Northeastern Illinois University

Linguistics Department


Main Linguistics Office
3050 Lech Walesa Hall
3601 Bryn Mawr Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60625
Phone: 773-442-5871


Graduate Program


The MA 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 MA 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.


Q: Do I need any special background in Linguistics?
A: The MA Program in Linguistics welcomes students with the degree of BA, BS, MA, or MS 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 2, 3 and 4 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 4:15pm or 7:05pm and meet once per week.

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

Admission Requirements

• 2.75 or higher undergraduate GPA;

• No GRE required.

• 9 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 Grad College website at International students should also follow the instructions at

Course Requirements

Click here for course schedules and descriptions

Required Courses

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

Awards and Assistantships

Every year, there are a number of merit-based Awards and a number of assistantships made available though the Graduate College and through the College of Arts and Sciences. Awards may cover tuition for one or two classes for a given semester. Assistantships provide tuition for up to 2 classes and a monthly stipend in exchange for up to 20 hours per week of work with a faculty supervisor. The numbers of available awards and assistantships vary from year to year based on the University’s budget. Graduate advisors will provide details about application deadlines. Merit Tuition Awards and Assistantship information can be found at

Graduation 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.

Thesis and Capstone

Students may choose to complete their MA 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 MA students will be required to complete the Capstone course or the Thesis with a grade of ‘B’ or better.

The Capstone Course

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 MA 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.

Thesis Option

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 7 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 MA program.

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: