The M.A. 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 and language documentation, discourse analysis, and identity studies.

Our carefully designed curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in the study and understanding of human language as a convergence of genetic, psychological and social systems and networks. We train students to critically examine and analyze the world within and around them—skills that can be applied to teaching, curriculum development, corporate cultures, legal contexts, intercultural communication, forensics, artificial intelligence, publishing, counseling, speech pathology, and child development. Knowledge of how and why we use language brings us closer to understanding who we are and how we can affect our worlds.

Credit hours required: 36


The program admits students for the fall, spring and summer semesters.

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Program Benefits

Students who embark on the journey to mastery of a discipline do so for a variety of reasons: career enhancement or change, curiosity and love of learning, self-discovery, and, ultimately, personal fulfillment.  Our Linguistics graduate program is unique in providing an emphasis on the analysis of both the structure and the function of language for professional careers and personal growth. Through coursework and hands-on research, students gain knowledge of:

  • the nature and structure of language
  • principles and methods of language analysis and documentation
  • relationships between language, mind, and cognition
  • the nature and process of language acquisition and multilingualism
  • relationships between language and cultural, national, social, and personal identity
  • the role of language as a mediator of intercultural understanding
  • how to apply their new-found expertise to a variety of professions

The M.A. in Linguistics also prepares students for doctoral study and research in linguistics, anthropology, education, psychology, and other related fields.


Career Options

An M.A. in Linguistics is a recognized asset for careers within the social and behavioral sciences.and will enhance your career opportunities in the following fields:

  • Technology: Work in speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer-mediated language learning.
  • Language preservation: Documentation and preservation of endangered languages, establishing literacy programs, translating documents for preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Education: Teach English and other languages, develop language teaching curriculum, train teachers, design assessment.
  • College/University Teaching: Use your degree to teach linguistics course at colleges and universities.
  • Publishing: Take a position in editing, publishing, or writing.
  • Advertising and Branding: Develop advertising strategies and brand names.
  • Government agencies: Work for the Foreign Service, NSA, Department of Education, Department of Defense, FBI, or CIA.
  • Film and Theater: Create languages, coach dialects and accents.
  • Consulting: Become a consultant on language and interaction in professions such as law or medicine.

The Linguistic Society of America offers more information on what a Linguistics degree can do. Visit our Career Opportunities page or contact the department for more info.

For more detailed career information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook

Academic Catalog Information

Take a closer look at the Master of Arts in Linguistics and the courses offered toward the degree.

Linguistics, M.A.

Department and Contact Information

If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact Linguistics at (773) 442-5871.

Linguistics Department Homepage

About Northeastern

Northeastern Illinois University is home to students from all corners of the world and is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation. Our small class sizes, flexible schedules and dedicated faculty can help you succeed in your studies.

We offer an education with value.

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