Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, MA

The MA in linguistics and applied linguistics at ASU provides students who love language with foundational training in linguistics and applied linguistics research. Students choose a track – either general linguistics or applied linguistics – and then take courses in a variety of areas within that track, including: second language acquisition and teaching, language change and variation, world Englishes, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis.

Furthermore, the flexible curriculum allows students to tailor the degree toward their personal interests, to combine their interests, or to explore interdisciplinary topics. With a variety of internships and an innovative mentoring program focused on professional development, students are well-prepared for entrance into teaching careers or doctoral programs. Graduates of our program are also employed in the private sector with jobs in research, consultancy, policy-making, and more.

2 years to degree
2 unique tracks
7 faculty

Degree Overview

This 30-hour program requires 27 or 24 hours of coursework and either 3 or 6 hours of work toward an applied project or thesis. There is also a language requirement. The ideal candidate will have an interest in human language and the application of that study to the human condition through linguistic training. The GRE is not required for the application.

How to apply

Candidates for admission to the Master of Arts in linguistics and applied linguistics must submit the following:

  1. Graduate application
  2. A one-page, single spaced statement of purpose detailing background in language study, reasons for wanting to do graduate work in linguistics, and plans for the future
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Resume or vita
  5. Official transcripts. Note that applicants need a grade point average of "B" (3.0) or higher in the final two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree.
  6. Proof of successful completion of (at least) one upper-division course in linguistics, language study, or related topic.

*The GRE is not required for this program.

International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to the English Proficiency Score requirements.

Department of English application process.

Application Deadlines: January 15, April 15 for fall admission; September 15 for spring admission

The committee’s questions during the defense helped me think more deeply about my thesis. I could not emphasize enough how grateful I am to the entire ASU community for standing by me and helping me finish my studies.

—Abdelhamid Hamouda, MA in linguistics, 2015


The Master of Arts in linguistics and applied linguistics consists of 30 semester hours of graduate courses. There are two tracks available in the program: general linguistics or applied linguistics.


A minimum of 30 credit hours is required.

Requirements and electives


Core Course


Required Courses



12 or 15



Thesis or Applied Project

6 or 3

Total hours required


Courses and electives

Two tracks are available in the program:

The general linguistics track is designed to provide training in core areas of the field including phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis.

The applied linguistics track must include a linguistics core and additional training in applied linguistics drawn from different areas in the field, such as second language acquisition, TESOL, English language policy, or world Englishes.

Students should consult their advisor for advice.

  • LIN 515 American English or
  • LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis

General Linguistics track:

  • LIN 511  Phonetics and Phonology

  • LIN 514  Syntax

Applied Linguistics track:

  • LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology or LIN 514 Syntax

  • LIN 520 Second language Acquisition Theories or  APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics

General Linguistics track:

At least one 500-level linguistics course, for example:

  • LIN 510  Linguistics (if not taken prior to being accepted into the program)

  • LIN 513 Semantics

  • LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Theory (if not taken as part of the core requirement)

  • LIN 517 History of the English Language or LIN 520 Second Language Acquisition Theories

At least one 600-level linguistics course, for example:

  • LIN 610 Advanced Studies in Linguistics

  • LIN 614 Advanced Studies in Syntax

  • LIN 615 Advanced Studies in Sociolinguistics

  • LIN 616 Advanced Studies in Discourse Analysis or LIN 617 Advanced Studies in Historical Linguistics

  • Two or three additional electives, depending on the student's choice of thesis or applied project.

Applied Linguistics track:

  • LIN 510 (if not taken prior to being accepted into the program)

  • LIN 520 Second Language Acquisition Theories

  • LIN 521 Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language

  • LIN 522 Grammar for TESL

  • LIN 523 Language Testing and Assessment

  • LIN 524 Curriculum Design and Materials Development

  • LIN 584 Internship

  • LIN 610 Advanced Studies in Linguistics

  • LIN 620 Advanced Studies in Second Language Acquisition

  • APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics

  • APL 518 World Englishes

  • LIN 501 Approaches to Research
  • Thesis: (LIN or APL 599 - 6 credits) 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis. Under the direction of the supervisory committee (chair and two members), the student writes a master's thesis and defends it at an oral examination.

  • Non-thesis Option: (LIN or APL 593 - 3 credits) 27 hours of coursework and 3 hours of ENG 593 Applied Project. Student works with an applied project director and one additional committee member. There will be an oral presentation of the project.

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