Linguistics and Language Development Department

MA - Linguistics

The MA - Linguistics provides students with an interdisciplinary education in the scientific study of language. Courses in general and computational linguistics serve students interested in cognitive and functional linguistics, language variation and change, speech synthesis, and machine speech recognition. Graduates in linguistics offer a set of highly specialized skills to computer companies working in speech technology and artificial intelligence. Many pursue careers with companies specializing in these areas. A small but significant number of linguistics graduates enter PhD programs for more advanced study. Other graduates pursue teaching careers in language and linguistics in domestic and overseas institutions.

Requirements for the MA - Linguistics include those established by the department. For information concerning university requirements, see the Academic Requirements section of this catalog.

Graduation Requirements

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Culminating Experience

Students have the option of completing the MA - Linguistics under one of two plans:

Plan A (Thesis)

Completion of 30 units; approved thesis proposal and thesis. The thesis option allows a student to pursue research in an area of common interest to the student and a faculty member. A thesis proposal may grow out of a course or be developed in LING 298, and must be approved by the student's advisor and thesis committee members. For Master's Thesis requirements please visit

Plan B (Comprehensive Exam)

Completion of 30 units; passing of a comprehensive examination.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
Requirements of the Masters30
Core Courses18
LING 113. Introduction to Phonology3
LING 114. Introduction to Semantics and Discourse3
LING 201. Phonology: Theory and Applications3
LING 202A. Syntactic Theory3
LING 203. Semantic Structures3
LING 213. Linguistic Field Methods3
Culminating Experience12
Complete one option (Plan A or Plan B)
Plan A (Thesis)12
LING 299. Master's Thesis or Project1-3
Two Electives6
Plan B (Comprehensive Exam)12
Four electives12
Comprehensive Exam0

Total Units:30

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 15.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU Cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.