Requirements for the MA in Linguistics

MA students (except students in the Professional TESOL MA program) may select a personal faculty advisor after the first year in the program. If you do not select a personal advisor, the graduate advisor will serve as your advisor throughout the program. To supplement the information contained here, consult the Graduate Student Handbook. Completion of an MA degree calls for a minimum of three semesters of study; four semesters is usual. Up to 9 graduate credits may be transferred from other schools (provided that they have not already been applied toward a degree). Courses taken at CU Denver and ACCESS courses taken on this campus count as transfer courses. Proficiency in a language other than English equivalent to at least the junior year of college study is required for admission to the MA. Otherwise qualified students admitted to the MA without this level of proficiency must make up the deficiency, by taking appropriate courses or other means. Native speakers of a language other than English automatically satisfy this requirement.

Required courses

All students must complete 30 credits, including the following required courses: LING 5030: Linguistic Phonetics, LING 5410: Phonology, LING 5420: Morphology and Syntax, and LING 5430: Semantics and Pragmatics.  Students who complete the program for the TESOL certificate must also complete LING 5610: Structure of English for TESOL. All other students must complete LING 5570: Introduction to Diachronic Linguistics. A student who has completed equivalents to these courses as an undergraduate must earn an equal number of credits in other LING courses.

MA with Thesis: Plan I

Plan I requires 30 semester hours of course work, including 4 to 6 hours of thesis credits, plus the comprehensive examination. The 30 semester hours are distributed as follows: 15 hours of required MA coursework, as described above, 9 hours of elective courses within Linguistics (which must include at least 4 and at most 6 MA thesis credits), and up to 6 hours of elective coursework outside Linguistics. A thesis is normally prepared under the guidance of an MA thesis committee, consisting of the thesis advisor, a second reader in the Department and a third member (possibly external to Linguistics). Once you have constituted your MA thesis advisory committee, you must fill out the MA thesis advisory committee form and submit it to Department staff. A student in Plan I takes the MA comprehensive examination, prepared by the departmental examination committee, and an oral examination that consists principally of a defense of the MA thesis before a three-person examination committee. For detailed information about the Linguistics MA thesis, read about MA thesis proceduresIf you do not defend and file the MA thesis, you will not be allowed to apply any thesis credits you have accumulated toward the 30 credits needed to obtain the MA.

MA without Thesis: Plan II

Plan II requires 30 semester hours of course work plus the comprehensive examination. A specialization is possible. The 30 credit hours include the 5 required courses described above (which collectively constitute 15 credit hours) and 15 credit hours of electives, 9 of which must be taken in Linguistics.

The MA comprehensive examination

Students in both Plan I and Plan II must pass a comprehensive written examination covering the five subject areas of the required coursework (phonetics, phonology, morphology/syntax, semantics/pragmatics and diachronic linguistics). For students in the TESOL PMA program, the fifth section of the exam will cover TESOL topics rather than diachronic linguistics. The exam period is four hours. The exam is given once per semester. An oral examination may be added as part of the comprehensive examination at the request of either the student or the departmental examination committee. The student must be registered for the semester in which the exam is taken.


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