Master of Arts in English (Linguistics)

Elly van Gelderen, program director

Admission Requirements

Specific Course Requirements

Track I Course Requirements (General Linguistics)

Track II Course Requirements (Applied Linguistics)

Thesis Committee Membership

Non-Thesis Option

Language Requirement



Candidates for admission to the Master of Arts in English program (linguistics track) must submit the following:

  1. Graduate Application
  2. A one-page, single spaced statement of purpose detailing background in language study, reasons for wanting to do graduate work in linguistics, and plans for the future
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Resume or vita
  5. Official transcripts
  6. Proof of successful completion of (at least) one upper-division course in linguistics, language study, or related topic.
  7. International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to this webpage for English Proficiency Score requirements:

Department of English application process.

Deadlines:  January 15, April 15, September 15

Specific Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in linguistics consists of 30 semester hours of graduate courses. Two tracks are available in the program: Track I: General Linguistics and Track II: Applied Linguistics.

Track I: General Linguistics

The general linguistics program must include the linguistics core, consisting of the following courses or their equivalent:

LIN 500 Research Methods
LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics
LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 514 Syntax
One Advanced Studies in Linguistics course (LIN 610, 614, 615, 616, 617)
LIN 599 Thesis (6) or LIN 593 Applied Project (3) for non-thesis option
Three electives (9) chosen in consultation with the advisor

Track II: Applied Linguistics: Second Language Acquisition

LIN 500 Research Methods
LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics
LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology or LIN 514 Syntax
LIN 520 Theories Underlying the Acquisition of English as a Second Language
One course chosen from: LIN 521, 522, 523, 524, 615, 616, 620
LIN 599 Thesis (6) or LIN 593 Applied Project (3) for non-thesis option.

Three electives (9) hours chosen in consultation with the advisor

Note: For both the general and applied linguistics tracks, LIN 510 English Linguistics, or its equivalent, is prerequisite to all of these core courses. It may be taken concurrently with other 500-level courses in the first semester of the program. LIN 500 Research Methods should be taken as early as possible in the student's course work.

Thesis Committee Membership

In addition to the departmental expectation that a student's thesis committee chair be a member of the English Department, a linguistics student must have at least one of the English Department's regular linguistics faculty on her/his committee. This linguistics representative can be either the chair or a member of the committee.


Thesis and Non-Thesis Options:

THESIS Option: LIN 599 Thesis, carrying six hours of credit, is required. Students will be required to defend this thesis before a three-person supervisory committee. The topic of this research project must be formally proposed by the time the student has completed 18 hours in the program.

NON-THESIS OPTION: LIN 593 Applied Project, carrying three hours, is required. If students choose this option, they will register for Applied Project (LIN 593 – 3 hours) in the last semester of their studies. Students who choose this option will produce a project under the supervision of an Applied Project Director and present their work at the end of the semester to the public at an oral presentation in a conference format along with other students who have chosen this non-thesis option. Students can choose one of the following: research paper, curriculum design, or professional portfolio. Oral presentations) of the applied project will be public and about 15 minutes in length. The discussion that follows may take 30 minutes. This discussion will involve questions from the Applied Project Director (and from committee members, if the candidate has chosen to have committee members). The candidate supplies an abstract three weeks before the presentation and, if the two readers ask for this, an electronic copy of the Applied project.


Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the thesis committee (See:


Important Notice to Current International Students: In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 of which should be face-to-face classes.