Linguistics

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The Department of Linguistics offers programs leading to the Master of Arts degree in Linguistics and the Master of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

The M.A. in Linguistics is designed to give students a broad training in most aspects of contemporary linguistics, including phonology, syntax, phonetics, semantics, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and field methods. In addition, students will pursue advanced study through further coursework and thesis research. Graduates of the linguistics program frequently go on to more advanced study and research in linguistics leading to a Ph.D. degree.

The M.A. in TESOL is designed primarily for students who wish to pursue careers in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages either in the United States or abroad. The program combines both theory and practice. In addition to a core course in linguistics, students in the M.A. in TESOL program are required to take courses in the theory and methods of language teaching, language assessment, and second language acquisition, and to teach in a supervised practicum in the teaching of oral and written English. Graduates of the M.A. in TESOL program can go on to advanced study of language learning and teaching or related fields, in addition to pursuing a career in language instruction, instructional materials or test development, teacher training, program administration, or related areas.

For students who are interested in language study but are not committed to either graduate major, the department offers a number of interesting, non-specialist courses which may serve as electives in degree programs such as those offered by the Department of Anthropology, Department of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade, Department of Communication Studies, School of Health Sciences, School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, School of Writing, Literature, and Digital Humanities, and School of Education. A sequence of courses is also available for students wishing to pursue a double major combining linguistics or TESOL with other programs at the master’s level.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admission to Graduate Study in Linguistics. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card. Applicants for admission should address inquiries to the Chair, Department of Linguistics, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL  62901-4517, USA.

Admission

Undergraduate GPA

Applicants for admission to either degree program, in addition to meeting the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, are expected to have undergraduate grade point averages of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0). Applicants with GPAs below 3.0 may be granted conditional admission. However, students admitted on a conditional basis must earn a graduate GPA of 3.0 in their first semester of study. Failure to do so will result in the student being dropped from the program.

TOEFL and GRE

International student applicants who are not native speakers of English must achieve a score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 577 (paper) or 90 (IBT), or 7.0 on the IELTS. Although submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to the Graduate School nor to the department, applicants are advised that high GRE scores put them at a competitive advantage when applying for University fellowships or departmental assistantships.

Academic Retention

Academic Probation

As required by the Graduate School, any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Any student who fails to return to good standing after one term on academic probation will not be eligible to hold a graduate assistantship. Any student who fails to return to good standing after two terms on academic probation will be dropped from the program. Any student who accumulates three or more incompletes will be put on academic probation and may return to good standing by reducing the number of incompletes to two or fewer.

Minimum Grades in Core Courses

As described below, both M.A. programs include a number of core courses which are required of all students. These courses must be passed with a grade of B or better. Students who receive a grade lower than B on a core course must take the course again. They will register officially for the course and will be granted a letter of permission to do so from the department. Both grades will be counted in calculating GPA. Students who need to repeat core courses may take other courses concurrently or sequentially for which the core courses are prerequisites.

Grade Point Average to Graduate

All graduate work must be completed with an overall GPA of 3.0.     

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Linguistics

The Master of Arts in Linguistics requires 36 credit hours of coursework including a mix of required courses and restricted and non-restricted electives in all the major linguistic subfields. There are two options for completing the M.A. in Linguistics: a thesis option and a non-thesis option. Thesis writers are required to do advanced coursework in phonology or syntax and three to six credit hours of thesis writing; non-thesis writers have a little more flexibility in their advanced coursework and take more courses at that level in lieu of thesis writing credits.

Core Courses (9 credit hours)

All students in the M.A. in Linguistics program must take the three LING courses below:

  • LING 503: Phonological Theories (3 CH)
  • LING 505: The Professional Study of Linguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 508: Syntactic Theory (3 CH)

Breadth of Study: all candidates (6 credit hours)

All students in the M.A. in Linguistics program must take at least two of the LING courses below:

  • LING 402: Phonetics (3 CH)
  • LING 412: Structure of Japanese (3 CH)
  • LING 415: Sociolinguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 417: Language Contact (3 CH)
  • LING 426: Gender, Culture, & Language (3 CH)
  • LING 430: Grammatical Structures (3 CH)
  • LING 445: Psycholinguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 450: Language Families (3 CH)
  • LING 500: Formal Semantics (3 CH)
  • LING 540: Topics in Applied Linguistics (3 CH)
  • (substitutions allowed with departmental approval)

