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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.

Admission and Entry:

  • Application deadline is January 15 with entry in the fall. Apply 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,


  • Ling 401 Introduction to Linguistics (Modern) or equivalent (contact 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.

Requirements for Degree (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. 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

(An additional course, Ling 401, is required for non Ling BA students only.)

For more information, contact Earl Brown, Ling MA coordinator:, 801-422-3970.