Cognitive, Digital and Empirical English Studies M.A.


Key Info

Basic Information

Master of Arts
Start of Studies:
Winter Semester, Summer Semester
Standard Period of Studies:
4 semesters
ECTS Credits:
120Mehr Informationen

What does that mean?

ECTS are credit points that measure the workload of one's studies.


Admission Requirements

  • First university degree, required qualifications according to the examination regulations Mehr Informationen

    What does that mean?

    A first recognized university degree, through which the necessary education background for the Master course of study can be proven. The necessary knowledge needed in order for studies to be successful is determined in the respective exam regulations (PO).


  • Proficiency in English --- Mehr Informationen ---

    What does that mean?

    You must provide documentation of your language skills for the language of instruction at the time of enrollment. The exam regulations stipulate the relevant requirements.

Admission to First Semester


Admission to Higher Semesters


Dates and Deadlines


Recent developments in literary and linguistic research show that, while this area of research continues to focus on central humanities questions, it is making use of cognitive science theories and models, working with the aid of computers, and applying both qualitative and quantitative empirical methods.

This Master's program, taught in English, is an innovative interdisciplinary course of study linked to this current research activity in the humanities, cognitive, and technical sciences. It directly follows on from the Bachelor's course of study in Philosophy, Literary, and Linguistic Studies, providing further innovative impulses.

The program bridges the gap between theories and methods of conversation and text analysis on the one hand and the cognitive and socio-cultural conditions of literary and non-literary, linguistic, and non-verbal communication on the other. Thus, graduates gain a deeper understanding of the functions and cognitive conditions of communication in different cultural contexts. In accordance with current, empirically oriented linguistic theories, communication is understood in many different modes, which also enables the inclusion of virtual and augmented reality and brings the spatial binding of cognition and communication into view.

This course of study is characterized above all by the fact that students are not only introduced to the theories and methods of cognitive, computer-based, and empirical research in literature and linguistics, but also apply these in increasingly independent research projects.

The literary and linguistic classes are supplemented by modules from other disciplines, which students are free to choose from. This course of study structure not only reflects the idea of RWTH as an integrated interdisciplinary technical university, but also brings classical humanities and philological issues closer to scientific and technically oriented disciplines. The use of digital media and cooperative learning formats are integral components of the degree program and can be found in particular in the courses of the practical-methodological oriented modules.

The expansion of the course offerings to include modules from other subjects such as cognitive psychology, sociology, computer science, and medical neurolinguistics as well as the RWTH research area "Human - Technology - Society" is guided by the idea of integrating the advantages of being located at an excellent technical university into the specific Aachen profile of a contemporary philological course. In this way, humanities students are increasingly integrated into technical-scientific working methods and at the same time encouraged to reflect on this orientation.

Thus, this degree program at RWTH is unique in Germany and is understood as a consistent adaptation of teaching and learning to recent developments in research.


Degree Content

The degree program consists of five different areas of study:

  • a basic area focusing on linguistic or literary issues, worth 40 credit points
  • a core area oriented toward the common themes of the two sub-disciplines, worth 32 credit points
  • an area of interdisciplinary and application-oriented perspectives, including an internship, worth 24 credit points
  • Master's thesis, worth 23 credit points
  • an empirical studies area, worth 1 credit point

Study Structure (Simplified)

Basic Area: Foundations

is focused on linguistic and literary issues respectively. Here, students learn the most important theories, models, and methods of both sub-disciplines. In particular, they will be able to make, use, and evaluate a well-founded selection of cognitive science and computer-based approaches and procedures for selected objects of literary studies and linguistics. With theoretical approaches in literary studies, students relate recent models and methods to the development of modern literary theory. In linguistics, they familiarize themselves with current theoretical approaches developed from empirical findings on language use as well as appropriate empirical methods of analysis.

Core Area: Focus

is oriented to the common themes of the two sub-disciplines. In a lecture series with a tutorial, students acquire an overview of empirical methods in linguistics, literary studies, and cognitive semiotics. They develop competencies in planning and processing small empirical studies on language, literature, and multimodal communication. Obligatory participation in empirical studies – either as test subjects or by participating, for example, in data analysis – offers specific insights into the process of empirical research. In seminars, students deepen their knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of empirical research. In the Research Experience project module, participants choose a topic and gain experience in independently planning, conducting, and evaluating a corresponding scientific investigation. In research and project colloquia, students can relate their own projects to the current state of research in cognitive, computational, and empirical linguistics, and literary studies.

The Interdisciplinary and Application-Oriented Perspectives Area

enables students to expand their subject-specific skills and knowledge with interdisciplinary knowledge, to relate both to each other and thus also to critically question them.

The Mandatory Internship

makes it possible to test acquired skills in a field of application. Internships are intended at university or non-university research institutions or companies in which cognitive, computer-based, or empirical approaches play a role – for example in media and advertising agencies, publishing houses, or in social media. Corresponding stays at English-speaking institutes abroad are also strongly recommended.

The Master's Thesis

concludes the degree program. When researching and writing up their thesis, students apply the knowledge and skills acquired during their course of study by investigating a question from the areas of cognitive, digital, empirical literary studies or linguistics in an independently developed, conducted, and evaluated project.


On the Department of Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy website, you can find more information about the study.


Stay Abroad

Ideally, you will have already completed a stay abroad during your Bachelor's degree program, since foreign language students should go abroad as early as possible. The degree program does not specifically offer a mobility window.

If you would also like to go on a stay abroad during your Master's, courses taken abroad will be credited as far as possible. Before stays at other universities, the departmental advisors agree upon Learning Agreements with the students, which are corrected during the stay if necessary.

All RWTH cooperation programs are listed on the exchange study websites. Subject-specific offers are published on the faculty's website.



You must have a first university degree. The required educational background is formulated in the examination regulations. The examination board determines whether applicants meet the admission requirements.

Language requirements

This degree program is taught in English. Applicants must have an excellent command of English to be successful in their studies. The language requirements are stipulated in the examination regulations.


Career Prospects

The degree program is intended to prepare students for a career in the field of empirical humanities, for example, for pursuing a doctorate. At the same time, however, students will also be qualified to work in areas where skills in empirical data collection and evaluation, information processing, documentation, and research are required, as well as the understanding and writing of content adapted to the respective situation. Through its foreign language orientation, the degree program also prepares students for professions in an international context in which a comprehensive, analytically reflected knowledge of the English language is required. Graduates are thus prepared for a job market that is increasingly characterized by globalization and digitalization. In addition to academic work, there are employment opportunities in the following specific occupational fields, among others:

  • Language Technology and Digital Humanities
  • Market and opinion research companies
  • European and international institutions
  • Publishing and journalism
  • Information, documentation centers, literary archives
  • International media, advertising, and culture
  • Public relations of international companies and authorities
  • Interpreting and translation studies
  • Foreign language teaching
  • Adult education
  • Tourism

Module Handbook and Examination Regulations

The module handbook provides a description of all modules of a degree program and offers a comprehensive insight into the program contents.

The examination regulations are comprised of legally binding provisions on learning objectives, prerequisites for study, the course structure and processes, and examination procedures.

Regulations that generally apply to all Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, including information on language proficiency requirements, can be found in RWTH's General Examination Regulations. These general regulations are further specified and complemented by the subject-specific examination regulations.

If two examination regulations are valid for a degree program during a transition phase, the most current version shall apply to students enrolling in the program for the first time.

Please note that only the German examination regulations are legally binding.

Module Handbook
Subject Specific Examination Regulations
RWTH's General Examination Regulations



The degree program is offered by the Department of Literature, Linguistics, and Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Cooperation partners of the institutes include the Aachen Center for Cognitive and Empirical Literary Studies, ACCELS.