Cod: 51118
Department: DH
Scientific area: Communication Sciences
Total working hours: 156
Total contact time: 15

Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) in the Peircean tradition (cf. with semiology in the Saussurean tradition) is the study of signs and semiosis (sign processes). Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics (the study of verbal language) but also to other scientific areas, such as logic, philosophy, anthropology, communication studies, and so on).
Semiotics studies also the structure and meaning of non-verbal languages in all branches of art (painting, literature, advertisement, photography, cinema, etc.). When compared to linguistics, it generalizes the definition of a sign to encompass signs in any medium or sensory modality (e.g. visual). Thus it broadens the range of sign systems and sign relations, and extends the definition of language.

Meaning, signification

Students are expected to show both general, metacognitive, and specific competences in:
-analyzing semiotic problems within a given theoretical background;
-analyzing semiotically different signs and sign systems, both verbal and non-verbal (art, advertisement, etc.)

-Semiotics, signs (icons, indices and symbols), sign systems and communication;
-Semiotics and its relations withl linguistics and communication sciences;
-Semiotic tradition: Peirce and Saussure; Barthes, Greimas, Benveniste, Derrida, Eco, etc.
-Semiosis, interpretation, meaning and importance of context;
-Image analysis;
-Semiotics in different branches of art and culture.

References (Obligatory reading)
ABRANTES, Ana Margarida (2011). Introdução à Semântica. Lisboa: Universidade Católica Editora.  Cap. 1.1 e 1.2. (págs. 5-21).
CHANDLER, Daniel (1994): Semiotics for Beginners [documento WWW] URL Disponível em:
FIDALGO, António & Anabela GRADIM (2005). Manual de Semiótica. Universidade da Beira Interior: Biblioteca on-line de Ciências de Comunicação,
Disponível em:
PEIRCE, Charles Sanders (1977). Semiótica. Tradução brasileira. São Paulo: Perspectiva.
TRESIDDER, Jack (2000). Os símbolos e os seus significados. Lisboa: Editorial Estampa.
Other references (suggested reading)
BIGNELL, Jonathan (2002). Media Semiotics. An Introduction. Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press.
CARMELO, Luís (2003). Semiótica. Uma introdução. Lisboa: Europa-América.
DEELY, John (1995) Introdução à Semiótica: História e Doutrina, Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
NOTH, Winfried (1995) Panorama da Semiótica: de Platão a Pierce, São Paulo: Annablume, 4ª edição, 2008.
NOTH, Winfried (1996) A Semiótica no Século XX, São Paulo: Annablume, 3ª edição, 2005.
RODRIGUES, Adriano Duarte (1991). Introdução à Semiótica. Lisboa: Edições Cosmos, 1998.
SANTAELLA, Lúcia (2002) Semiótica Aplicada, São Paulo: Cengage Learning Edições Ltda


Continuous assessment is privileged: 2 or 3 digital written documents (e-folios) during the semester (40%) and a presence-based final exam (p-folio) in the end of the semester (60%). In due time, students can alternatively choose to perform one final presence-based exam (100%).