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The M.A. program in Linguistics focuses on investigating language from both theoretical and functional approaches. Our dynamic curriculum combines core studies in the structure of language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics) with current approaches in sociolinguistics, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, language contact, world Englishes, endangered languages, discourse analysis, and identity studies. In addition to directly applying to the teaching of linguistics, English and other languages, an M.A. in Linguistics is a recognized asset for careers in curriculum development, publishing, product branding, speech pathology, natural language processing, translation, law, education, and other professions within social and behavioral sciences, especially those concerned with language policies and practices in multilingual settings.

Through their course work and hands-on research, students will be introduced to:

  • The nature and structure of language
  • The principles and methods of language analysis
  • The relationship between language and cultural, national, social, and personal identity
  • The role of language as a mediator of intercultural understanding

Linguistics Department Site


Q: Do I need any special background in Linguistics?
A: The M.A. in Linguistics welcomes students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in any discipline who appreciate the role of language at a local and a global level.

Q: How long will it take me to complete the program?
A: Full-time or part-time? Ask us about our two, three and four-year plans.

Q: I have a full-time day job. Do you offer courses in the evenings?
A: To help optimize opportunity, all our classes are offered at either 4:15 p.m. or 7:05 p.m. and meet once per week.

Q: What are my career options with an M.A. in Linguistics?
A: Linguistic knowledge and training help you achieve career goals in fields such as language teaching, computational linguistics, curriculum development, publishing, translation and interpretation, speech pathology, forensic linguistics and language policy and revitalization.

Q: I have been admitted to the MA Program in Linguistics, what should I do if I can't start school right now?
A: If you are admitted to a program but do not wish to enroll in the semester that admission was given, you may request to defer enrollment for one academic year. This request must be in writing and emailed to both your graduate advisor and Steve Pajak, associate director of admissions at If you fail to enroll within one academic year, your file will become deactivated and you will be required to request for reinstatement in writing whenever you plan to return. However, if there has been a change in admission requirements to the program, you will be required to comply with the new program requirements.

Department Website

Admission to the Program 


  • 2.75 or higher undergraduate GPA
  • No GRE required
  • Nine hours of foreign language study at the undergraduate level or above OR for English as a second/foreign language learners a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper); 79 on the Internet-based test; 213 (computer-based); OR a score of 6.5 on the IELTS.
  • Submission of completed application to the Graduate College. Applications can be obtained on-line through the Graduate College website. International students should also follow the instructions on the international section of the Graduate College site.

Degree Requirements 

  • Completion of 36 hours of course work (including capstone or thesis)
  • Cumulative 3.0 GPA with no more than 2 grades of C
  • Successful completion of a capstone or thesis

Linguistics Department Graduate Course Descriptions


LING 401 Fundamentals of Modern Linguistics
LING 405 Typology
LING 422 Phonology
LING 427 Morphology or LING-435 Semantics
LING 437 Generative Grammar
LING 446 Sociolinguistics
LING 450 First Language Acquisition


*Elective courses marked with an asterisk may be selected as a Capstone.

LING 427 Morphology* (if not serving as a core course)
LING 430 Structure of Language*
LING 433 Lexicology
LING 435 Semantics* (if not serving as a core course)
LING 438 Syntax*
LING 448 Discourse Analysis*
LING 449 Anthropological Linguistics*
LING 452 Psycholinguistics*
LING 453 Language Contact*
LING 454 Language and Identity*
LING 461 Issues in Multiple Language Acquisition*
LING 462 Lexical Acquisition*
LING 471 World Englishes*
LING 472 American English—History and Growth*
LING,473 The English Language—History and Development*
LING 475 Historical and Comparative Linguistics*
LING 481 Language and Tourism*
LING 482 Stylistics*
LING 483 Field Methods in Linguistics
LING 484 Language Endangerment and Documentation
LING 488 Language and Cultures of Iran*
LING 489 Linguistics in the Professions
LING 491 Translation and Linguistic Analysis: Topics Varies*
LING 491E Translation and Linguistic Analysis: Aleut*
LING 491F Translation and Linguistic Analysis: Mandan*
LING 491N Translation and Linguistic Analysis: Biloxi*
LING 491O Translation and Linguistic Analysis: Crow*|
LING 492 Seminar: Linguistics and Related Fields*
LING 493 Seminar: Linguistic Theory*
LING 494 Seminar: Historical Linguistics*
LING 499 Thesis Seminar

Thesis and Capstone

Students may choose to complete their master’s degree through either a capstone experience or the thesis seminar. Both options engage students in an assessment component that authentically addresses and evaluates their knowledge and skills in linguistics and applied linguistics. All Linguistics graduate students will be required to complete the capstone course or the thesis with a grade of ‘B’ or better.


The capstone experience involves completion of a capstone course (see capstone courses listed under Electives). The capstone experience offers students a unique opportunity to integrate their M.A. Linguistics education. The capstone courses require students to exhibit a comprehensive knowledge of linguistics by demonstrating their understanding of how a minimum of two linguistic sub-areas covered in the seven required courses are relevant to the content of the capstone course and paper. The product of this capstone experience will be a research paper that is appropriate for conference presentation and/or publication. Students will have completed the seven required courses with a B average or higher and have obtained the approval of their graduate advisor before registering for a capstone course.


Students will work with a committee of three Linguistics faculty members to conduct original research and to write a thesis. Students will have completed the seven required courses with a B average or higher, and have obtained the approval of their graduate advisor before registering for the thesis seminar

Credit Transfer and Student-at-large Credits

With the approval of your advisor, you may transfer up to three relevant courses (nine credits) taken in a program from another institution to count towards the MA degree. You may also take up to three courses in the Linguistics program as a student-at-large which will count towards degree completion once you enter the M.A. program.

Program Contact Information 

Graduate Advisors

Judith Kaplan-Weinger
Professor, Graduate Advisor
Office: LWH-3070, Phone: 773-442-5877, email address:

Shahrzad Mahootian
Professor, Graduate Advisor
Office: LWH-3068, Phone: 773-442-5875, email address:


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