Integrative Studies (3 credit hours)

All students in the M.A. in Linguistics program must also take at least one of the courses below:

  • LING 506: Historical Linguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 550: Seminar (3 CH) (LING 550A, LING 550B, LING 550C, LING 550D each focus on different topics)
  • LING 552: Field Methods in Linguistics (3 CH)
  • (substitutions allowed with departmental approval)

Depth of Study (3 credit hours)

All students in the M.A. in Linguistics program must also take at least one of the courses below:

  • LING 553: Advanced Phonology (3 CH)
  • LING 558: Advanced Syntax (3 CH)
  • (substitutions allowed with departmental approval)

Additional coursework requirements diverge depending on whether students choose the thesis or non-thesis option for the M.A. in Linguistics.

Thesis Option

M.A. in Linguistics students who wish to write theses must formally apply to the department by the beginning of the third semester. If accepted to the thesis track, thesis-writing students must also enroll in a minimum of three and a maximum of six credit hours of LING thesis writing:

  • LING 599: Thesis writing (3-6 CH)

The thesis is a written summary of a student’s independent research conducted while enrolled in the department’s M.A. in Linguistics program. Every thesis is expected to include a clear statement of the topic, identification of the particular issues to be investigated, a literature review, an explanation of the procedures followed, and an analysis and discussion of research findings. Each student writing a thesis must have a thesis committee composed of at least three faculty members, one of whom serves as chair of the committee. Two of the three committee members (including the chair) must have their primary appointment in the Department of Linguistics. The thesis must be submitted to a public oral examination by the student’s committee. Detailed information regarding the thesis may be found in Thesis Policies and Guidelines, copies of which are available from the department.

Non-thesis Option

M.A. in Linguistics students on the non-thesis track must take additional LING courses from the Integrative and/or Depth of Study group (3 semester hours):

  • LING 506: Historical Linguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 550: Seminar (3 CH) (LING 550A, LING 550B, LING 550C, LING 550D each focus on different topics)
  • LING 552: Field Methods in Linguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 553: Advanced Phonology (3 CH)
  • LING 558: Advanced Syntax (3 CH)
  • (substitutions allowed with departmental approval)

Electives

To complete the 36 credit hours required for the M.A. in Linguistics, students may choose electives from among courses offered within the department or relevant courses taught by faculty in the Department of Anthropology, School of Health Sciences, School of Computing, School of Writing, Literature, and Digital Humanities, Department of Foreign Languages and International Trade, School of History and Philosophy, School of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Communication Studies, and School of Education (with departmental approval). Where appropriate, students are encouraged to take courses in quantitative and ethnographic research methods taught in the School of Education and Department of Anthropology. Students are also encouraged to attend the annual summer institutes sponsored by the Linguistic Society of America and TESOL. Credit may be allowed for coursework successfully completed in this way.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The M.A. degree in TESOL blends linguistic science with the art of classroom practice. It prepares students both intellectually and experientially so that as professionals they are capable of making wise and informed choices among different language teaching approaches, methods, and techniques. In addition, students will understand how differences among individual students, teaching and learning situations, and social structures influence decisions they will be called upon to make as teachers or other language professionals. The M.A. in TESOL program provides a firm and broad foundation in current theories of language and language learning and graduates will be prepared to take on careers as teacher educators and curriculum or assessment specialists as well as classroom teachers.

There are two options for completing the M.A. in TESOL degree: a thesis option and a non-thesis option. In both cases 36 credit hours are required. Both options include five components: a group of core courses totaling 15 credit hours, a selection of language skills-related courses totaling 6 credit hours, a teaching specialty course (3 credit hours), free electives totaling 6 credit hours, and research training (6 credit hours)--either a thesis (thesis option) or additional course work from a selected group of focus courses with a  substantial research component (non-thesis option).

