Program Description

Linguistics studies human language, seeking to define its nature, to establish its relationship to human thought, to discover what distinguishes human language from other forms of communication (human and nonhuman), to understand how children develop a language and acquire additional ones, to understand the ways in which languages may differ from one another and to describe how human beings use language in context to engage in all the other “human” activities.

Program Requirements

A. General Admission Requirements for the M.A. Degree in Linguistics

Students should consult the Graduate Studies section of this Catalog for the University requirements.

Candidates must have a minimum GPA of 2.85 in the last 60 units of their B.A. degree work and satisfy the University requirements for graduate admission. Speakers of languages other than English who hold postsecondary degrees from non-English-speaking institutions must have a minimum score on one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT): 85
  • International English Language Test System (IELTS) Academic: 7
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced English Exam (formerly CAE): 185
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic: 64
  • International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP) Academic: 4.5
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): 115
  • Jitsuyo Eigo Gino Kentei [Test in Practical English Proficiency] Common Scale for English (EIKEN CSE): 2630 (1)
  • Global Test of English Communication Computer-Based Test (GTEC CBT): 1275

Meeting the minimum GPA and English proficiency test score does not guarantee admission into the program.

B. Academic Standards

1. University Regulations

Graduate students will be placed on academic notice (formerly academic probation) whenever their GPA falls below 3.0 in all units attempted. To be removed from academic notice), students must earn sufficient grades in the following semester of enrollment to raise their GPA to 3.0 or above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the University. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat up to 6 units of credit in which a grade of “B-” or below has been received. (See the Graduate Studies section of this Catalog.)

2. Additional Regulations for the M.A. Degree in Linguistics

  1. Students will be disqualified from the Linguistics M.A. program if they do not pass the graduate project on their second attempt.
  2. No grade below “B-” can be counted in the formal program. Any grade of “C+” or lower must be repeated. If the student does not receive a grade of “B-” or better on the second attempt, the student will be disqualified from the M.A. in Linguistics program. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat only up to 6 units. The repeat grade will appear on the transcript. Students must request departmental approval to repeat a course and file a Course Repeat Request Form with Graduate Studies in order to count the repeat grade for their degree.
  3. Course substitutions: Taking courses outside the department to count towards the required core courses, whether in another department or at another institution, is normally not allowed and may be done only under extenuating circumstances after consultation and prior approval. Courses must be equivalent in content and quality to the relevant courses in the Linguistics/TESL program curriculum. Students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in all courses to be used as replacements for required core courses in the program.
  4. Foreign Language Component: Students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in all foreign language component courses.

C. Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Linguistics

Candidates completing the program leading to an M.A. degree in Linguistics will have a fundamental understanding of the core areas in linguistics at an advanced level.

1. Required Core Courses (30 units)

2. Electives (6 units)

In consultation with the chair/advisor, candidates will select 6 units of electives at the 400-, 500- or 600-level, as long as the total number of 400-level courses does not exceed 9 units in their program. Coursework may include LING courses or courses in other departments in consultation with the chair/advisor.

Preapproved Electives for the M.A. in Linguistics

EED 577 Language Arts Instruction and English Language Development (3)
EED 610 Research in Elementary Education (3)
EED 626/SED 626 Literacy Instruction for English Learners K-12 (3)
EED 675 Bilingual/Multilingual Teaching Strategies (3)
ENGL 653 Literary and Rhetorical Genre Theory (3)
ENGL 654 Advanced Topics in Rhetoric and Composition (3)
EPC 600 Educational Statistics for Research and Measurement (3)
LING 403 Introduction to Morphology (3)
LING 411 Introduction to Historical Linguistics (3)
LING 427 Languages in Contact (3)
LING 447 Bilingualism in the U.S. (3)
LING 455 Computational Linguistics (3)
LING 495A-Z Selected Topics in Linguistics (3-3-3)
LING 500 Seminar in Phonetics (3)
LING 502 Seminar in Research on Second Language Acquisition (3)
LING 503 Seminar in Cognitive Linguistics (3) (if LING 505 counts as required)
LING 505 Seminar in Discourse Analysis (3) (if LING 503 counts as required)
LING 515 Survey of Applied Linguistics (3)
LING 520 Issues in ESL Reading and Writing (3)
LING 521 Issues in ESL Listening and Speaking (3)
LING 525 English Structures for ESL/EFL Teaching (3)
LING 530 Introduction to TESL (3)
LING 568 TESL Testing and Assessment (3)
LING 578 English for Specific Purposes (3)
LING 589 Introduction to Celtic Languages (3)
LING 590A-Z Selected Topics in Linguistics/TESL (3-3)
LING 604 Acoustic and Instrumental Phonetics (3)
SED 514 Computers in Instruction (3)
SED 625ESL Theory and Research in Teaching ESL in Multilingual Classrooms (3)
SPAN 400 Structure of the Spanish Language (3)
SPAN 401 Language and Culture (3)
SPAN 425 Spanish Phonetics (3)
SPAN 497 Comparative Structure of Spanish and English (3)
SPAN 530 Spanish Dialectology (3)
SPAN 600 History of the Spanish Language (3)
SPAN 603 Seminar in Romance Linguistics (3)

3. Studies in a Language other than English Component

Graduate students are required to complete two 3-unit progressive semesters (or the equivalent) of coursework in one language other than English. Students with prior language experience can pass all or part of the language requirement by examination or other evidence at the discretion of the department. If prior coursework is used to satisfy this requirement, only courses completed within seven years of admission to the program will be accepted.

Students should fulfill this requirement within the first two semesters of enrollment in the program.

4. Culminating Experience (3 units)

In order to complete the M.A. degree in Linguistics, graduate students submit a graduate project, which is comprehensive in nature. Graduate students work on the different components of this project throughout the program; the final project is publicly presented during their last/graduating semester. These 3 units of culminating experience are part of the degree count.

Graduate Project

Students during their last semester will enroll in LING 698D. Students on academic notice or who have remaining incompletes, or who have not completed the foreign language component, will not be permitted to enroll in LING 698D until these issues are all resolved. Students who fail the graduate project a second time are disqualified from the M.A. in Linguistics degree program.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 39


Department of Linguistics/TESL
Chair: Anna Joaquin
Associate Chair: Stephanie Kim
Sierra Tower (ST) 805
(818) 677-3453

Graduate Coordinator: Laura Ruth-Hirrel
(818) 677-5019

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Linguistics will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a solid knowledge of linguistic theory in the areas of phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language acquisition and sociolinguistics.
  2. Demonstrate specialized knowledge in at least three major subfields of linguistics.
  3. Describe the relevance of linguistics to a range of professional settings and to general issues at large.
  4. Read, analyze and critically evaluate linguistic research, demonstrating a high level of critical thinking and problem solving about linguistic issues.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to conduct original research or apply current linguistic theories to new sets of data, analyze data and draw appropriate conclusions.