This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: M.A., Linguistics


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 Programs 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. Students who have GPAs below 3.0 will be required to take the GRE and achieve at least one score at the 50th percentile or higher. A satisfactory GRE score must be submitted within 18 months of admission. International visa students must have a minimum TOEFL score of 563 (paper-based) or 223 (computer-based) or 85 (Internet-based), or an IELTS score of 7.

Students requiring the GRE or who have not fulfilled the Foreign Language Component (see below) will be admitted as conditionally classified.

B. Academic Standards

1. University Regulations

Graduate students will be placed on academic probation whenever their GPA falls below 3.0 in all units attempted. To be removed from probation, 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 Graduate Programs 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 comprehensive exam 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 approval to repeat a course using the Course Repeat Request Form from the graduate advisor in advance of enrolling in the course.

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 500- or 600-level. Coursework may include LING courses or courses in other departments in consultation with the chair/advisor. Candidates pursuing the M.A. degree in Linguistics will consult with the advisor and complete an Approved Program Form, reflecting the courses selected.

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/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 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 604 Acoustic and Instrumental Phonetics (3)
SED 514 Computers in the Instructional Program (3)
SED 625ESL Theory and Research in Teaching ESL in Multilingual Classrooms (3)
SED 626 Literacy Instruction for English Learners K-12 (3)
SPAN 600 History of the Spanish Language (3)

3. Foreign Language Component

M.A. candidates in Linguistics are required to demonstrate proficiency in a nonnative language. Native speakers of English may satisfy this requirement in one of three ways: (1) they may enroll for two semesters of coursework in a language at an accredited community college, 4-year college or university after initial acceptance to the program; (2) they may pass a departmental examination set by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures (MCLL); or (3) they may submit a transcript showing that they hold a B.A. with a major in a foreign language. Students who are nonnative speakers of English are exempt from this requirement. Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in ASL to satisfy this requirement should consult the chair/advisor. Students who choose to satisfy this requirement using coursework must earn grades of “B” or higher in each foreign language course.

4. Culminating Experience (3 units)

M.A. candidates in Linguistics may select to complete their degrees by taking a comprehensive exam or writing a thesis.

Comprehensive Exam

Students selecting the comprehensive exam will enroll in LING 697 in the semester during which they plan to take the examination. Students on probation or who have remaining incompletes, or who have not completed the foreign language component, will not be permitted to take the examination. Students who fail the examination on the first attempt will be required to register for the examination again the following semester. Students who fail the comprehensive examination a second time are disqualified from the M.A. in Linguistics degree program.


Candidates wishing to write a thesis should consult the chair/advisor. Students in the thesis option enroll in 3 units of LING 698C with the permission of and in consultation with the chair/advisor. Thesis units may not be offered every semester. These 3 units of culminating experience will count toward the degree count. Students should be aware that theses require a minimum of two semesters of work even though only 3 units are earned.

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


Chair: Evelyn McClave
Sierra Tower (ST) 805
(818) 677-3453

Graduate Coordinator: Tineke Scholten
(818) 677-6475

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in Linguistics will:

  1. Demonstrate solid knowledge of linguistic theory in the areas of phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax, semantics and pragmatics, language acquisition and sociolinguistics.
  2. Demonstrate advanced 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.