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Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Linguistics MA program is closely related to the department’s definition of linguistics, which is the scientific study of language. The program aims to prepare the student to become a language professional, go on to a PhD program, or go into the world as a competent practitioner of the skills expected of a linguist. The linguistics curriculum develops such skills as analyzing language in its sound, structure, and meaning. Students can choose to focus on four emphases within the program. These are: 1. Corpus Linguistics/Linguistics Computing, 2. Language Acquisition, 3. Language and Society, 4. General Linguistics.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from the Linguistics MA program will meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Analysis Skills Development: Analyze linguistic data using appropriate (linguistic) methodology; be able to understand, interpret, analyze, and assess academic linguistic literature.
  • Professional Preparation: Demonstrate skills useful for employment or for future graduate studies (e.g. doctoral or other programs in computer science, Hispanic linguistics, applied linguistics, law, communication, marketing, etc.). Examples include: corpus analysis, computer programming, quantitative and qualitative data analysis (including statistical procedures), editing, teaching second language, natural language processing, and translation.
  • Effective Presentation: Be able to make formal written and oral presentations on a linguistic topic.

Admission and Entry

  • The application window is from September 1st to January 15th each year. Students will be notified of the admission decision by June 1 at the latest and begin the program in the next Fall semester (or Summer term, for those who need to take the introductory linguistics course). Apply online here.
  • GRE exam is required.
  • A minimum TOEFL score of 580 (paper), 237 (computer), or 90 (internet based – iBT with minimum scores of 23 in Speaking and 22 in Listening, Reading, and Writing) is required prior to admission for non-native English speakers, http://international.byu.edu.

Prerequisites

  • Ling 401 Introduction to Linguistics (Modern) or equivalent (contact linguistics@byu.edu if you need to take this the summer term before you begin the program).
  • Competency in two languages other than English: one language at the third year university level (typically 300-level courses, for example GERM 301) or the ACTFL Intermediate-Mid level; and another language at the second year university level (typically 200-level courses,* for example ARAB 201) or the ACTFL IntermediateLow level. Students who choose to have their proficiency measured in a certified language assessment, such as those offered by the Center for Language Studies, do so at their own expense. Native speakers of languages other than English can count their native languages towards this requirement. This requirement can be completed after starting the program along with regular course work, but it does not count towards the overall 33 credit program requirement. *Note: Despite its number, SPAN 105 at BYU is considered the first semester of second year university-level Spanish.
  • If indicated by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), which should be completed before or during the first semester, non-native English speakers may need to take advanced ESL classes in consultation with the Ling MA coordinator.
  • Non-native English speakers must take Ling 501 during their first winter semester, or test out of it. You will be contacted, during your first fall semester, on how this requirement may be waived. Note: This requirement will be met after admittance into the program.
Degree Requirements
Fall 2022 Cohort and After
2021 and Earlier Cohorts

Degree Requirements: Fall 2022 Cohort and After (total credit hours: 33)

Required courses (15 hours):

Ling 601 Linguistics Foundations: Sounds of Language (3 cr.)
Ling 602 Linguistics Foundations: Structures of Language (3 cr.)
Ling 603 Linguistic Foundations: Meanings in Language (3 cr.)
Ling 604 Research Design in Linguistics (3 cr.)

One from:
Ling 651 Advanced Phonology (3 cr.)
Ling 652 Advanced Morphology (3 cr.)
Ling 653 Advanced Syntax (3 cr.)
Ling 654 Advanced Semantics (3 cr.)

In order to allow some students to start specializing more quickly in our program, students with previous linguistic experience can replace LING 601, LING 602 and/or LING 603 with advanced electives. Students wishing to do so, should contact the department for more information on how to make those substitutions.

Electives (12 hours): To be selected depending on course availability and consultation with faculty advisors. Courses cannot double-count for foundation and elective.

Ling 590R Readings in Linguistics. (1-3 cr.)
Ling 615 Analogical Modeling of Language. (3 cr.)
Ling 640 Language Acquisition. (3 cr.)
Ling 651 Advanced Phonology. (3 cr.)
Ling 652 Advanced Morphology. (3 cr.)
Ling 653 Advanced Syntax. (3 cr.)
Ling 654 Advanced Semantics. (3 cr.)
Ling 545 Psycholinguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 550 Sociolinguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 551 Anthropological Linguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 558 Historical-Comparative Linguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 580R Problems in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics.(1-3 cr.)
Ling 581 Natural Language Processing. (3 cr.)
Ling 585 Research in Corpus Linguistics. (3 cr.)

Students can choose to focus on one of the following areas of emphasis:
– Linguistics computing
– Language acquisition
– Language and society
– General linguistics

Thesis (6 hours)

Ling 699R Master's Thesis (1-9 cr.)

Examination: oral defense of thesis

Note 1: An additional prerequisite course, Ling 401, is required for non-Linguistics BA students only.
Note 2: Graduate ELANG courses (500-600 level) approved by your Linguistics MA committee can be used as electives.

Degree Requirements: 2021 and Earlier Cohorts (total credit hours: 33)

Required courses: (6 hours)

  1. Topics in Linguistics (3 hours): LING 600
  2. Research core (3 hours): LING 604
Electives (21 hours): depending on course availability and consultation with faculty advisors.

Ling 545 Psycholinguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 550 Sociolinguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 551 Anthropological Linguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 558 Historical-Comparative Linguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 580R Problems in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics.(1-3 cr.)
Ling 581 Natural Language Processing. (3 cr.)
Ling 585 Research in Corpus Linguistics. (3 cr.)
Ling 590R Readings in Linguistics. (1-3 cr.)
Ling 615 Analogical Modeling of Language. (3 cr.)
Ling 640 Language Acquisition. (3 cr.)
Ling 651 Advanced Phonology. (3 cr.)
Ling 652 Advanced Morphology. (3 cr.)
Ling 653 Advanced Syntax. (3 cr.)
Ling 654 Advanced Semantics. (3 cr.)

Students can choose to focus on one of the following areas of emphasis:

  1. Linguistics computing
  2. Language acquisition
  3. Language and society
  4. General linguistics
Thesis (6 hours)

Examination: oral defense of thesis

Note 1: An additional course, LING 401, is required for students who did not take undergraduate coursework in linguistics only.
Note 2: Graduate ELANG courses (500-600 level) approved by your Linguistics MA committee can be used as electives.

For more information, contact Earl Brown, Linguistics MA coordinator: earl_brown@byu.edu, 801-422-3970.

Listen to current and former students of our Linguistics MA program discuss their experiences.