(Including African Languages [Bamana, Lingala, Swahili, Wolof, and Zulu], Arabic, Hindi-Urdu, Modern Greek, Persian, Sanskrit, and Turkish)

Head of the Department: Hye Suk James Yoon
Director of Graduate Studies: Tania Ionin
Director of Admissions Committee: Rakesh Bhatt
4080 Foreign Languages Building
707 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-3563
Fax: (217) 244-8430

Major: Linguistics
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentration: Romance Linguistics (Ph.D.), Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (Ph.D. only)

Major: Teaching of English as a Second Language
Degrees Offered: M.A.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Linguistics offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts in Linguistics, Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language, and Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics. More detailed information on departmental programs, offerings, admission, degree requirements, and financial aid, may be found at:

The Master of Arts in the Teaching of English as a Second Language (MATESL) formerly offered by the Division of English as an International Language is now offered through the Department of Linguistics.


Applicants to the M.A. in Linguistics, MATESL, and Ph.D. programs in Linguistics must have completed a bachelor’s degree.

For the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Linguistics, undergraduate preparation should include the study of at least one foreign language; courses equivalent to LING 400 on this campus; and a broad background in the humanities, social sciences, or mathematics.

For the MATESL program, an undergraduate major in linguistics, English, a foreign language, or education is generally recommended, though other majors are also acceptable. Applicants must present a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Two years of coursework in a foreign language or the equivalent are also required.

Student intending to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics should apply to the M.A. program in Linguistics unless they expect to have already completed a master’s degree in Linguistics, Teaching English in a Second Language, or a related field by the time of entry into the program. Students who will have completed a master’s degree in one of these fields may be considered for direct admission to the Ph.D. program. Applicants for direct admission must have a GPA of 3.5 or better in the required courses for the M.A. in Linguistics or MATESL at the University of Illinois, or comparable evidence of achievement in a master’s program at another university. Recommended preparation includes courses comparable to LING 501, 502, either 425 or 450, and at least one of 507, 509, 551. Students admitted without such preparation are required to take these courses immediately on entry into the program; the courses will not count toward the 64 hours required for the PhD.

Applicants to all Linguistics graduate programs should apply online ( and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and a writing sample of 10-20 pages in length. Original transcripts (with English translations if applicable) showing all undergraduate and graduate work completed should be sent to:

SLCL Graduate Student Services
3070 Foreign Languages Bldg.
707 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. The applicant should ask the ETS to submit scores to institution 1836. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 88 (100 preferred) on the internet-based test (iBT); they must also pass the speaking sub-section of the iBT with a minimum score of 24 (see Applications are accepted for fall admission only. Application questions may be directed to SLCL Graduate Student Services at

Financial Aid

The Linguistics department aims to provide financial aid for all graduate students in the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Linguistics for up to five years, in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or departmental assistantships. To hold a teaching assistantship non-native English speakers must first pass a test of their oral English ability (see Some students receive aid through other units in the University. New applicants receive automatic consideration for financial aid within the department, including teaching assistantships for the non-Western languages taught in its programs. For details and applications, write to the above address.

For students in the MATESL program, financial assistance is offered to as many qualified applicants as possible, but cannot be awarded to all. A record of extensive experience in teaching English as a second language enhances a candidate's chance of receiving financial assistance during one's first semester. A limited number of University fellowships are available for exceptionally qualified candidates. Teaching assistants ( teach students in the Division's ESL program and in the Intensive English Institute.

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. requires a grade point average of 3.5 or better in the required M.A. courses (not counting the electives) a minimum grade point average of 2.75 over all graduate work in linguistics, and distinction in passing the qualifying examination. In deciding whether students will be admitted to the Ph.D. program, the Student Examination and Evaluation Committee considers their performance in meeting these requirements, as well as their general potential for successfully conducting advanced linguistic research.

Students are encouraged to attend at least one summer session of the Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America. Up to 8 graduate hours of credit granted under this program may be transferred, with Graduate College approval. Candidates are required to take the preliminary examinations (written and oral) after completion of 32 graduate hours beyond the master's level and to present a research paper at a meeting of the Linguistics Seminar.

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics