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Master of Arts in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

Aya Matsuda, Director


The master's degree program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics addresses the study of human language and the application of that study to the human condition through training in linguistics and applied linguistics.  At the masters' level it provides foundational training in several different areas including second language acquisition and teaching, language change and variation, World Englishes and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis are also among areas of coverage.

Application Deadlines: January 15, April 15 for fall admission; September 15 for spring admission

Note: The committee reviews applications shortly after the deadline. The application must be complete with all supporting documents before review. This is the applicant's responsibility. Please plan accordingly when submitting an application.

Candidates for admission to the Master of Arts in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics 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. Note that applicants need a grade point average of "B" (3.0) or higher in the final two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree.
  6. Proof of successful completion of (at least) one upper-division course in linguistics, language study, or related topic.

*The GRE is not required for this program.

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 the English Proficiency Score requirements.

Department of English application process.

The Master of Arts in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics consists of 30 semester hours of graduate courses. Two tracks are available in the program.  The general linguistics track is designed to provide training in core areas of the field including phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis.  The applied linguistics track must include a linguistics core and additional training in applied linguistics drawn from different areas in the field, such as second language acquisition, TESOL, English language policy, World Englishes.

Required Core Class for both tracks (3 credit hours):

LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis

Track I: General Linguistics

The general linguistics program must include the following three courses or their equivalent (9 credit hours):

LIN 511  Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 514  Syntax
LIN 501 Approaches to Research

Electives (12-15 credit hours):

One 500-level linguistics course (3 credit hours), for example:
LIN 510  Linguistics (if not taken prior to being accepted into the program)
LIN 513 Semantics
LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Theory (if not taken as part of the core requirement)
LIN 517 History of the English Language or LIN 520 Second Language Acquisition Theories

One 600-level linguistics course (3 credit hours), for example:
LIN 610 Advanced Studies in Linguistics
LIN 614 Advanced Studies in Syntax
LIN 615 Advanced Studies in Sociolinguistics
LIN 616 Advanced Studies in Discourse Analysis or LIN 617 Advanced Studies in Historical Linguistics
Two or three additional electives, depending on the student's choice of thesis or applied project.

Culminating Experience: Students may choose between a thesis or an applied project:  LIN 599 Thesis (6) or LIN 593 Applied Project (3) for non-thesis option

Track II: Applied Linguistics: Second Language Acquisition

Required Courses (9 credit hours):
LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology or LIN 514 Syntax
LIN 520 Second language Acquisition Theories or  APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics
LIN 501 Approaches to Research

Electives (4-5 additional 500 or 600 level courses) 12-15 credit hours, for example:
LIN 510 (if not taken prior to being accepted into the program)
LIN 520 Second Language Acquisition Theories
LIN 521 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language
LIN 522 Grammar for TESL
LIN 523 Language Testing and Assessment
LIN 524 Curriculum Design and Materials Development
LIN 584 Internship
LIN 610 Advanced Studies in Linguistics
LIN 620 Advanced Studies in Second Language Acquisition
APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics
APL 518 World Englishes
The number of elective courses needed (4 or 5) depends on the student's choice of thesis or applied project option.

Culminating Experience: Students may choose between a thesis or an applied project:  LIN 599 Thesis (6) or LIN 593 Applied Project (3) for non-thesis option

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. One additional committee member is required.   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.

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.

Karen L. Adams - Sociolinguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, language and politics, language and gender, Southeast Asian languages.

Mark A. James - Curriculum, teaching, and learning in second language education, second language acquisition.

Aya Matsuda - English as an international language, second language acquisition.

Matthew Prior - second language acquisition, language and emotion, socio-psychological dimensions of language use, multilingualism and identity, discourse analysis (narrative, discursive constructionism, talk-in-interaction, conversation analysis, discursive psychology), qualitative methodologies, and sociolinguistic belonging, particularly for immigrant, transcultural, and LGBTQ communities.

Kathryn Pruitt - Phonology and Morphology.

Elly van Gelderen - Theoretical syntax, Historical syntax, Grammar and history of English, Typology.