MA Requirements

The Department of Linguistics offers the M.A. degree in Linguistics under Plan I (24 semester hours of coursework plus 6 hours of thesis) or Plan II (32 hours of coursework without a thesis) according to the general regulations set forth in the UNM Catalog, with the additional requirement that a minimum of 12 hours of 500-level courses is required under either plan.

As soon as you are admitted to the M.A. program, you should start thinking about whether writing a thesis (Plan I) or completing additional coursework (Plan II) would be most suited to your interests and long-range career goals. There are benefits to both approaches. The intensive research and writing involved in preparing a thesis can be valuable preparation for further studies at the Ph.D. level or for employment in a specific area related to linguistics. On the other hand, the M.A. program may be seen as the opportunity to pursue broad experience in linguistics. The coursework option ensures a strong foundation in linguistics with an appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge to pursue further studies or professional employment.


Incoming MA students should have at least 12 hours of basic linguistics courses, including the following courses (or their equivalents):

  1. Introductory linguistic analysis (Ling 301)
  2. Phonetics (Ling 303)
  3. Phonological analysis (Ling 504)
  4. Grammatical analysis (Ling 522)

It is possible to make up deficiencies in these prerequisites after admission to the M.A. program, but these prerequisite courses must be completed as soon as possible and may not be counted toward the minimum coursework requirements of the degree.

Required Courses

Please note: the requirements have recently changed. Students have the option of using the catalogue year during which they began the program, or the current catalogue year.

  1. a graduate course in phonological theory (502 or 503)
  2. a graduate course in morphosyntax (512)
  3. a graduate course in language change (546)
  4. a graduate course in psycholinguistics (e.g., 560, 565, 566, 567, 568, 569)
  5. a graduate course in sociolinguistics (e.g., 533, 535, 539, or a relevant seminar)
  6. two graduate courses, covering two of the three following research areas: (1) discourse/syntax (523, 529, or a seminar on a relevant topic); (2) cognitive linguistics (519, 525, or a seminar on a relevant topic); (3) typology/field linguistics (513, 517, 548, or a seminar on a relevant topic)

Students also have the option of pursuing the MA in Linguistics with an optional concentration in Native American Languages of the Southwest. Information on this, and more complete information about the MA degree in general, can be found in the Graduate Student Manual.