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MA in Linguistics

The MA in linguistics serves two populations of students: those who are enrolled in the MA to increase their academic preparation for subsequent PhD work in linguistics and those pursuing a career outside of linguistics for whom the advanced training and credential offered by the linguistics MA will be useful. Although a number of our MA students continue their studies at the PhD level, either in our department or elsewhere, our program is unlike many other MA programs in linguistics in that it is designed as a standalone course of study, rather than simply a stepping stone to PhD-level work. For students interested in an academic career, the MA program is most appropriate for those who have had little or no linguistics coursework during their previous degree programs or for students simultaneously pursuing a PhD in another department at the University of Minnesota.

Graduates of our MA program have used their linguistics training to successfully pursue careers in a variety of fields, including data analysis, language revitalization, marketing, machine translation, natural language processing, software development, and teaching. Students in our MA program take a range of courses, covering all of the major subfields in linguistics and individualized electives. In their final year, students work closely with a faculty advisor to develop a Master’s paper (see Plan B requirements) in a research area of their choosing. 

There are two paths students can take to earning a masters degree in linguistics.

Requirements

Plan A

Plan A requires 20 major credits, 10 MA thesis credits, and 6 credits outside the major for a total of 36 credits. In addition, an Oral Final Exam and an MA thesis are also required. The major courses include five courses covering core areas of language structure (phonology, syntax, semantics) and one course in field methods.

Plan B

Plan B requires 26 major credits and 6 credits outside the major for a total of 32 credits. In addition, an Oral Final Exam and a Plan B paper are also required. The major courses include five courses covering core areas of language structure (phonology, syntax, semantics); one course in field methods; one research paper course; and one elective.

Language

Students have to demonstrate competence (the equivalent of two or more years of study) in one language other than their native language before the MA degree can be awarded.

View full requirements