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College of Liberal Arts

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Linguistics - Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Linguistics

The program for the M.A. degree in linguistics is designed both for students who wish to pursue further graduate study and those seeking a terminal degree. The program seeks to blend theoretical and applied aspects of linguistics and draws from a variety of disciplines.

The M.A. degree in Linguistics offers three options and one concentration:

  1. General Linguistics Option
  2. Language and Culture Option
  3. Teaching English as a Second Language Option
  4. Special Concentration

Graduate assistantships may be available to qualified students.


  • 1. A bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA for the most recent 60 units;
  • 2. 21 units of undergraduate coursework as follows (can be taken at CSULB):
    • A. Fifteen (15) units in Linguistics; the following courses or equivalent: Introductory Linguistics (LING/ANTH 170 or LING 325), Language Acquisition LING 329, Phonology LING 420, Syntax LING 421, language variation (LING, 379, 413, 425, 426, 438 or 472), and
    • B. Six (6) units either in linguistics or a language-related field (such as TESL, rhetoric, literature in another language, cross-cultural communication, cognition, or artificial intelligence).

Advancement to Candidacy

  • 1. Satisfaction of the general university requirements for advancement to candidacy, including prerequisites, the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), and 3.0 GPA.
  • 2. Completion of the foreign language requirement, either:
    • A. Two courses of a foreign language at the upper division level, or the equivalent, or
    • B. Two courses of an Indo-European language and two courses of a non-Indo European language, or equivalent.
  • 3. Completion of six units of course work within the program, exclusive of any classes used to meet prerequisites.
  • 4. Approval of the candidate's graduate program by the Graduate Advisor, the Associate Dean for Instructional Programs of the College of Liberal Arts, and any other individuals identified by relevant university policy.
  • 5. Advancement must take place no later than the semester before the student graduates.


  • 1. A minimum of 33 units of approved upper division and graduate courses for the thesis path or a minimum of 34 units of approved upper division and graduate courses of the comprehensive examination path, including
  • 2. A minimum of 21 units at the 500 or 600 level;
  • 3. The completion of the five course core requirement for the degree;
  • 4. The completion of requirements of one of the options or the Special Concentration designated in the program;
  • 5. Completion of one of two culminating experiences:
    • A. A thesis and its accompanying oral defense and oral examination (LING 698, 6 units).
    • B. The comprehensive examination and its accompanying graduate paper (LING 697, 1 unit).
  • 6. A GPA of 3.00 on all courses included in the program.


  1. Two courses from the following three: LING 620, 625, 633.
  2. One course from the following: LING 540, 610, 650.
  3. One course from the following: LING/PSY 539.
  4. One course from the following: LING 580/ANTH 570, LING 596.

General Linguistics Option (code LINGMA02)

The option includes a 15-unit core and 12-18 units of additional selections, including general linguistics courses from the core, such that students take LING 620, 625, 633, 540, 610, 650 and LING/PSY 539. Courses will total 33 units (including LING 698, 6 units) in the thesis pathway, or 34 units (including LING 697, 1 unit) in the comprehensive exam pathway.

Language and Culture Option (code LINGMA03)

This option includes the 15 unit core; the specialization includes: LING 533/ANTH 530, ANTH 630, LING 540, and approved selections from LING/ANTH 413, LING 423, LING 425/ANTH 421, LING 470/ANTH/WGSS 475, LING 650, ANTH 560, ANTH 597; and 697 or 698 for the culminating experience.

Teaching English as a Second Language Option (code LINGMA04)

The TESL option includes a 15 unit core, and either the Comprehensive Exam or Thesis Pathway.

Comprehensive Exam Pathway: (19 units) required: LING 486, 500, 561, 562, 593, and either Ling 560 or 575; plus 1 unit of comprehensive directed research, LING 697.

Thesis Pathway: (18 units) required: LING 486, 593, and two of the following: LING 500, 561, or 562; plus 6 units of thesis research, LING 698.

Special Concentration (code LINGMA01)

This concentration is 12-18 units. Students electing this concentration must [1] consult with the Graduate Advisor about their proposal; [2] submit a written justification for the course of study they wish to take, including [3] a list of the classes which are proposed to meet the objectives of this special program. Both the written justification and the course list are subject to approval. Other requirements of the program (e.g. a five course core, GPA, culminating experiences, etc.) cannot be waived or altered by use of the special concentration.

Students wanting graduate credit for certain 400-level courses must consult with the Graduate Advisor before enrolling.

Courses with an I suffix are not available for graduate credit.

Note: Graduate students are required to register for the higher (500-level) course whenever a course has a double number. Students may not repeat courses by taking them under different prefix designations, numbers or titles unless the course description specifically permits.

Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (code ENGLCT02)

The Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is open to students from any field who desire training for teaching English to speakers of other languages. While the program may be begun as an undergraduate, at least 18 units must be completed as a post-baccalaureate student.


  • 1. A baccalaureate degree with a GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 units.
  • 2. One introductory course in linguistics: LING 170 or equivalent.


  • 1. Twenty-four units, including:
    • A. 20 taken in residence;
    • B. 18 taken as a graduate student;
    • C. 12 taken at a 500-600 level.
      • NOTE: Categories (A-C) combined need only equal 24 units.
  • 2. A GPA of 3.0 in all courses included in the program.
  • 3. Fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).
  • 4. Eight courses, one each in eight different categories:
    • A. One course in basic ESL methodology: LING *486.
    • B. One course in cross-cultural communication: LING *425 (ANTH *421).
    • C. One course in language acquisition: LING 329.
    • D. One course in intermediate level linguistics: LING 420 or 421.
    • E. One course in testing and assessment: LING 562.
    • F. One course in curriculum: LING 561.
    • G. One course in specialized methodology: LING *460 or 575.
    • H. Three units of a practicum: LING 593.

Students who have taken equivalent courses in the above categories but need units to complete certificate requirements may elect to take courses as advised.

Students wanting graduate credit for 400-level courses which have not been approved for graduate credit by the home department must consult with the Program Director or Graduate Advisor before enrolling. Courses with an “I” suffix are not available for graduate credit, but may be used for the Certificate if they were taken while the student was an undergraduate.