theoretical linguistics and foreign students, but also brush-up courses for students with the profile BA. Adaptation courses include Introduction to linguistics and basic programming skills. To fully integrate, students with no previous expertise in linguistics are supposed to read additional materials. The two brush-up courses are Introduction to functional and cognitive methods and Introduction to formal linguistics. Also, in the first and second modules, we provide selectives (2/3) taught jointly to first and second year students, with a new topic each year, or topics alternating once in two years, so as to avoid overlap. Selectives include typology, sociolinguistics and Russian linguistics. In the third module, the students start studying quantitative methods and models and methods of theoretical linguistics. Both courses span over two years of education. In Modules 2, 3 and 4 we provide lectures by language experts introducing our students to the languages of their expertise (grammar of a non-(Standard Average) European language). Module 4 provides more room to deal with term papers. Module 5 starts with the courses of experimental and anthropological linguistics, and the 2/3 selectives including typology, sociolinguistics and Russian linguistics, as explained above. Across the whole time of education, the students attend a seminar in which they discuss their research or have guest lectures on various topics delivered both by HSE researchers and the experts we invite in the academic community. The last two modules, 7 and 8, are almost fully dedicated to diploma: data collection, analysis and writing the research paper.

Options for Students with Disabilities

This degree programme of HSE University is adapted for students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. Special assistive technology and teaching aids are used for collective and individual learning of students with SEN and disabilities. The specific adaptive features of the programme are listed in each subject's full syllabus and are available to students through the online Learning Management System.

Programme Documentation

All documents of the degree programme are stored electronically on this website. Curricula, calendar plans, and syllabi are developed and approved electronically in corporate information systems. Their current versions are automatically published on the website of the degree programme. Up-to-date teaching and learning guides, assessment tools, and other relevant documents are stored on the website of the degree programme in accordance with the local regulatory acts of HSE University.

I hereby confirm that the degree programme documents posted on this website are fully up-to-date.

Vice Rector Sergey Yu. Roshchin

Summary of Degree Programme 'Linguistic Theory and Language Description'

Go to Programme Contents and Structure