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Linguistics is the study of human language, intending to define its nature, establishing its relationship to human thought, discovering what distinguishes human language from other forms of communication (both human and nonhuman), understanding how children develop a language and acquire additional languages, understanding the ways in which languages may differ from one another, and describing how human beings use a language in context to express themselves. A master’s in linguistics degree provides students with a solid foundation in all the core areas of linguistics, including Phonetics, Lexicography, Phonology, Morphology, Grammar, Structuralism, Syntax, Morphology, Semantics, Pragmatics, Orthography, Phonemics, Functional Grammar, Dialectology, Typology, Stylistics, and Rhetoric.
Students of a master’s in Linguistics online can also seek doctoral degrees in various fields, including education, linguistics, and literacy study & research.
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Finding the best master’s in linguistics online is hard to do because so many universities offer it. To ease the burden of finding one, OMC has compiled a list of the best online masters in Linguistics programs based on characteristics such as program format and flexibility, teaching experience and quality, the reputation of the institute, accreditation, research facilities, career assistance, etc. Consequently, the following are some of the best universities for a graduate degree in linguistics online:
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The curriculum of a Masters in Linguistic online program is meant to equip students to teach and do research in applied linguistics by allowing them to grasp the variety of difficulties that arise in the study of language. Students can do research, engage with community-based groups, or prepare to teach in a variety of settings in the United States and overseas, including public schools, K-12, adult education, and language schools. Apart from core coursework and elective courses, graduate students are sometimes required to submit a thorough graduate project to get their Linguistics degree. Typically, graduate students work on different parts of this project each semester and exhibit their work publicly during their final/graduating semester.
Workshops, field study experiences, case studies, guest lectures, and seminars are all part of the study plan, intending to hone the abilities of linguistic and sociolinguistic analysis.
Masters in Linguistics Degree Types
There are two ways of pursuing a Master’s in Linguistics online – the Master of Arts or MA, and the Master of Science, or MS. Both degree types cater to slightly different personal needs and career goals. Coursework and the program structure tend to be similar with both, and in most cases, schools generally offer a thesis and non-thesis option to choose from as well.
The MA Linguistics or Master of Arts in Linguistics approaches linguistics from a multi-disciplinary angle, touching upon various other subjects such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, etc. This degree type is more suited for those who prefer a broader understanding of linguistics, one that is spread across several disciplines. Knowledge of a foreign language is generally required to do an MA.
The MS Linguistics or Master of Science in Linguistics approaches linguistics from scientific and technical viewpoints. This degree type involves more research and data and is also more focused on the core of linguistics. Knowledge of a foreign language is generally not required for an MS.
Specializations in Masters in Linguistics Programs
Concentrations and specializations are a sure-shot way of acquiring more profound knowledge in a specific sub-field of a subject, thereby ensuring better job prospects. They give students a competitive edge and make them readily employable. Masters in Linguistics online programs come in a variety of specializations and concentrations, some of which include:
Foreign Language Instruction
ESL Instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs)
Foreign Language Pedagogy
TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language)
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Linguistics Programs
There are three distinct areas in which psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics examine topics such as social psychology and linguistics: general theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, and interdisciplinary studies. Together, these courses offer students a deep understanding of the many aspects of language acquisition and usage related to linguistic, cultural, and ideological aspects. Students can expect a wide variety of core courses, with electives to choose from as well. Here is a list of some of the best online linguistics graduate courses generally found in masters in Linguistics online programs:
Language, Culture, and Identity
Theories and Principles of Language Teaching
Semantics and Pragmatics
Seminar in Phonology
Seminar in Cognitive Linguistics
Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Education
Integrating Culture into the Language Curriculum
Language, Culture, and Identity
Seminar in Discourse Analysis
Seminar in Sociolinguistics
Research Methods for Linguistics
Seminar in Syntax
Teaching ESL: Methods and Approaches
Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education
Testing in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom
Teaching Reading in the ESL Classroom
Technology in Language Education
Theories and Principles of Language Teaching
Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Instruction
Integrating Culture into the Language Curriculum
Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education
Dual Language Pedagogy
Curriculum Development in Bilingual Education
Teaching ESL: Methods and Approaches
Phonetics & Phonemics
The Structure of the English Language
Critical Discourse Analysis
Foundational Concepts of Phonetics and Phonology
Foundational Concepts in Linguistics
Foundational Concepts of Language Development and Acquisition
Basic Theoretical Linguistics
Literacy & Culture
Historical Foundations of Critical Pedagogy
Immigration & Education
Writing Theories in Second Language Instruction
Usage-Based Linguistic Analysis
The Internet in the Language Classroom
Some universities require students to pick up to 6 electives throughout their master’s program. Here is a list of electives generally found in linguistics masters programs:
Language Arts Instruction and English Language Development
Research in Elementary Education
Literacy Instruction for English Learners K-12
Bilingual/Multilingual Teaching Strategies
Literary and Rhetorical Genre Theory
Advanced Topics in Rhetoric and Composition
Educational Statistics for Research and Measurement
Introduction to Morphology
Language and Social Interaction
Introduction to Historical Linguistics
Languages in Contact
Bilingualism in the U.S.
