MA in Applied Linguistics

The Master of Arts degree provides an excellent background for more advanced work in linguistics or fields related to linguistics and the language sciences. Students who complete the MA degree have continued on to PhD programs in linguistics, and to clinical programs in communication disorders. Others have gone on to work in the fields of speech technology or education, among others. In addition, students who are planning a career in the linguistic study and teaching of their native language and in shaping the language policies in their countries of origin can benefit from interaction with the African Studies Center, the Modern Languages & Comparative Literature Department, the Department of Romance Studies, and the School of Education (SED).

In consultation with an advisor, master’s degree students select a sequence of courses providing both depth and breadth in their area of specialization. Students may also become involved in projects offering opportunities for research and practice, in association with faculty at Boston University and other local institutions including universities, schools, research institutes, or clinics.

Prerequisites

Applicants must have met the requirements for a bachelor’s degree. The undergraduate degree may be in any field, but the student must have completed the equivalent of one of Boston University’s introductory classes in linguistics (CAS LX 250 or SED LS 565). Students who have not previously had an introductory linguistics course must pass an examination or make up the deficiency through coursework prior to entry or during the first semester. (Introductory linguistics courses will not be counted toward the master’s degree requirements.)

Course Requirements

Eight semester-level courses (32 credits) are required. This includes four core courses; both of the following:

  • CAS LX 510 Phonetics
  • CAS LX 522 Syntax I

plus one course in language structure and linguistic theory, e.g.:

  • CAS LX 502 Semantics I
  • CAS LX 503 Semantics II (Prereq: CAS LX 502 Semantics I)
  • CAS LX 504 Topics in Pragmatics (Prereq: CAS LX 502 Semantics I)
  • CAS LX 513 Introduction to Phonology (Prereq: CAS LX 510 Phonetics)
  • CAS LX 518 Focus
  • CAS LX 519 Questions
  • CAS LX 521 Morphology
  • CAS LX 523 Syntax II (Prereq: CAS LX 522 Syntax I)
  • CAS LX 525 Prosody (Prereq: CAS LX 510 Phonetics)
  • CAS LX 535 Historical and Comparative Linguistics

and one course that provides an introduction to a major area of applied linguistics, e.g.:

  • CAS AN 521 Sociolinguistics
  • CAS LX 540 Acquisition of Syntax
  • GRS LX 700 Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory
  • GRS PS 828 Psycholinguistics
  • SAR SH 524 Language Acquisition
  • SAR SH 531 Introduction to Communication Disorders

Students are also required to take four additional specialized courses. Possible specialization areas include the following, or students may design their own specialization in consultation with their advisor:

  • Language Acquisition
  • Language Structure and Linguistic Theory
  • Sign Language Linguistics and Acquisition
  • Bilingualism and Language Teaching

Students may receive transfer credit for up to two courses, in accordance with the policies and practices of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. If a student has taken the equivalent of any of the core courses, it may be waived. In this case, the student may substitute another course for the course already taken, but unless the credits are transferred, there will be no reduction in the 32 credits required for the MA.

Language Requirement

Each student who has not previously completed at least two years of study or the equivalent in one foreign language at the undergraduate level must make up the deficiency through coursework or examination.

Final MA Project

Students complete a significant research project relevant to their field of specialization. This may be a publishable paper or a project designed to show mastery of some aspect of the specialization area. Planning of the final project is done in consultation with the advisor. The project or paper is evaluated by the advisor and at least one other member of the faculty of Boston University.

Completion of Degree

The program must be completed within three years of the first registration for study leading to the master’s degree. Students normally register for no more than four courses per semester, but must register for at least one course each semester until course requirements have been fulfilled (or a leave of absence has been granted).

Electives for the MA and PhD Programs

Linguistic Theory

  • CAS AN 521 Sociolinguistics
  • CAS LX 500 Topics in Linguistics
  • CAS LX 501 Linguistic Field Methods
  • CAS LX 502 Semantics I
  • CAS LX 503 Semantics II (prereq: CAS LX 502 or equivalent)
  • CAS LX 504 Topics in Pragmatics (prereq: CAS LX 502 or equivalent)
  • CAS LX 510 Phonetics
  • CAS LX 513 Introduction to Phonology (prereq: CAS LX 510 or equivalent)
  • CAS LX 518 Focus
  • CAS LX 519 Questions
  • CAS LX 521 Morphology
  • CAS LX 522 Syntax I
  • CAS LX 523 Syntax II (prereq: CAS LX 522 or equivalent)
  • CAS LX 525 Prosody (prereq: CAS LX 510 or equivalent)
  • CAS LX 535 Historical and Comparative Linguistics
  • CAS LX 540 Acquisition of Syntax
  • CAS LX 865 Advanced Topics in Linguistic Theory
  • GRS LX 700 Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory

Language Acquisition

  • CAS LX 540 Acquisition of Syntax
  • GRS LX 700 Language Acquisition and Linguistic Theory
  • SAR SH 524 Language Acquisition
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition
  • SED LS 750 Cognitive Development and Language

Second Language Acquisition, Bilingualism, and Language Teaching

  • SED BI 620 Educational Issues in Bilingualism
  • SED BI 621 Bilingualism and Biliteracy
  • SED LS 658 Second Language Acquisition
  • SED TL 509 Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Linguistic Analysis of Specific Languages

  • CAS AN 524 Seminar: Language and Culture Contacts in Contemporary Africa
  • CAS EN 515/516 History of English
  • CAS LF 502/503 Structure of French
  • CAS LF 504 History of the French Language
  • CAS LF 506/LX 506 Topics in French Linguistics
  • CAS LJ 510 Structure of the Japanese Language
  • CAS LS 504 History of Spanish
  • CAS LS 505 Topics in Spanish Linguistics
  • CAS LX 505 Structure of African Languages
  • CAS LX 533 The Structure of Creole Linguistics
  • CAS LX/LS 507 The Sounds of Spanish
  • CAS LX/LS 508 The Structure of Spanish
  • SED DE 672 American Sign Language Structure

Neurolinguistics and Language Disorders

  • CAS PS 544 Developmental Neuropsychology
  • SAR SE 737 Communicative Disorders and Exceptionality
  • SAR SH 505 Introduction to Phonological Disorders
  • SAR SH 531 Introduction to Communication Disorders
  • SAR SH 731 Advanced Topics in Phonological Disorders
  • SAR SH 735 Preschool Language Disorders
  • SAR SH 736 Aphasia
  • SAR SH 756 Cognition and Neural Bases

Philosophy of Language

  • GRS PH 622 Analytic Philosophy
  • GRS PH 624 Wittgenstein
  • GRS PH 643 Philosophy of Mind
  • GRS PH 663 Philosophy of Language
  • GRS PH 665 Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  • GRS PH 668 Philosophical Problems of Logic and Mathematics

Research Methodology

  • CAS LX 501 Linguistic Field Methods
  • CAS MA 613/614 Statistical Methods I and II
  • GRS PS 711/712 Statistics in Psychology I and II
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods