Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing

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Before the educational reforms following the Bologna Process, which aimed to make university degrees more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, students of the humanities studied towards a Magister Artium (M.A.), while students in the fields of science, engineering and the social sciences studied towards a Diplom. As a result of these reforms, the Magister Artium is being phased out and has now been replaced with Bachelor and Master degree studies. The last opportunity to commence Magister Artium studies in phonetics at LMU was in the winter semester of 2009/2010.

The Magister Artium degree consisted of a major and two minors from the following faculties:

  • Faculty of History and Fine Arts;
  • Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Religious Studies;
  • Faculty of Psychology and Education;
  • Philosophical Faculty of Cultural Studies;
  • Philosophical Faculty of Linguistics and Literature; and
  • Faculty of Social Sciences.

Popular partner subjects from these faculties included linguistics, computational linguistics, speech pathology, German as a foreign language, German or English language and literature, and foreign language studies. It was also possible to combine the study of phonetics with the study of information technology (IT), either by studying IT as a Diplom degree and adding phonetics as a minor, or by studying phonetics as a Magister Artium degree and adding IT as a minor.

A Magister Artium degree was usually completed in around nine semesters, or four and a half years, and ended with a six-month written thesis. The degree consisted of two main stages: The introductory period ("Grundstudium") of around 4 semesters ended with a three-hour written exam ("Zwischenprüfung") allowing entry to the advanced stage of studies ("Hauptstudium"), which concluded with a six-month written thesis, a four-hour written exam in the major, and oral exams in the major and both minors. The following courses were a compulsory part of the introductory period:

  • Introduction to Phonetics I (4 hours a week) comprising articulatory and descriptive phonetics, phonology, speech physiology and an introduction to reading spectrograms;
  • Introduction to Phonetics II (4 hours a week) comprising advanced speech physiology, acoustic phonetics, speech perception and psychoacoustics;
  • Phonetic Transcription I (2 hours a week); and
  • Phonetic Transcription II (2 hours a week).

Students majoring in phonetics were also expected to take at least two of the following advanced-level courses: Acoustic Phonetics, Articulatory Phonetics and Speech Perception. Electives in the introductory and advanced stages of study included courses such as:

  • Quantitative Methods of Analysis/Statistics in R;
  • Tools for Speech Signal Processing;
  • Speech Recognition;
  • Speech Synthesis;
  • Neurophonetics;
  • Speech technology;
  • Prosody and Intonation;
  • Courses in clinical phonetics;
  • Numerous courses in psycholinguistics; and
  • Courses in scripting and programming languages.

The winter semester of 2009/2010 saw the commencement of Bachelor studies in phonetics, and the first Master students are being accepted from the winter semester of 2012/2013.