Selected Topics in Linguistics
Seminar in Phonetics
Seminar in Research on Second Language Acquisition
Seminar in Cognitive Linguistics (3)
Seminar in Discourse Analysis
Survey of Applied Linguistics
Issues in ESL Reading and Writing
Issues in ESL Listening and Speaking
English Structures for ESL/EFL Teaching
Introduction to TESL
TESL Testing and Assessment
English for Specific Purposes
Introduction to Celtic Languages
Acoustic and Instrumental Phonetics
Computers in Instruction
Theory and Research in Teaching ESL in Multilingual Classrooms
Structure of the Spanish Language
Language and Culture
Comparative Structure of Spanish and English
History of the Spanish Language
Seminar in Romance Linguistics
Upon graduating from a master’s in Linguistics degree program, students will have some skills that include but are not limited to:
Undertake original research or apply current language theories to new data sets, analyze the data, and develop appropriate conclusions.
Use appropriate linguistic concepts and terminology to describe language.
Demonstrate appropriate language pedagogical knowledge.
Demonstrate a thorough understanding of linguistic theory, including phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language acquisition, and sociolinguistics.
Recognize cultural and sociopolitical dimensions of language.
Explain how linguistics is relevant in a variety of professional situations and in general.
Read, analyze, and critically assess linguistic research, displaying advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills in relation to linguistic concerns.
Recognize psychological and social factors that influence language acquisition and development.
Master a variety of language teaching methods.
Communicate reflective and critical understanding about potential connections between language teaching and policies and increased social justice.
Demonstrate specialist linguistic knowledge in at least three important subfields.
Accreditation for Masters in Linguistics Programs
When a program or institution receives accreditation, it signifies that it has met or exceeded the defined standards to which it must conform. It serves as a symbol of reliability, trustworthiness, and superiority. An accredited Masters in Linguistics online program is required for the degree to be accepted by the industry. While programmatic accreditation is available at certain schools, most are regionally accredited, making regional accreditation an equally viable option. Among the organizations that provide accreditation regionally are:
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Graduate students in Linguists should always look for a program or school accredited by at least one accrediting body. More information on accreditation can be found in the Accreditation Guide.
Timeline For Graduating From Masters in Linguistics Programs
As with most other master’s degrees, a master’s in linguistics online requires approximately 2 years to complete, taking 30 to 36 credits. However, while some colleges will allow the student to earn their degree in 12 to 18 months or so, others allow students to extend their programs and finish in up to 5 years.
Admission Requirements For Masters in Linguistics Programs
Applicants must meet specific admissions criteria and requirements to be admitted to a master’s in linguistics program. Along with standard requirements, some schools and programs require students to meet additional requirements in some situations. Most masters in Linguistics online programs have the following criteria for admission:
A Bachelor’s Degree with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or more.
In some instances, candidates for the Linguistics MA degree must be fluent in a language other than their native tongue. Some colleges require that native English speakers meet this requirement in one of three ways: (1) by enrolling in two semesters (of a minimum of 6 units total) of coursework in a language at an accredited community college, four-year college, or university after initial acceptance to the program; (2) by passing a departmental examination; or (3) by submitting a transcript showing that they hold a B.A with the department. Non-native English speakers may be excluded from this criterion if they have demonstrated proficiency in the language in their previous studies.
