Some think of multimodal communication as something modern, as text and video are combined on websites, or as we both hear and see people we are talking with through apps on our smartphones. Yet humans have been communicating multimodally since prehistoric times, with vocal sounds and hand gestures. Despite the fast pace of digital technology development, videos are played and texts are read largely on the same real-time scale as that of face-to-face interaction the human time scale.
How and why are different kinds of meanings and functions distributed over different modes of communication? How are those meanings, functions, and modes integrated in different media, including the embodied medium of face-to-face interaction? In this MA track you will learn how multimodal communication works, meaning both how different forms of it are constructed and how they communicate ideas in different ways (such as making abstract ideas easier to understand through metaphors). Attention is given to the use of both written and spoken language in combination with other modes of communication.
We welcome students from abroad as well as those from the Netherlands. The courses in the track are taught in English. What you learn in this programme could be applied in a variety of jobs, such as those of communication advisor, marketing consultant, trainer for media businesses, website consultant, or as background for further study towards a PhD.
In the first semester, your programme will include three required specialist courses on multimodal communication: one concerning talk as multimodal, one on text and image and one about the important role of metaphor in various forms of multimodal communication. Alongside of these, you will take two core courses in the department about how to analyse different genres of communication.
In the second semester, you will take two courses of your own choice (electives) while working on your master's thesis, which you can choose from the study guide. Each student coming into the programme will meet with a member of staff before the start of the academic year to consult about their choice of electives in order to ensure a coherent course of study. Once you successfully complete the programme, you will be a Master of Arts (MA).
You will be equipped with theoretical background and methods training which you could later apply in work such as communication advising, document or website design, marketing consulting, or doing research and training for media businesses. You could also go on to pursue a PhD on a topic related to the study of language and communication.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university is located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with the largest concentration of students in the Netherlands and where English is the second language spoken. The campus is surrounded by one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands hosting over 700 companies.
With more than 23,000 students, of which 3300 are international, the university conducts cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes reflecting a strong level of involvement in current societal issues: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, to engage with society and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world. In addition Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.
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