Program at a Glance
- On Campus
- 16 Credits Required
- 12 Months to Completion
- No GRE/GMAT
Prepare for Further Study in Modern Linguistics
The Graduate Certificate in Linguistics at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) 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. This is likely to be the case for those who developed an interest in linguistics late in their undergraduate studies or after they received their bachelor’s degree. The Linguistics graduate certificate may also be of interest to professionals in fields with some connection to linguistics who would like to get additional training and credentials.
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 (MET 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.
Why Earn a Certificate in Linguistics at BU?
- Engaged Faculty: In BU’s Linguistics graduate certificate program, you benefit from working closely with highly qualified faculty with expertise in theoretical syntax and semantics, experimental phonetics and phonology, language acquisition, language documentation and field linguistics, language change and variation, pragmatics and information status, prosody, Romance linguistics, and sign language linguistics.
- Extensive Network: Study linguistics alongside peers seeking a solid understanding of language use, acquisition, variation, and change; learn from faculty who have valuable contacts in the field; and connect to Boston University’s extensive alumni community.
- Student Support: Enjoy an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty mentors and access to support.
- Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Educational Resource Center, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Center for Antiracist Research, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, and many others.
- Flexible Options: Study at the pace that works for you, with daytime and evening courses that begin fall, spring, and summer.
Gain a Solid Foundation in Linguistics
BU MET’s Linguistics graduate certificate curriculum is designed to prepare students to apply to an MA or PhD program offered through Boston University’s Department of Linguistics or elsewhere. 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 master’s program upon completion of this certificate, the elective course required for the certificate will count retroactively towards the MA degree requirements.
Please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions for the Linguistics Department for additional information. The department is located in BU’s College of Arts & Sciences at 621 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215.
Linguistics Learning Outcomes
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.
Graduate Certificate in Linguistics Curriculum
(Four courses/16 credits)
A total of four courses (16 credits) is required, distributed as follows:
MET LX 501 Phonetics & Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems
Prereq: (METLX250) or consent of instructor. Introduction to the nature and patterning of sounds in human language. Presents articulatory and acoustic phonetics, and basic phonological analysis, focusing on cross-language typology and comparison. Hands-on development of practical skills, including IPA transcription, field techniques, and digital speech analysis. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 521 Syntax: Introduction to Sentential Structure
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. *Introduction to syntax as an object of inquiry. Students build an increasingly sophisticated model of syntactic knowledge to account for data from English and other languages, constructing and evaluating alternative hypotheses about how sentence structure works. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 531 Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning
Prereq: (METLX250) or consent of instructor. Systematic examination of how meaning is encoded in words and sentences, and how it can emerge from the complexity of the grammar. This course also touches on various aspects of pragmatics--the study of how meaning is shaped by context. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Individual in Community, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Coppock||CAS B20||TR||2:00 pm – 3:15 pm|
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 Morphology: Introduction to the Structures and Shapes of Words
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. *Morphology, the study of the internal structure and the shapes of words across languages, straddles the boundary between syntax and phonology. This course covers the major empirical and theoretical issues in the study of morphology, emphasizing links to other components of grammar. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 517 "Having" and "Being" across Languages
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. *Languages differ startlingly in how they express the apparently basic concepts of "possession" and "essence". Students explore this variety and its implications, addressing fundamental questions about linguistic relativism, language universals, and the relationship between structure and meaning. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 522 Intermediate Syntax: Modeling Syntactic Knowledge
Prereq: MET LX 521, or consent of instructor. *Using linguistic data drawn from a wide variety of languages, students develop a precise model of syntactic knowledge through evaluation of hypotheses and arguments. Exploration of major discoveries and phenomena from the linguistic literature. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 542 Language, Race, and Gender
Prereq: (METLX250) or consent of instructor. Do women talk differently from men? How do race and ethnicity relate to the way people use language? This course examines these interrelated questions from the perspective of modern sociolinguistic theory, analyzing a range of languages and communities throughout the world. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Teamwork/Collaboration. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 546 Language Variation and Change
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. Why do languages change over time? Who leads and who follows in situations of language change? The course answers these questions by examining the link between language change and linguistic variation, focusing on how synchronic variation leads to diachronic change. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, Teamwork/Collaboration. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 549 Bilingualism
Prereq: (METLX250) or consent of instructor. The psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics of life with two languages. Topics include bilingual language use, processing, acquisition, organization; effects of bilingualism on cognition and development; the bilingual brain; the bilingual speech community; bilingual education; bilingualism in the media and public eye. Carries humanities divisional studies credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Individual in Community, Critical Thinking. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 565 Variation in Dialects of English
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. *Exploration of how dialects of English differ from each other, focusing on grammatical variation in the US, with occasional forays into British dialects. Students come to appreciate how linguists investigate grammatical diversity scientifically, revealing the complex structure of non-standard dialects. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Myler||SOC B57||TR||9:30 am – 10:45 am|
MET LX 591 Linguistic Field Methods
A team-based in-depth investigation of the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and lexicon of an African or other non-Indo-European language. Bi-weekly sessions with language consultant. Weekly trainings on methodology, ethics, analysis, and presentation of results. Effective Spring 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 594 Introduction to Programming for Computational Linguistics
Prereq: (METLX250) or consent of instructor. Introduction to computational techniques to explore linguistic models and test empirical claims. Serves as an introduction to programming, algorithms, and data structures, focused on modern applications to Natural Language Processing (NLP). Topics include tagging and classification, parsing models, meaning representation, and information extraction. (Not intended for students with a background in programming or computer science.) Carries MCS divisional studies credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Quantitative Reasoning II, Research and Information Literacy. [ 4 cr. ]
MET LX 596 Computational Linguistics
Prereq:(METLX250) or consent of instructor. Introduction to computational techniques to explore linguistic models and test empirical claims. Serves as an introduction to concepts, algorithms, data structures, and tool libraries. Topics include tagging and classification, parsing models, meaning representation, corpus creation, information extraction. [Students who have already taken CAS LX 394/GRS LX 694 are not eligible to take this course.] Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Quantitative Reasoning II, Research and Information Literacy. [ 4 cr. ]
Tuition & Financial Assistance
Competitive TuitionOur part-time rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education.
Comprehensive Financial AssistanceOur services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.
Please visit the BU MET admissions page for details on how to apply, financial assistance, tuition and fees, requirements for international students, and more.
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