Free Linguistics Programs
By the word ‘linguistics’, it is easy to assume that it is a confined subject, but quite the opposite is true. Linguistics is a vast subject that encompasses a wide range of interdisciplinary topics and works in a variety of sectors and industries. Therefore, courses in a master’s of Linguists tend to cover a lot of ground, making this degree a unique one. For this very reason, finding free masters in linguistic online programs is impossible, although free courses are plenty. These free courses and programs can help master’s students and professionals enhance their knowledge and skills. Here are a few sites offering free content in linguistics:
Coursera Coursera is a popular destination for students to learn more about their subject and enhance their understanding of specific topics. At the time of publishing, the site had some 81 courses related to linguistics, spread across four learning levels. Not all, however, are free to take.
MIT OpenCourseWare MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity, and makes the materials used in the teaching of MIT’s subjects available on the Web. For linguistics students, the site has a rich offering of courses spread across several cores of the subject, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and psycholinguistics.
Class Central Class Central has a compilation of free online courses and MOOCs from Leiden University, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona), St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Universidad de Palermo, and other top universities around the world.
OpenLearn OpenLearn, by The Open University, has a separate section titled “Languages” that has introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses on linguistics-related courses. Topics range from ‘A brief history of communication: hieroglyphics to emojis’ to ‘How to be a critical reader’ and ‘Summarising text’ to ‘Understanding language and learning’, among others.
How to Pay for Masters in Linguistics Online Programs
The high cost of online education burdens most potential graduate students. An online master can cost up to $100,000, making them too expensive for most people. Fortunately, students have various financial aid options to choose from to help with the high expense of graduate education. Some of this type of financial assistance for a master in Linguistics online can take the form of:
Students who deserve them can get financial aid in the form of scholarships that lower or eliminate the cost of their education. When selecting a scholarship recipient, the institution looks at the student’s biography and background, including letters of recommendation, work experience, and in particular, academic records.
Students in need of financial support can apply for grants. Grants differ from scholarships in that they are based on financial need rather than academic performance. A student’s grades and test results are also considered by universities that offer need-based financial aid.
Teaching Assistantships– Tuition-free or discounted-fee teaching assistantships are available in exchange for providing services to the university. Working as an assistant to a professor could include helping with instructional requirements, working in a lab or workshop, or teaching and demonstrating to undergraduate students.
Students may be eligible for loans from the federal government, banks, or private lenders, all of which require them to make interest payments. It’s essential to keep in mind, too, that missed or delayed payments would almost surely lead to an increase in student debt.
Linguistics is the study of human language, intending to define its nature, establish its relationship to human thought, discover what distinguishes human language from other forms of communication, and much more. A linguistics degree provides students with a solid foundation in all the core areas of linguistics such as Phonetics, Lexicography, Phonology, Morphology, Grammar, Structuralism, Syntax, etc.
Where can I study linguistics?
Several colleges across the country offer linguistics studies. Some of the best ones are listed in this article.
How to get a linguistics degree online?
To begin with, the applicant needs to have an undergraduate degree and fulfill all other admission requirements.
How long is a linguistics degree?
It generally takes about 2 years for a student to complete a master’s in Linguistics program. Accelerated programs require roughly 12 to 18 months to finish.
Is a background in linguistics necessary to apply for a master’s in linguistics online program?
While having a linguistics background is advantageous, students without an undergraduate linguistics degree who have a strong interest in the subject can also apply for a master’s in linguistics. The admissions committee considers all applicants equally, and people with backgrounds in other fields are encouraged to apply. However, students should double-check the prerequisite curriculum for the program they are interested in to confirm they have completed it.
Are research opportunities in linguistics available to graduate students?
Research opportunities in linguistics are available depending on the program, and school one chooses.
Can I study linguistics online?
Although most master’s in linguistics programs are in-person, present trends and circumstances have increasingly taken degree programs online. Some colleges also offer a hybrid model, wherein online classes are offered along with in-person sessions.
Is a master’s in linguistics degree worth it?
Considering the cost of completing the degree, and the excellent job opportunities in research, education, and linguistics, that pay well and are rewarding, yes, a master’s in linguistics degree is worth pursuing.
Careers and Salary Outlook For Masters in Linguistics Online Graduates
Many professional linguists specialize in a particular branch of linguistics and work in a variety of fields. Some people prefer to work in academia, conducting research and interacting with students. Others work in the technology sector, assisting large corporations with text and speech recognition, natural language processing, and other tasks. Linguists can also teach one or more foreign languages or work for the government. In general, Linguistics graduates go on to work in academia as foreign language teachers, psycholinguists, sociolinguists, diplomats, text-to-speech developers, machine translation professionals, language rights advocates, and other positions.
