Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Master of Arts in Linguistics

A Brief Description of the Program

The Masters of Arts in Linguistics program has been designed to provide all candidates a common set of core courses that offers them a well rounded preparation for a professional terminal degree or for subsequent specialization at the doctorate level. The program's aim is to instruct students in the major areas of linguistic theory and the methods of linguistic analysis.

The M.A. program responds to current theoretical and applied developments in the linguistic sciences, job market demands, and the growing demand in research institutions and industries for skills in both applied and formal linguistics. While establishing a common set of core courses for all candidates, the program offers considerable flexibility through electives.

A total of 40 graduate hours of coursework are required above the two prerequisite courses (LING 400 and LING 401).

Students who enter the graduate program with an M.A. in Linguistics from another institution may petition the department for exemption of up to three courses from the M.A. required courses. Documentation, such as a course description, syllabus and in some cases a sample of completed work, should accompany the request, which should be submitted to the chair of the Linguistics department Student Examination & Evaluation Committee . Credit for up to three courses can be transferred only if not counted towards a degree at any other institution. Transfer of course credit must be requested through the SLCL Graduate Student Services office.

Master of Arts Course Requirements:

A. The following courses are required (20 hours):

  • LING 410: Historical Linguistics
  • LING 501:Syntax I
  • LING 502:Phonology I
  • LING 541:Syntax II
  • LING 542:Phonology II

B. Choose one from the set (4 hours):

  • LING 425: Introduction to Psycholinguistics
  • LING 450: Sociolinguistics I

C. Choose one from the set (4 hours):

  • LING 509: Cognitive Semantics
  • LING 507: Formal Semantics I
  • LING 551: Pragmatics I

D. Three elective courses are required (12 hours):

  • These may be chosen from any one of the areas or from a combination of areas of specialization specified in this program (i.e., computational linguistics, historical linguistics, phonology/phonetics, sociolinguistics/neurolinguistics, semantics/pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and syntax.)
  • LING 590 may be included, for a maximum of 4 hours

E. Research/Project/Independent Study Hours:

  • LING 590
  • A maximum of 4 hours may be applied toward the degree

F. Language Requirement

  • All candidates for the Master's degree must have proficiency in one additional language (other than their native tongue) in which there exists a significant body of linguistic literature.
  • This language may be English for students whose native language is not English.

G. 12 hours of 500-level courses are required

H. M.A. Qualifying Examination or writing of an acceptable M.A. thesis (0 or 4 hours):

  • Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois much pass the Qualifying Examination.
  • Guidelines for the Qualifying Examination are available here in MS Word and PDF formats.
  • Students writing a thesis are required to take 4 additional hours of LING 590 in addition to the required 40 hours.