Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Linguistics M.A.

Linguistics, Institute of
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Institute of Linguistics, 205 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-3331; fax: 612-624-4579)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2020
  • Length of program in credits: 32 to 36
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Arts
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Our program's goal is to train students in the scientific study of the human mental capacity for language. Successful study in this area investigates the syntactic, phonological and semantic/pragmatic properties of the language systems that humans naturally acquire, and asks what kinds of underlying mental capacity is implicated by these properties. Our program emphasizes the place of this field of study among the cognitive sciences, and provides coursework and individual advising to prepare students to engage with and produce research in the field.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
There are no specific prerequisites for admission.
Special Application Requirements:
Applicants must submit the following application materials by December 15 of the preceding academic year: (i) University of Minnesota Application form; (ii) a statement of purpose; (iii) a writing sample; (iv) three letters of recommendation; (v) a supplementary questionnaire; (vi) transcripts from each college or university attended; (vii) GRE scores; (viii) English Language Proficiency Scores (TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS) are required of international applicants. Entry is for fall semester.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 20 major credits, 6 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is oral.
Plan B: Plan B requires 26 major credits and 6 credits outside the major. The final exam is oral. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project:The Plan B project is an original paper usually a revision of a course project.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Language Requirement: See other requirements (below)
Students must demonstrate competence (the equivalent of two or more years of study) in one language other than English.
Required Courses
LING 5001 - Introduction to Linguistics (4.0 cr)
LING 5201 - Syntactic Theory I (3.0 cr)
LING 5202 - Syntactic Theory II (3.0 cr)
LING 5205 - Semantics (3.0 cr)
LING 5302 - Phonological Theory I (3.0 cr)
LING 8105 - Field Methods in Linguistics I (4.0 cr)
Outside Coursework
Take 6 credits outside the major.
Plan Options
Plan A
Thesis Credits
Take 10 or more credit(s) from the following:
· LING 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
Plan B
LING 8005 - Research Paper Workshop (3.0 cr)
Linguistics Electives
Take 3 or more credit(s) from the following:
· LING 5xxx
· LING 8xxx
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· College of Liberal Arts

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LING 5001 - Introduction to Linguistics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00099 - Ling 3001/3001H/5001
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Scientific study of human language. Methods, questions, findings, and perspectives of modern linguistics. Components of the language system (phonetics/phonology, syntax, semantics/pragmatics); language acquisition; language and social variables; language and cognition; language change; language processing; language and public policy; language and cognition.
LING 5201 - Syntactic Theory I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01958 - Ling 4201/Ling 5201
Typically offered: Every Fall
Concepts/issues in current syntactic theory. prereq: 5001 or honors student or instr consent
LING 5202 - Syntactic Theory II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01961 - Ling 4202/Ling 5202
Typically offered: Every Spring
Modern syntactic theory. Syntactic phenomena in various languages. Syntactic argumentation, development of constraints on grammar formalisms. prereq: 5201 or instructor consent. LING 5201 is directed towards honors students and graduate students.
LING 5205 - Semantics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Analysis of sentence meaning. Semantic properties. Relations such as analyticity, entailment, quantification, and genericity. Philosophical background, formal techniques of semantic analysis, how sentence meaning depends on word meaning, syntax, and context. The role of semantics in grammatical theory. prereq: [4201 or 5201] or instr consent
LING 5302 - Phonological Theory I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00065 - Ling 4302W/Ling 5302
Typically offered: Every Fall
How sounds are organized/patterned in human languages. Phonological theory/problem-solving for advanced work in in linguistics. Analyzing data. Presenting written solutions to problem sets. prereq: 5001 or honors student or instructor consent. LING 5302 is directed towards honors students and graduate students.
LING 8105 - Field Methods in Linguistics I
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Techniques and practice in obtaining/analyzing linguistic data from an unfamiliar language through direct interaction with a native speaker. Study of a language by elicitation of speech samples/analysis of patterns that emerge. prereq: [5001, 5201, 5302, grad linguistics major] or instr consent
LING 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required [Plan A only]
LING 8005 - Research Paper Workshop
Credits: 3.0 [max 12.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Workshop on research methodology/writing in linguistics. prereq: [5105, 5202, 5205, [4302W or 5302]] or [instr consent, grad ling major]