Earning a masters in linguistics prepares graduates for a variety of career opportunities across several professions. The wide range of applications and far-reaching effects of linguistics potentially opens doors to a successful career for an individual that earns a master’s degree in linguistics.
Linguistics can be defined many different ways by various websites. Part of the reason is because of the many applications of the field of linguistics. The University of Washington simplifies the definition, indicating that it is “the scientific study of language,” and that it is concerned with the description of rule-governed structures of various languages and the particulars of those structures.
Top 5 Masters in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
|1||Texas Tech University||Lubbock, Texas|
|2||University of Georgia||Athens, Georgia|
|3||University of New Mexico||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|4||University of California at Davis||Davis, California|
|5||Northeastern Illinois University||Chicago, Illinois|
What is Linguistics?
Understanding the applications of linguistics is important because it provides the information that may help a student seeking a masters in linguistics decide which path to take, or which specialization to choose when pursuing the degree. The Linguistic Society of America, in describing the profession of linguistics, explains that some people choose a career in academia, while others may choose to work in the public or private sector. Students interested in technology often find their ideal career in computational linguistics.
There are a broad range of career options for graduates of master’s in linguistics programs, including:
- Language education
- Speech pathologist
- Communications intelligence
- Language revitalization
- Law enforcement
Other professions where graduates of linguistics programs discover their ideal career includes teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), corporate language consulting, interpreters or translators. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a separate category for linguistics, but lists the job outlook for translators and interpreters branch of the profession as “much faster than the average for all occupations” over the next several years.
These schools offer master’s in linguistics programs that provide prospective students with a variety of career pathway options.
The Best 15 Masters in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Texas Tech University
Students that wish to enroll in the Texas Tech University Languages & Cultures – Applied Linguistics Master of Arts program need to first meet all requirements for applying to the graduate school, and be able to demonstrate knowledge of a language other than English. Examples of required courses include Linguistics for 2nd Language Educators, and Fundamentals of Research & Scholarship. Other courses include Language in a Global Context, and Instructed SLA.
University of Georgia
The non-thesis Master of Arts in Linguistics program at the University of Georgia is an interdisciplinary program that provides a solid foundation in core areas of linguistics and the opportunity for students to choose a specialization.
Choose the Formal Linguistic Theory concentration and focus on language structure and meaning. Learn the study of human language sounds, and a variety of other focus areas within linguistics theory.
The Second Language Acquisition features the opportunity for students to focus on the concentration of specific languages such as French or Spanish. The other focus areas are Language Variation and Change, and Historical Indo-European Linguistics.
University of New Mexico
Students enrolled in the University of New Mexico Master of Arts in Linguistics program have the opportunity to choose between a thesis and non-thesis option. Students that choose a non-thesis option complete all coursework during the 32-credit hour program.
Topics covered in the curriculum includes morphosyntax, psycholinguistics, and phonological theory. Students also have the option to concentrate on the Native American Languages of the Southwest.
University of California at Davis
The University of California, Davis Campus offers a Master of Arts in Linguistics program that provides a strong foundation in general linguistics. The 36-credit hour terminal degree program prepares graduates to start their career immediately after graduation, or to continue their education to obtain a PhD degree in linguistics.
Some courses in the curriculum includes Principles of Typological Linguistics, Neurobiology of Language, and Principles of Historical Linguistics.
- Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Northeastern Illinois University
Northeastern Illinois University offers a 36-credit hour Master of Arts in Linguistics program for students that want to enhance or change careers, or to simply embark on a career journey because of their personal interest in the field. Students gain knowledge and skills that prepares them for a rewarding career in linguistics as they discover the nature and structure of language, role of language as a mediator of intercultural understanding, and how to apply their newly-learned knowledge and skills to the profession.
The program admits students in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Florida International University
Students that enroll in the Master of Arts in Linguistics at Florida International University gain a strong foundation in the core areas of the analysis of linguistics, and a foundation in their subfield.
The program requires 36 hours of study, and a masters research project. Students take 21 hours in core courses and the remainder in electives. Some topics in core courses include phonetics, syntax, semantics, and a linguistics structure course. Elective examples include Sociolinguistics, Historical and Comparative Linguistics, Introduction to Computational Linguistics.
The Ohio University Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics consists of two years of study, or four consecutive semesters, not counting the summer term. Students gain an understanding of how language functions within society, and connections between language variation and social factors. They also gain knowledge and skills related to phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties of various languages. Students learn to plan, prepare, and to execute lessons in detail and integrate them into learning units, along with a variety of other learning objectives.
San Jose State University
Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Linguistics program at San Jose State University benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to the science of linguistics. Some areas of interest covered in the program includes cognitive linguistics, language variation and change, and machine speech recognition and language.
Students have the option to choose from a thesis or non-thesis option.
Arizona State University
The Master of Arts in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics program at Arizona State University focuses on the study of human language and its application to human conditioning. The curriculum covers areas such as teaching English to speakers of other languages, second language acquisition and teaching, semantics, pragmatics, and language change and variation.
Some courses in the 30-credit hour program include Pragmatics and Discourse Theory, Advanced Studies in Linguistics, and Curriculum Design and Materials Development.
Students have the choice of completing the thesis or non-thesis option.
Old Dominion University
The Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics program at Old Dominion University offers two concentration options, which is Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Sociolinguistics. The 33-credit hour program consists of coursework, a program portfolio, and a required comprehensive oral examination.
University at Buffalo
The University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system, offers two master’s degree options in linguistics.
There is a Master of Arts in Linguistics program, and the Master of Science in Computational Linguistics. The programs prepare students for careers in their chosen field, and also serves students that plan to complete a PhD in Linguistics.
University of Washington
The University of Washington offers a Master of Science in Computational Linguistics for students that wish to work at the forefront of both language and technology. The endless range of language-based technologies of today opens doors that allows computational linguists to work with emerging technologies while applying their current skills and gaining new knowledge of the field.
Students have the opportunity to complete the 43-credit hour program on a full-time or part-time basis, and to choose to complete the program either online or at the Seattle campus.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Earn a Master of Arts in Linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and prepare for further study or for immediate employment after graduation. The 30-credit hour typically takes two years to complete. Course examples include Syntactic Theory, Language Acquisition, and Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics. Students must also have reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.
Hofstra University offers the only Master of Arts in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics program in the U.S. The core of the program is focused on the foundation of linguistics. Students also draw on real-life illustrations and other teaching examples from forensic applications. The program provides students with advanced skills and knowledge related to specific applications of linguistic sciences, which students then learn to apply to issues in the real-world legal arena.
Students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Linguistics program at Boston University gain a strong foundation in the traditional areas of linguistic analysis. Students also focus on a chosen specialty area. A few specialty areas include Prosody, Language Change and Variation, and Sign Language Linguistics. This is a new program that is replacing the Applied Linguistics program. The school indicates that students are no longer being accepted in that program.
One benefit to this program is that students can complete it in as little as one year. Students completing a capstone project or thesis may need to attend an extra semester.
We searched the country for the best Masters in Linguistics programs and narrowed our list to the top schools. These schools are all accredited programs that offer at least one program at the graduate level in linguistics.
The tuition rate is based on one credit hour of study. It does not include supplies, fees or other costs.
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