MA in Linguistics

Linguistics in the classroom


The MA in Linguistics provides students with a stronger background in linguistics to help them find more fulfilling jobs in industries employing language specialists, or in teaching positions where a strong linguistic background is an asset but a PhD is not required. Additionally, because linguistics is not necessarily available as an undergraduate degree in many colleges and universities, the MA program serves students who are interested in the discipline but would like to improve their background in the field before applying to PhD programs.

Application Deadlines

March 1: All international MA/MS applicants

April 1: All domestic MA/MS applicants

Application reviews begin January 15 of each year, and continue throughout the spring semester. 

Online Application

Application Fee Waiver

The graduate application fee is $75 U.S. (payable online or by check or money order made payable to the University at Buffalo). Students may be eligible for an application fee waiver courtesy of the CAS Dean's Office. To learn more, please visit the College of Arts and Sciences. If they qualify for a waiver, students may then submit their MS application for formal review without the application fee, provided the fee waiver application has also been submitted and accepted.

Degree Requirements

Credit Hours: 33  
Core Courses
  • Syntax I (LIN515)
  • Phonetics (LIN531)
  • Phonology I (LIN532)
  • Semantics I (LIN538)
Core Electives (Five out of the following
courses, or any class substituted with
approval of the Director of Graduate Studies)
  • Discourse Pragmatics (LIN504)
  • Morphology (LIN510)
  • Psycholinguistics (LIN517)
  • Language and Culture (LIN521)
  • Typology and Universals (LIN525)
  • Phonology II (LIN533)
  • Role and Reference Grammar (LIN 625)
  • Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (LIN 552)
  • Historical Linguistics (LIN539)
  • Semantics II (LIN543)
  • Sociolinguistics (LIN595)

Other Electives

  • 2 other 500 or 600-level courses

MA Exam

Students who enter the Linguistics program as a Master’s student additionally take the MA Exam. (In special circumstances, faculty may ask a student to write an MA project instead). The exam is given once each semester; the exact date will be fixed each year, but students can expect to take the exam during the last few weeks of the semester (November in the Fall, and April in the Spring).

The exam consists of questions in the areas of linguistics represented by our basic 500-level courses: Syntax, Semantics, Phonetics, Phonology, Historical Linguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, Morphology, Psycholinguistics, Typology, Discourse-Pragmatics, and Sociolinguistics. (If a student wishes to answer a question in Neurolinguistics, or in Language Acquisition, or in some other area, s/he should contact the Director of Graduate Studies to inquire about the possibility of arranging such a question.) Students must answer three questions. The exam lasts approximately three hours.

The faculty who teach the 500-level courses will write the questions, and the faculty member responsible for a specific question will also be the one to assess the students answer. The student must receive a passing grade on two of the three questions. If a student receives a “pass” on only one of the three question, s/he will be given the opportunity to choose a fourth area and answer the question in that area.

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