The core of the Master’s Degree Program in English is scholarly research on the linguistic, literary, and sociocultural diversity of the English-speaking world in the present and the past. The global relevance of anglophone culture, which influences social domains as diverse as language and literature, film and music, tourism and advertising, and business and politics, invites an in-depth analysis of the complexity of its literature, culture, and linguistics. Furthermore, the dominance of English as the most important lingua franca of our time gives rise to social and political challenges that call for experts in English language(s) and culture(s). At the University of Basel, the development of this expertise is grounded in a strong cultural and interdisciplinary approach.

Focal areas of teaching and research

At the University of Basel’s English Department, research and teaching take place in two academic subfields: Literary Studies and Linguistics.

The subfield Anglophone Literary Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach based on cultural studies to address anglophone literature in the context of intellectual and cultural history, as well as in connection with other media. Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies in Basel focus on the following points:

  • English and Irish literature and culture since the Renaissance, especially in the fields of drama in the age of Shakespeare, literature and memory, and literature and space (cultural topographies);
  • American literature from the 18th to the 21stcentury;
  • Postcolonial literature and theory;
  • Literary, cultural and media theory, as well as aesthetics.

The subfield Linguistics of English studies the significance and functions of the English language in the past and present, in public and private, in culture and science, and of course in everyday life. Anglophone linguistics in Basel has the following focal points:

  • Cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics, especially language acquisition;
  • Sociolinguistics, pragmaticsand discourse analysis of English.

At master level, students expand their knowledge and skills from the bachelor’s degree. The focus of the research part of the curriculum is either on English Linguistics or Anglophone Literary and Cultural Studies.

Almost all courses at the English Department are taught in English.

Program structure

A master’s is a second degree that a person can earn after completing a bachelor’s. The master’s program requires a total of 120 credit points (CP). The Master's Degree Program in English is combined with a second degree subject, each worth 35 CP. The subject in which students write their master’s thesis (30 CP) is considered to be their major; the other subject is their minor. Free electives (20 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Master of Arts (120 CP)
Major of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
65 CP (35 CP + 30 CP for the master thesis)
Minor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or extra-faculty
35 CP
Free electives
20 CP
Two degree subjects

Combination of subjects

Students are free to select a second master’s degree subject that meets their specific interests. Students can choose a subject offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences or a subject from another faculty. 

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Career opportunities

The academic study of English linguistics, literary studies, and cultural studies opens the door to a variety ofdifferent career options. One of the most popular is teaching. English courses are in demand at all school levels, as well as in adult education. Furthermore, the linguistic and textual skills developed in the academic study of English prepare students for work in numerous professions involving communication, including publishing, journalism, the diplomatic service, non-profit and cultural organizations, marketing and public relations, and information and documentation services. Professional translation is also an option. It is advisable to explore possible career options during your studies and complete appropriate internships or training courses. A small percentage of graduates go on to pursue an academic career.

Teaching diploma

Graduates who are interested in the teaching profession can study for a teaching diploma for the lower secondary level (Sekundarstufe I) or upper secondary level (Sekundarstufe II). For details and teaching diploma regulations, please consult the relevant school for teacher education (such as the FHNW School of Education) or the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education.

Master’s admission requirements

Admission to master’s programs is regulated by the university student regulations and the stipulations of the individual degree program descriptions. More details of the general master’s admission requirements are provided here.

For students to be admitted with no additional requirements, they must hold a bachelor’s degree worth 180 CP from a higher education institution recognized by the University of Basel.

Subject-related requirements are defined in the admission requirements (section 3) of the study program for the relevant subject. The guidelines may also contain further useful information that is key to successful studies.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the <link de fakultaet aktuelles external-link-new-window internen link im aktuellen>events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Master’s examination & degree

Deadlines and dates for master's studies (see data sheets at documents and information sheets)

From the fall semester 2019, the revised framework regulations for the Master of Arts will apply. Registration for the master's thesis is independent of registration for the master's examinations. It is now also possible to examine only one subject per session, i.e. the two master's examinations can be divided into two sessions (attention: only for master's degree subjects, it is not possible to separate the two examinations for study programs). New registration deadlines apply for the master's examinations, these have previously taken place at the same time as the registration for the master's thesis.

From the registration in spring semester 2019 onwards, the same acceptance and submission date (last date of the registration deadline) will apply to the master's thesis for all students.

Master’s thesis
Semester takeover, submission Takeover FS 2021, submission FS 2022Takeover SS 2022, submission SS 2023Takeover FS 2022, submission FS 2023Takeover SS 2023, submission SS 2024
Registration form available fromexpiredexpiredexpired03.04.23
Application Master’s thesisexpiredexpiredexpired02.05.* - 22.05.23**
Takeover dateexpiredexpiredexpired22.05.23
Submission dateexpired19.02.2317.08.2321.02.24
Submission of Master’s thesis confirmation formexpiredby 25.02.23 at the latestby 24.08.23 at the latestby 28.02.24 at the latest
Review submission by lecturers20.12.2219.06.2320.12.2319.06.24
Notification of grades and review inspection31.01.2331.07.2331.01.2431.07.24
Master's examinations for students of the degree subject and program


FS 2022SS 2023FS 2023SS 2024
Application forms (degree subject / program) available fromexpired23.01.2321.08.2329.01.24
Application deadline for examinationexpired20.02. - 03.03.2318.09. - 29.09.2326.02. - 08.03.24
Examination session19.12. - 23.12.2226.05. & 30.05. - 02.06.23***18.12. - 22.12.2327.05. - 31.05.24
Notification of grades16.01.2312.06.2312.01.2414.06.24
Application for MA degree documents
SemesterFS 2022SS 2023FS 2023SS 2024
Application deadline for degree
(Application form)
16.01. - 17.02.2312.06. - 11.08.2315.01. - 16.02.2417.06. - 09.08.24
Graduation ceremony25.03.2316.09.2323.03.2421.09.24

All data subject to subsequent changes.

*01.05.2023 is public holiday (Labor Day)
**18. & 19.05.2023 are public holidays (Ascension Day)
***29.5.23 is public holiday (Whit Monday)

Academic advice

Teaching committee