Contents and Structure of the Program

The program covers 180 ECTS-points. One credit point translates into a work load of 30 hours. The dissertation counts for 130 ECTS-points. The other 50 credit points must be earned as follows: 25 credit points in obligatory courses, 20 credit points in elective courses, and 5 points in the final oral examination. The Ph.D. program is scheduled for six semesters. However, this time frame can be extended for part times students up to a total of 12 semesters.

The doctoral students in the PhD program Empirical and Applied Linguistics can write their dissertation on any linguistic subject area, including general linguistics, second language acquisition and a linguistic topic within the framework of a specific philology. The student can choose whether to focus on a more theoretical or a more applied topic, provided that the dissertation has a solid empirical basis. The goal of the PhD program is to ensure that the doctoral student is proficient in various methods of linguistic data collection and analysis and can therefore use these methods in a critical and reflected way. This will ensure that the dissertation has a solid empirical foundation.

In addition to the regular content of the doctoral program, we offer our doctoral students a number of other opportunities that serve to further their qualifications and networking. In addition to the guest lectures in the Research Forum, which are open to the public, we organize workshops at least once a year that aim to teach relevant working tools or to deepen methodological knowledge. Furthermore, every two years, PhD students have the opportunity to get involved in the organization of a junior researcher conference, thus enhancing their competencies in the field of scientific organization. Information on past events can be found in the News & Events section.

Content of the studies
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  • Obligatory courses
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    Obligatory courses

    1. Colloquium of the Doctoral Students (3x3 ECTS-points)

    The students have to report on the progress of their project three times in form of a presentation at the doctoral colloquium. In the first colloquium (usually held at the end of the first semester), doctoral students defend their dissertation proposal. The second colloquium (midterm review) usually takes place during the third semester and consists of a report on the progress made so far and a discussion of any problems that may have come up. In the third and last colloquium, usually in the fifth semester, the most important results of the dissertation research are presented and defended.

    2. Werkstatt (3x2 ECTS-points)

    The Werkstatt gives the students a weekly opportunity to work in peer groups together under the guidance of a supervisor. The main subject matter is the discussion of theoretical and methodical questions relating to their theses, but it is also the place for planning and coordinating events and activities carried out by the students of the PhD program. It furthermore offers a space in which test lectures can be given or feedback on abstracts and essays can be obtained.

    3. Individually planned obligatory study program (10 ECTS-points)

    The idea of the individually planned obligatory study plan is to enable each student to focus on closing gaps in her or his linguistic repertoire and to become acquainted with further methods of empirical linguistics. The individual study plan covers 10 ECTS- points and is agreed upon before the student takes up his/her studies. The required credit points can be gained, for example, in regular seminars (with term paper), statistics classes (passing the required exams), etc., but they can also be earned via an individually agreed upon reading assignment or a pilot study using a newly acquired method.


  • Elective courses
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    Elective courses

    Elective courses can be chosen out of two areas: A (scientific core disciplines) and B (organization of scientific activities/further studies). At least 8 ECTS points must be earned in area A. The amount of ECTS-points that can be received vary depending on the time requrired.


    Scientific core disciplines Organization of scientific activities/further studies

    You may either work as a tutor, teach only one session or an entire class.

    Presenting at a scientific conference

    Publishing a peer-reviewed article

    Taking additional classes yourself
    Among other, you can attend a lecture, a workshop, a language class, etc.

    Organization of a scientific conference


    Organization of a stay abroad


    Please also see the study regulations for more information.

  • Final oral examination

    The Doctoral Final Examination ends with a scientific colloquium of up to 90 minutes in length. The topic of the oral examination is a topic broadly related to the dissertation topic, especially pertaining to methodological issues. Questions regarding further scientific projects and career prospects are also possible. The examination topic is suggested by the supervision panel, decided on by the Faculty Board.