Graduate Certificate in Linguistics

The Graduate Certificate in Linguistics is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in linguistics, but who do not have the necessary background in linguistics. This is likely to be the case for students who developed an interest in linguistics late in their undergraduate studies or after they received their bachelor’s degree. This certificate prepares students to submit applications to MA or PhD programs at Boston University or elsewhere. Note that completion of the certificate is not a guarantee of admission to the Boston University graduate programs in linguistics. However, should a student enter the BU Linguistics MA program upon completion of this certificate, the elective course required for the certificate will count retroactively toward the MA degree requirements.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the fundamental questions that drive modern linguistic research.
  • The ability to identify and describe with precision the empirical patterns found in sets of language data, and to construct well-reasoned linguistic analyses by formulating, testing, and refining hypotheses about these patterns.
  • Foundational knowledge in the core areas of phonetics, syntax, and semantics necessary to apply to graduate programs in linguistics and to take more advanced courses in the field.

Students are expected to have already taken an introductory undergraduate course in linguistics or to have acquired equivalent knowledge prior to applying to the certificate program. Students who lack this background will be required to take Introduction to Linguistics (CAS LX 250) or acquire equivalent knowledge before registering for the graduate certificate program. Students interested in this certificate but who lack that background are encouraged to consult with the director of graduate admissions for linguistics.

Required Curriculum (four courses/16 credits)

A total of four courses (16 credits) is required, distributed as follows:

  • MET LX 501 Phonetics and Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems
  • MET LX 521 Syntax: Introduction to Sentential Structure
  • MET LX 531 Semantics and Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning

Plus one LX elective course to be selected from available offerings in consultation with the student’s advisor. Elective offerings vary from year to year, but may include:

  • MET LX 511/GRS LX 611 Morphology: Introduction to the Structures and Shapes of Words
  • MET LX 517/GRS LX 617 “Having” and “Being” Across Languages
  • MET LX 522/GRS LX 722 Intermediate Syntax: Modeling Syntactic Knowledge
  • MET LX 542/GRS LX 642 Language, Race, and Gender
  • MET LX 546/GRS LX 646 Language Variation and Change
  • MET LX 549/GRS LX 649 Bilingualism
  • MET LX 565/GRS LX 665 Variation in Dialects of English
  • MET LX 591/GRS LX 691 Linguistic Field Methods
  • MET LX 594/GRS LX 694 Introduction to Programming for Computational Linguistics
  • MET LX 596/GRS LX 796 Computational Linguistics

Please contact the chair of the Linguistics Department for additional information.