Master's Degree


Dive deep into your passion for language — from understanding phonetics and phonology to mastering morphology, syntax and semantics — with a linguistics degree that will propel your future success.

Linguistics Degree: The Oakland University Advantage

Graduates of our master linguistics program routinely credit our dedicated faculty as the feature they love most about our curriculum. Passionate, personable and knowledgeable experts lead classes and research opportunities, giving you a competitive edge when it comes to seeking or advancing your career with a linguistics degree.

Other benefits you will enjoy in our linguistics degree program include:

  • Unmatched student success. Earning a master's in linguistics is just the first of many successes our graduates experience. Our alumni have a 100% passing rate for the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) in the ESL endorsement subject area, and students have gone on to speech-language pathology programs, to teach ESL domestically and abroad, to work in industries as diverse as IT or automotive, and to Ph.D. programs in linguistics.
  • Evolving and experimental research. Our renowned faculty members are active in the field and have diverse research interests, including all core areas of linguistics, language instruction and topics such as linguistic diversity and justice. Students can build their own CVs through our linguistics program by joining professors in their research and taking advantage of the linguistics lab, which provides space, equipment and resources for studies in TESL, phonetics and psycholinguistics.
  • Substantial teaching opportunities. Ready to put your passion for education and linguistics into practice? Our linguistics program offers two teaching graduate certificates: K12 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Teaching English as Second Language. Both programs provide an internship opportunity where you'll teach an actual course under the supervision of an expert faculty member — an extraordinary opportunity to gain important practical skills that you'll use in your future classroom on day one.
  • Important community leadership. Improve your community through civic and engagement opportunities available through your M.A. in Linguistics program. Not only can you teach in underserved communities in our TESL outreach programs, but you can also help cultivate a diverse and inclusive community through the Oakland University Linguistic Diversity Initiative (OULDI), which celebrates linguistic diversity and advances linguistic justice both on campus and throughout Southeast Michigan.

What Can You Do With a Linguistics Degree?

OU's master’s in linguistics degree enables you to succeed in a broad range of careers because it provides you with skills that are valued in many industries, including research, communication, data analysis and many others. Not only will you gain the versatile talents you need to succeed in your job with a linguistics degree, but you will also be ready to take your education even further by pursuing a Ph.D.

Our linguistics program readies you to work in a variety of positions, including:

  • ESL teacher
  • Speech language pathologist
  • Translator or interpreter
  • Technical writer
  • Lexicographer
  • Language consultant
  • Advertiser

M.A. in Linguistics Curriculum

To be eligible for the graduate linguistics program, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Your undergraduate degree does not have to be in linguistics, but you must demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of it.

If you qualify for admission, you'll complete 36 graduate credit hours which culminate in either a master linguistics thesis or graduate research project. Most students complete the linguistics program in two to three years.

Once you complete core linguistics coursework, you choose an area of specialization in consultation with your graduate coordinator, including:

  • Linguistic theory
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages
  • Teaching language arts

Proficiency in one foreign language is required for the graduate linguistics program.

Linguistics Program Resources

Academic Requirements

Graduate Certificate in K12 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) requirements

Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as Second Language

Department of Linguistics

College of Arts and Sciences

Programs Related to the Linguistics Degree

Not sure if the M.A. in Linguistics is right for you? Check out these other graduate degree programs at Oakland, and contact our admissions team to discuss your options.

Master of Science in Psychology

Master of Arts in Communication

Master of Arts in English