Master of Arts in Advanced Studies in Linguistics (Linguistics in a Comparative Perspective)

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

 

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

 

Assets of the study programme

  1. Research-oriented: The programme is an excellent preparation for students who want to start a research project (PhD) in the field of linguistics. The students are taught how to carry out an original piece of research work and how to write a scientific article that can be submitted to a scholarly journal.
  2. Interuniversity: The Master is a one-year interuniversity programme, organised by Ghent University. The participating Flemish institutions are Ghent University and Catholic University of Leuven (KUL). Students can take courses from both (participating) universities since there is a close cooperation between the universities.
  3. Specialisation: Three different areas of specialisation are offered , namely: (i) Linguistics in a Comparative Perspective (at Ghent University), (i) Cognitive and Functional Linguistics and (iii) Multilingual and Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (both at KUL). The students register at the university of choice, based on their preferred area of specialisation.
  4. Integration theory and practice: Apart from the general courses and the specialisation courses, the students take an "intensive course", which brings them into contact with current research in their field of specialisation. This intensive course can take several forms: attending seminars, conferences, workshops, winter or summer schools, internship in a research group, etc.
  5. Multilingualism: all courses are taught in English, but the student can carry out research in any language. A wide variety of languages is mentioned in the classes, depending on the audience.

 

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Internationalisation: Every year foreign students attend the programme with an equivalent diploma (i.e. a linguistics-oriented master) and a good proficiency in English (Toefl test or equivalent). Their presence in the classes allows an exchange between UGent and foreign graduate students.
  2. Research supervision: The students carry out original research under the guidance of an experienced researcher. This way the student gets in touch with the supervisor’s research group and with similar research within the same specialisation (e.g. comparative linguistics, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, etc.).
  3. Feedback: The students regularly present their research to their peers during classes, and during an interuniversity meeting, which brings together the students from the three specialisations. This meeting is alternately organised at Ghent or Leuven University. The students deliver a short presentation on the established work for their master’s dissertations and receive feedback from both their peers and (the) supervisors.
  4. Methodological tools: The students are familiarised with databases and tools that are necessary for their research, such as language corpora, advanced techniques of corpus analysis, statistics, attendant strategies such as participant observation, semi-structured interviews, survey questionnaires, audiovisual recording, experiments, testing, performance measurement, priming, eye-tracking, etc.
  5. Personalised education: Thanks to the small number of students the teachers are able to adapt the topics and (the) languages studied in the classes to the students.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. Research competences: Disparities and gaps in the preliminary training of the students must be identified better from the very start of the academic year. This way students can be provided with solutions to counterbalance these shortcomings (for instance attending courses from the regular master).
  2. Student population: The master programme should attract more students both from UGent university and from abroad. The current number of students is too low. Therefore efforts will be made to improve the website, to give the UGent master students more information about the programme , and to send this information to foreign universities.
  3. Guidance of foreign students: The incoming students need more guidance with respect to bibliographical tools specific to the UGent, corpora available on Athena, etc.