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M.A. Degree Requirements

Master of Arts Degree:  General Linguistics Track

The Master of Arts (M.A.) program in linguistics requires substantial course work in language structure, function, and use. Students with second language-acquisition and teaching (SLAT) interests will take most of their elective courses within the SLAT curriculum; other students may pursue a variety of electives in both linguistics and related disciplines. The M.A. degree with a specialization in language teaching has different requirements and prerequisites. See Language Teaching Specialization M.A. sidebar.


Students may be required to take and pass (with grades of B- or better) certain prerequisite courses (typically an Introduction to Linguistics course, LING 351 Analytical Methods in Morphology and Syntax, and LING 511 Phonetics).

Coursework: 47 Credit Hours Total

Required Courses: 28 credit hours

LING 550 Introduction to Phonology 4 Credits
LING 551 Functional Syntax I 4 Credits
LING 552 Functional Syntax II 4 Credits
LING 507/607 One pro-seminar or seminar 3-4 Credits
LING 614 Linguistics Theory: Phonology 4 Credits
LING 615 Linguistics Theory: Syntax 4 Credits
LING 616 Linguistics Theory: Semantics 4 Credits

Elective Courses: 20 credit hours

Students are required to take an additional 20 graded elective credits in graduate-level courses chosen either from linguistics or from relevant related disciplines. These elective credits should be chosen in consultation with the departmental graduate advisor and the members of the Linguistics Department faculty.

Language Requirement

Students are required to have at least two years of one second language within the past seven years. At the M.A. level, any foreign language is acceptable, including English for an international student whose first language is not English. It should be noted that the M.A. language may count toward the two language requirements for the Ph.D. program if the language is used as a research language (see Ph.D. requirements).

M.A. Thesis

Students in good standing in the program may complete the program by writing an original M.A. thesis. It is the responsibility of the student to form an M.A. thesis committee consisting of two faculty members who share equal responsibility for directing the thesis, and who indicate their willingness to serve on the committee by signing a standard form, available in the Department office. If changes in committee membership become necessary, the student is empowered to change the constitution of the committee by simply invalidating the form for the existing committee and submitting a new form with the signatures of the two faculty members who agree to serve on the new committee. For the M.A. degree to be granted, both members of the committee must approve the thesis, and the main content of the thesis must be presented at a Departmental colloquium.

Students who elect not to write a thesis, or who are unsuccessful in forming a two-member M.A. thesis committee, may complete the degree by taking an additional eight hours of approved courses.