A linguistics degree might also be helpful in editing and proofreading. Popular books and works by prominent authors are being translated into English from their original languages. Accurate communication necessitates a thorough knowledge of both the target language and English as a second language, which is where a master’s in linguistics plays a considerable role.
Another field in which linguistics expertise is required is speech and language therapy. Before attempting to edit or improve another person’s vocabulary, one must have a thorough awareness of the intricacies of language. It is possible to overcome many linguistic issues, including dyslexia and stammering, by working with a qualified therapist.
Masters in Linguistics online degree holders with multi-linguistic skills are also needed by private businesses, international agencies, and non-profit organizations to facilitate efficient communication. Governments need communicators who can work with people at all levels of the organization, including multinationals. Due to the growing threat of terrorism around the world, interpreters are also helpful for security reasons. Trained linguists can discretely interpret cryptic data transmitted by communication and navigation systems.
Here are a few examples of job titles, salaries, and career prospects for linguistics graduates:
Certifications and Licensure For Masters in Linguistics Online Students
To put it in a nutshell, certification offers objective evidence that an individual possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to provide a quality service, such as interpretation, translation, teaching, etc. Depending on the career a master’s in linguistics online graduate wants to take up, a suitable certification will always provide a competitive edge and better job prospects. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), for example, provides a certificate in interpretation that enables individuals to perform the three major types of court interpreting: sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting. The ATA certification, offered by the American Translators Association (ATA), is one of the most well-respected credentials for translators in the industry. It is the sole commonly accepted indicator of translation proficiency in the United States.
Another respected certification is from Language Testing International (LTI), based on the ILR Scale. The ILR Scale is the way the US Federal Government defines and refers to language ability. It was developed by the Federal Government’s Inter-Agency Language Roundtable from basic definitions used by the Foreign Service Institute. The scale covers a wide variety of abilities, with six levels ranging from 0 (No Practical Proficiency) to 5 (Native or Bilingual Proficiency), with ‘plus’ levels at each stage. Apart from the ILR Scale, the LTI offers language certification for:
Bilingual Professionals – Speaking only
ACTFL Test of English Proficiency (TEP)
Bilingual Professionals – Multiple skills
WL & Bilingual Teacher Certification
Federal Government Contractors & Employees with ILR requirements
Programs with ACTFL requirements
General Proficiency ACTFL
Commercial-Individual and Government-Individual Organizations
Additional Resources For Masters in Linguistics Online Students
Languages are ever-evolving and develop into newer ways of expressing oneself. Understanding the nuances of a language, its meaning, interpretations, etc., is always crucial for a linguist. For graduate students and working professionals to make the most of their master’s in linguistics, they should meet with others, exchange views and ideas, network, research, and do much more to widen their horizons and deepen their knowledge of linguistics. Here are a few resources that are sure to be helpful in that pursuit for masters in Linguistics online students:
American Translator’s Association (ATA) The American Translator’s Association (ATA) provides its members access to current industry resources and education to keep their competitive advantage in the global economy. The association hosts publications, conducts events, provides news, and student & client services.
Linguistic Society of America (LSA) The primary goals of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) are to advance the mission of the Society via: scholarly communication, community building, professional development, and external relations. The programs of the LSA are focused on Publications, Meetings, and Institutes, Professional Resources and Recognition, Advocacy and Public Policy, and Public Education.
SIL International SIL International is a global, faith-based non-profit that works with local communities worldwide to develop language solutions that expand possibilities for a better life. It is involved in approximately 1,350 active language projects in 104 countries. SIL has several resources such as English Language Lessons, Glossaries of Linguistic Terms, Language & Culture Archives, International Publications, and Software & Fonts.
All Things Linguistic All Things Linguistic, as the title suggests, is a site that provides a wide range of resources for students, teachers, and professionals of linguistics. Primarily a blog, All Things Linguistic provides tips on careers, updates, and developments in the field of linguistics, podcasts, interviews, insights, and more.
Linguist List The Linguist List is operated at Indiana University, Department of Linguistics. The list aims to provide a forum where academic linguists can discuss linguistic issues and exchange linguistic information. The site offers support to graduate students in linguistics and summer interns, who serve in return as editors of the list and help with the development and maintenance of the list server and website.
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