Core Courses (15 credit hours)

All students in the M.A. in TESOL program take the following five courses:

  • LING 472: Assessment of ESL and Bilingual Students (3 CH)
  • LING 505: The Professional Study of Linguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 541: Second Language Acquisition (3 CH)
  • LING 570: Methods and Materials of TESOL (3 CH)
  • LING 583: TESOL Practicum (3 CH)

Language Skills (6 credit hours)

All M.A. in TESOL students must take at least two of the following language skills-related courses:

  • LING 531: Teaching Grammar and Writing in a Second Language (3 CH)
  • LING 585: Teaching Listening and Speaking in a Second Language (3 CH)
  • LING 587: Teaching Reading and Vocabulary in a Second Language (3 CH)

Teaching Specialties Courses (3 credit hours)

All M.A. in TESOL students must take one of the following teaching specialties courses:

  • LING 470: Theoretical Foundations of ESL and Bilingual Education (3 CH)
  • LING 471: Bilingual Education Methods and Materials (3 CH)
  • LING 490: Teaching Internship (3 CH)
  • LING 573: Introduction to Computer-Assisted Language Learning (3 CH)
  • LING 582: Course Design for TESOL (3 CH)
  • LING 586: English for Specific Purposes (3 CH)

Research Component (6 credit hours)

All M.A. in TESOL students must take at least six semester hours from the following courses with a substantial research component:

  • LING 415: Sociolinguistics (3 CH)
  • LING 417: Language Contact (3 CH)
  • LING 542: Advanced Seminar in Second Language Acquisition (3 CH)
  • LING 543: Bilingualism (3 CH)
  • LING 549: Research Methods in Linguistics and TESOL (3 CH)
  • LING 584: Advanced Seminar in Grammar and Composition (3 CH)
  • LING 589: Advanced Seminar in Reading and Vocabulary (3 CH)
  • LING 590: Advanced Seminar in Second Language Pronunciation (3 CH)
  • LING 592: Advanced Computer-Assisted Language Learning (3 CH)
  • LING 599: Thesis (1-6 CH)

Note that students pursuing the thesis option must enroll in a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 credit hours of LING 599 (Thesis).

Free Electives (6 credit hours)

M.A. in TESOL students can select from a number of elective courses offered each semester. These include additional courses from the categories listed above as well as other courses offered in the department. In addition, courses related to language, education, and/or research methods offered by other departments may be used to complete elective requirements, with approval from the student’s faculty advisor. Students are also encouraged to attend summer institutes and other professional development programs offered by the TESOL International organization or the Linguistic Society of America. Credit may be approved for coursework successfully completed this way.

Accelerated B.A./M.A. in Linguistics

Students who are completing an undergraduate major in linguistics may pursue the 5-year M.A. in Linguistics, providing (i) they have maintained a 3.5 grade point average in 300 and 400-level courses, and (ii) their B.A. coursework includes the following:

LING courses required of all 5-year B.A./M.A. students (15 credit hours):

  • LING 200: Language, Society, and the Mind
  • LING 300: Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics
  • LING 405: Introduction to Phonological Theories
  • LING 406: Introduction to Historical Linguistics, or LING 452 Field Methods in Linguistics
  • LING 408: Introduction to Syntactic Theory

Beyond these courses and the other requirements for their B.A. in Linguistics degrees is added a fifth year, consisting of advanced coursework and a 20-25 page research paper.

Fifth year (27 credit hours)

Fall (12 credit hours)

  • LING 505: The Professional Study of Linguistics
  • LING 553: Advanced Phonology
  • LING 558: Advanced Syntax
  • Elective not taken at the undergraduate level (400-level or above)

Spring (12 credit hours)

  • LING 506: Historical Linguistics (if not taken as LING 406) -OR- LING 552: Field Methods (which may be repeated for credit)
  • 2 electives not taken at the undergraduate level (400-level; or above)
  • LING 593: Research in Linguistics (3 CH)

Summer (3 credit hours)

  • LING 593: Research in Linguistics (3 CH)

9 credit hours of 400-level coursework taken at the undergraduate level will also be counted towards the M.A. in Linguistics. This enables students in the accelerated M.A. program to meet the 36-credit hours of coursework required for a M.A. in Linguistics.