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Certificate in „Forensic Linguistics“


§ I. Contents and Aims

  1. The certificate „Forensic Linguistics“ is open to all students of the humanities and of law and can be completed in the frame of the elective subjects.
  2. The field of “Forensic Linguistics” is a relatively new discipline of applied linguistics. It’s initial field of investigation was authorship analysis, but has expanded to include other fields as well, such as the language of police interviews, in the courtroom, speaker recognition, and the language of the law. Thus, forensic linguists deal with a variety of data – any data, that is somehow implicated in crimes or related to legal issues, from legal texts to translations and the creation of linguistic profiles. Research in this field is highly relevant outside linguistics as well, and has increasingly been applied to real-life cases, particularly in the English-speaking world.

§ II. Learning Objectives

  • Basic as well as more advanced knowledge of forensic linguistics
  • Developing skills in the analysis of texts
  • Different research methods and their applications to authentic data
  • Ability to work in teams, but also ability to work on a project independently
  • Getting to know other areas of studies (legal field), particularly through an excursion to a court trial
  • Knowledge of the (English) legal language, different legal systems and legal cultures
  • Deepened knowledge of socio- and text linguistics
  • Recognizing and analyzing writing and speaking styles

§ III. Structure

  1. The certificate is composed of both compulsory and free elective subjects (Freie Wahlfächer) and comprises a total of 24 ECTS. A maximum of 50% of the ECTS are allowed to be compulsory or bound elective subjects (Wahlfächer) of the field in which the certificate is attained.
  2. The subsequent courses have to be completed successfully in order to obtain the certificate:
  Course LV-Type ECTS
1.1 1.1 Introduction to Forensic Linguistics
[BA Anglistik/Amerikanistik: PS Topics in Linguistics]
PS 3
1.2 Legal English 1
[treffpunkt sprachen] – winter term only
KS 3
1.3 Der juristische Fall als Einstieg in das Recht
[Institut für Zivilrecht, Ausländisches und Internationales Privatrecht]
VU 2
2.1 Language as Evidence
[BA Anglistik/Amerikanistik: PS Topics in Linguistics]
PS 3
2.2 Language in the Legal Process
[BA Anglistik/Amerikanistik: PS Topics in Linguistics]
PS 3
2.3 Legal English 2
[treffpunkt sprachen] – summer term only
KS 3
3.1 Researching Forensic Linguistics
[BA Anglistik/Amerikanistik: PS Topics in Linguistics]
PS 3
3.2 Forensic Phonetics
[BA Anglistik/Amerikanistik: SE Specialized Topics in Lingusitics]
SE 4
  total   24


§ IV. Methods

  • Multimodal courses
  • Group discussions
  • Text-based work
  • Work in small groups and independently
  • Small projects

§ V. Certification

  1. After the successful completion of the courses and the required 24 ECTS, the students will be awarded a certificate.
  2. The certificate will be issued by the coordinator of the program.

§ VI. Requirements

The certificate is generally open to all students of the University of Graz. The target audience are students of languages such as English, German, and linguistics proper, and students from the field of legal studies. In order to participate in the courses, basic knowledge of linguistics is required (for students without any prior knowledge, material for self-study is provided upon request).

§ VII. Frequency of Classes

The classes can be completed within 1.5 years (3 semesters). Each course is offered once a year.


§ VIII. Coordination

  1. The coordination of the certificate courses is in the realm of the university assistant in “forensic linguistics” at the Institute of English Studies. The certificates are signed by the dean of studies.
  2. The annual program is published on the website of the certificate.


Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Martin Löschnigg

Head of Department
Phone:+43 316 380 - 2481

office hour: Wednesday, 10:00-12:00

Deputy Head of Department


Sarah Mercer

B.A. M.A. M.Sc. Ph.D
Phone:+43 316 380 - 8190

Tuesday, 10.00-11.00
During the holidays by appointment only
Department's Secretaries

Jacqueline Auer / Jutta Klobasek-Ladler

Heinrichstraße 36/II
8010 Graz

Phone:+43 316 380 - 2475

Mon-Fri, 9:00-12:00
Contact person

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