Course presentation

Language Sciences and Cultural Studies for Special Needs is a two-year Master’s Degree (Laurea Magistrale) in Linguistics (LM39-Linguistica), taught in English, offered by the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Industries at the University of Parma.


Our Master’s Degree is designed mainly for:

  • Candidates who have completed an Italian Bachelor’s Degree from one of the following categories: L-11 (Lingue e Culture Moderne); L-12 (Mediazione linguistica); L-10 (Lettere);
  • Candidates holding an international degree in the areas of linguistics, foreign languages and humanities; these prospective students are subject to a preliminary evaluation to verify if they meet all requirements for our Master’s Degree.

Prospective students must meet our admission requirements. In particular, they must have an upper-intermediate-to-advanced competence in at least two European languages, one of which is English (see the "Entrance requirements" section). 


Language Sciences and Cultural Studies for Special Needs aims to develop advanced skills in the following areas:

  • Foreign languages, particularly English and another language among the following: French, German, Russian, Spanish and Italian as an L2.
  • Educational linguistics, with an emphasis on inclusive language education of learners with Special Educational Needs due to disorders affecting language learning and communication.
  • Multimedia accessibility, with a special focus on teaching practices, text adaptation, audio description and subtitling for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
  • Cultural Studies, particularly in foreign culture and literature, and intersemiotic studies.

The teaching methods adopted in our Master’s Degree are based on interaction, active participation, discussion and include project work, oral presentations and essays. All our core subjects are taught in English, while our language and literature modules are delivered in the relevant target language. In order to strengthen their language skills, students are also encouraged to gain experience abroad and take advantage of a wide range of opportunities for international mobility.

Our Master’s Degree is delivered in a blended mode. This means that, although in-person attendance is strongly recommended:

  • The lessons of our main subjects (except practical language classes) are recorded.
  • Each module is assigned a specific webspace on our Moodle platform where additional materials and activities are offered.
  • Our core subjects also include multimedia lessons designed with advanced distance learning tools, with the possibility of interactive work activities to be carried out with the students (self-assessments and self-study tests, etc.).
  • Professors may also organize specific learning activities and office hours for students who cannot attend the classes in person.

The exams take place in-person at the University of Parma. 


All our students will attend a group of core subjects related to language acquisition and inclusive language education (e.g., Neuroscience and Language, English Language and Linguistics, Language Education for Special Needs). Moreover, students are offered two alternatives:

  • The Second Language Programme, which provides advanced competences in a second European language, and its related literature and linguistics, among the following: French, German, Russian, Spanish.
  • The Italian as a Second Language Programme, which provides advanced competences in Italian Studies. This programme is suitable for Italian graduates holding an L-10 (Lettere) degree as well as international students who have been admitted to our Master’s Degree but do not possess competences in a second European language (the students will be offered a personalized version of the programme which aims to develop Italian language skills at a B2 level, which is the minimum level necessary for international students to graduate in Italy).

A particular strength of our Master’s Degree is the acquisition of a high level of competence in the fields of inclusive language education and accessibility. In this respect, it aims to form train language experts able to operate with learners with special needs, in a variety of educational and academic contexts, both  in person and online, as well as in fields related to the language and culture industry, such as publishing houses (both traditional and digital), language testers, language schools, online language teaching companies, etc.