Linguistics, MA

for the degree of Master of Arts in Linguistics

head of department: Hye Suk James Yoon

director of graduate studies: Tania Ionin

director of admissions committee: Rakesh Bhatt


department website:

department faculty: Linguistics Faculty

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

college website:

department office: 4080 Foreign Languages Building, 707 South Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 333-3563

Students are not admitted to the MA program directly. When Stage I of the doctoral program is completed doctoral students may earn the MA. 

Graduate Degree Programs in Linguistics

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

Linguistics, MA

Teaching of English as a Second Language, MA (MATESL)

Linguistics, PhD

optional concentrations:

Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education

Romance Linguistics

The Department of Linguistics offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language, and Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics. Students are not normally admitted to a terminal master's in Linguistics degree program. More detailed information on departmental programs, offerings, admission, degree requirements, and financial aid, may be found at:


Applicants to the MATESL and PhD programs in Linguistics must have completed a bachelor’s degree.

For the PhD program in Linguistics, undergraduate preparation should include the study of at least one foreign language; a course 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.

Students may be admitted to the PhD program in Linguistics with or without a prior master’s degree in linguistics or a related field. Depending on the student’s prior preparation, they may be admitted either into Stage 1 of the PhD or into Stage 2 of the PhD. Students who who have completed a master’s degree in linguistics or a closely related field may be considered for admission to Stage 2 of the PhD program. Students without an approved prior master’s degree will only be considered for admission to Stage 1 of the PhD program. Students admitted to Stage 1 must complete 40 credit hours in the areas listed on the department website, maintain a GPA of 3.5 or better in all core courses, and earn a grade of High Pass on the qualifying examination in order to advance to Stage 2. Students who are admitted directly to Stage 2, but lack any of the core courses required for Stage 1, must complete Stage 1 requirements immediately on entry into the program; the courses will not count toward the 64 hours required for Stage 2 of 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 Ph.D. program 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.

for the degree of Master of Arts in Linguistics

The aim of the master's program is to instruct students in the major areas of linguistic theory and the methods of linguistic analysis. Candidates for this degree must earn at least 40 graduate hours with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) and satisfy other department and Graduate College requirements. 

Core Courses:20
Select one course each from two of the following four areas, for a total of two courses (8 hours): (a) sociolinguistics; (b) computational linguistics; (c) psycholinguistics/acquisition; (d) second language studies/applied linguistics
Syntax I
Phonology I
Formal Semantics I
One course in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods4
LING 590Special Topics in Linguistics2
LING 504Practicum2
Elective Courses12
Total Hours Master's - Stage 140

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 16
Stage 1 qualifying paper and examination, with a grade of Pass or High Pass
Language Requirement: Students must have proficiency in one language other than their native tongue.
Minimum GPA: 3.0