Semiotics - Master of Arts in Humanities

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Estonia: Tartu


The 2-year Master's programme in Semiotics provides interdisciplinary background and gives a theoretical base for application of semiotic ideas to a wide variety of disciplines and scientific study. The programme binds together the theory of semiotics and three core modules - cultural semiotics, biosemiotics and socio semiotics. The programme also combines the major semiotic traditions of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles S. Peirce with the leading contemporary and innovative thought.

• Curriculum structure:
General module 30 ECTS
Specialty module 54 ECTS
Elective courses 6 ECTS
Master’s thesis 30 ECTS

• General module:
- History of Semiotics: Basic Concepts and Classical Works
- Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School
- Readings of J. von Uexküll and J. Lotman
- Methodology of Semiotic Analysis
- Master's seminar

Specialty module:
- Sociosemiotics and Societal Theories
- Ideology and the Concept of Identity
- Models of Communication and Mas Media
- Semiotic Analysis of Sbcultures

Elective courses: can be chosen from courses currently
available at the University of Tartu.

Language of instruction: English
Programme duration: 2 years


What is semiotics?

Semiotics is the general study of sign processes, or semiosis. Semiosis makes the world meaningful.

Today's world, where processes have a disbalance of global and local dimension, challenges us to understand the need of individuals and societies for defining their identity. Semiotics is centrally relevant to achieve this understanding.

Why study semiotics in Tartu?

The tradition of excellence in semiotic theory in Tartu was established by Juri Lotman in 1960s, the founder of semiotics of culture and the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School, as well as the oldest journal of semiotics, Sign Systems Studies.

The University of Tartu is one the few institutions in the world teaching full Master's and PhD degree programmes in semiotics since 1993.

As one of world's major centres of semiotics, the University of Tartu collaborates and is regularly visited by professors from all around the world: Myrdene Anderson, Paul Bouissac, John Deely, Dinda Gorlee, Jesper Hoffmeyer, Winfried Noth, Roland Posner, Frederik Stjernfelt, Eero Tarasti, and many others.

The finest collections of semiotic materials in Tartu include the memorial library of Thomas Sebeok, one of the world leaders in the 20th century semiotics, and the Centre of Jakob von Uexkull, a Baltic German whose works have been very important to the development of biosemiotics.


Academic Year

Minimum Education


Subject Areas

  • Culture
  • Humanities
  • Languages / Linguistics

Cost in US$:

Tuition free.

Program Fees Include:

Tuition-waiver scholarships.

This Program is open to

Worldwide Participants.

Typical Living Arrangements

  • Dormitory

Participants Travel


Typically Participants Work

Independently or in Groups

Application Process Involves

  • Online Application
  • Other
  • Transcript

Typically The Application Process Time is

60-90 days