M.A. Semiotics of Texts and Culture

M.A. Semiotics of Texts and Culture

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Quick facts
ProgrammeSemiotics of Texts and Culture
Degree awardedMaster of Arts (M.A.)
Duration and credits4 semesters; 120 ECTS credits
Starts inApril (summer semester)
and October (winter semester)
Language of instructionGerman

About the programme

The master's programme in Semiotics of Texts and Culture imparts knowledge, skills and methodological expertise from the disciplines of linguistics, literary studies and visual culture as well as media semiotics; it also includes aspects from communication studies and intercultural subjects. The programme places the focus on the overarching aspect of semiotics of texts and culture — the study of systems of signs both as singular phenomena and in terms of their complex interrelationships — which is shared by the above disciplines.


  • A research-oriented programme
  • Core subjects: linguistics, literature and visual culture in their semiotic form, as well as media semiotics
  • Individual focus combinations in German, English, Romance or Slavic studies; linguistics or literary studies; or visual culture and media semiotics

Career prospects

This master's programme prepares you for a large number of scientific and knowledge-based occupations, in which symbols and symbolic processes based on linguistic, visual and communicative acts are subjected to semiotic analysis and the results made available to potential users.

This degree is relevant to areas concerned with inventory, documentation, archiving, processing, preparation and publication of texts of all kinds, including images and films. Potential employers are higher education institutions; non-university research centres; archives; museums; libraries and media libraries; intermediaries between academia and the public, such as publishing houses and online editorial offices; cultural institutions and administrations; as well as associations and companies, particularly in the area of internal communications and PR; advertising; customer relationship management and cultural sponsorships.

Once you have graduated from this degree programme you may follow up with doctoral study, laying the foundations for a career in academia.

Programme syllabus

The degree programme consists of three module groups and a thesis:

A) Core modules
B) Competence modules
C) Extension Modules

A) The core modules build on the competences previously gained in linguistics, literary studies, visual culture and media semiotics during your related bachelor's degree studies, while at the same time providing a framework for advanced scientific analysis of the research subjects of semiotics of texts and culture. In addition, these modules impart the necessary methodological and theoretical skills for scholarly research.

B) The skills modules give you the opportunity to specialise in two freely chosen subjects from: Language and Signs (linguistics), Texts and Signs (literary studies), Signs and Symbols (visual culture/art history and media semiotics).

C) The extension modules allow you to develop practical skills in the area of communication studies, intercultural communication and computer science with a view to your envisaged future occupational field.

At the end of the programme, students write a master's thesis on a subject derived from module group B.

Academic entry requirements

To be eligible for this degree programme, you need a good first degree, with a final average mark of 2.0 according to the German marking system (or foreign equivalent), or be ranked among the best 35% of your cohort. This first degree must have been obtained after a minimum three-year full-time degree programme in linguistics, literary studies, art or media studies.

The deadline for applications is 30 June for the winter semester intake and 15 January for the summer semester intake.

German language requirements

You will need German language skills at level C1 CEFR or higher to study this degree programme, as that is the main language of instruction for this programme. Therefore, you will have to provide a recognised German language certificate such as DSH-2 or TestDaF 4 in all four categories, unless German was the language of instruction for your secondary school education (e.g. Abitur at a German international school) or prior tertiary education.

The University of Passau has set up a German language teaching unit, German Courses Passau, which offers a selection of preparatory language programmes tailored to the needs of international students. These range from summer courses to a full academic year and cater to learners of all levels.