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Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree in linguistics provides post-baccalaureate instruction in current linguistic theory and in applying general linguistics to teaching language arts or to teaching English to non-native speakers. The degree is intended to accomodate students who have done previous work in linguistics as well as those who have had little exposure to the subject. For a brochure describing the program, please click here.


Admission is selective. The department will consider applicants who hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and whose credentials, including transcripts and two letters of recommendation, give evidence of academic distinction. Applicants must explain, in a statement of purpose, their reasons for wishing to pursue graduate work in linguistics. Although an undergraduate major in linguistics is not a requirement for admission, applicants must demonstrate a knowledge of the basic principles of linguistics, as would be encountered in introductory linguistics courses.

A grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate work is ordinarily the minimum standard for admission. At its discretion, the department may admit students of superior promise but deficient preparation provided that such students correct their deficiencies before commencing graduate work. Students may be admitted during any semester or session of the university calendar. Applicants to the program must have all their credentials in to the Office of Graduate Study no later than six weeks before the beginning of their initial semester of registration. After that time, and until the beginning of classes, they may apply for admission as special graduate students. However, not more than 12 credits earned as a special graduate can be applied toward the degree; therefore, the application must be completed as soon as possible. Upon completion of 12 credits, students will be evaluated for admission to candidacy and will choose an area of specialization.

Requirements for the degree of M.A. in Linguistics

The Master of Arts degree in linguistics will be awarded to the student who earns 36 credits in nine courses as specified below. Upon admission to candidacy, the student will choose an area of specialization from among the following three: linguistic theory, teaching English to speakers of other languages, and teaching language arts. Non-native speakers of English who wish to specialize in teaching English as a Second Language must satisfactorily complete and oral and written examination in English. At least 16 credits (four courses) of work must be in the area of specialization.  All students must take the Core Program of 12 credits which includes LIN 680 (Graduate Seminar in Linguistics) or LIN 690 (The Master's Thesis). Details on the requirements and guidelines for LIN 680 and LIN 690 are available here. When graduate courses are cross listed with undergraduate courses, graduate students will be required to complete additional work at the graduate level, usually an essay or a project decided in conjunction with the professor.

General Requirements

1. nine courses (36 credits)
2. no more than 8 credits in courses from other departments
3. no more than 8 credits in 400-level LIN or ALS courses
4. either (a) two years of foreign language study, or (b) one year of foreign language study and LIN 409; in either case, demonstrated first year proficiency in at least one foreign language is required.  First year proficiency can be demonstrated by satisfactory completion of a language course at the 115 level.

Core Program

(12 credits)

1. LIN 503 Introduction to Phonology
2. LIN 504 Introduction to Syntax
3. LIN 680 Seminar in Linguistics or LIN 690 The Master's Thesis


Linguistic Theory (24 credits)
1. LIN 603 Phonological Theory or LIN 613 Advanced Phonology
2. LIN 604 Syntactic Theory or LIN 614 Advanced Syntax
3. LIN 502 Historical Linguistics or LIN 507 Introduction to Semantics
4. One (1) of LIN 505 (Introduction to Phonetics), 507 (Introduction to Semantics), or 557 (Cognitive Linguistics)
5. Two (2) electives

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (24 credits)
1. LIN 505 Introduction to Phonetics
2. ALS 518 The Teaching of English as a Second Language
3. ALS 519 Practicum (4 credits)
4. Two (2) of ALS 535 (Psycholinguistics), ALS 517 (Models of Second Language Acquisition), ALS 574 (Cross-Cultural Communication)
5. One (1) elective

Teaching Language Arts (24 credits)
1. ALS 520 Linguistics and Reading or ALS 538 Theory and Practice in Language Testing
2. ALS 534 Language Development in Children
3. ALS 535 Psycholinguistics or ALS 518 The Teaching of English as a Second Language
4. LIN 604 Syntactic Theory or LIN 614 Advanced Syntax
5. Two (2) electives