Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Linguistics

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Admission to Program

In addition to the materials sent to the graduate admissions office, the applicant must submit the following items to the English Department in order to be considered for admission:

  • a one-to-two page typed statement of purpose detailing why the applicant is interested in the linguistics concentration;
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges attended;
  • one or two letters of recommendation;
  • one writing sample.

Prerequisites: In order to be fully classified, students must have already taken the equivalents, or take at SF State the following:

All linguistics courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in these courses with no grade lower than a B- to continue in the program.

Students whose native language is not English and whose B.A. was completed outside the United States must present evidence of a computer-based TOEFL score of at least 240 (Internet-based TOEFL: 95, paper-based TOEFL, 590) with a writing subscore of at least 4.5. (Internet-based writing score of at least 24). Applicants who do not meet this minimum TOEFL requirement will not be admitted; there is no conditional admission. A TOEFL score of 240 is considered to be very minimal; applicants who demonstrate stronger English proficiency with a higher TOEFL score (and higher writing subscore) will have a better chance of being recommended for admission to the program for the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Linguistics.

In addition, non-native speakers of English must take the CMS Placement Test (CMSPT) for assessment of their English writing proficiency upon entry to the university. They may be required to take ENG 670 and/or other writing course(s).

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Students will be evaluated for Level One proficiency in writing based on the 500-700 word personal statement as well as the writing sample that are submitted as part of their application to the M.A. program. Students whose writing ability is not satisfactory will be required to take a graduate-level composition course such as ENG 670 . This course may not be used to fulfill other requirements for the degree

Level Two

Satisfactory performance in ENG 895 or ENG 898.

English (M.A.): Concentration in Linguistics — Minimum 30 units

Group I: Required Core Courses (18 units)

ENG 719Seminar: Contemporary Semantic Theory3
ENG 723Seminar in the Structure of English3
ENG 725Seminar in Discourse Analysis3
ENG 727Linguistic Field Methods3
ENG 728Topics in Sociolinguistics 13
ENG 889Integrated Studies in Linguistics 23

Group II: Related Core Courses (3 units)

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

ENG 728Topics in Sociolinguistics 13
ENG 729Seminar in Psycholinguistics3
ENG 737Introduction to Corpus Linguistics3
ENG 739Advanced Field Methods3
PHIL 630Philosophy of Language3
or PHIL 830 Seminar in Philosophy of Language

Quantitative Reasoning and Research Methodology

ANTH 652Anthropological Statistics4
MATH 324Probability and Statistics with Computing3
MATH 338Introduction to SAS3
MATH 490Mathematics Seminar3
PSY 371Psychological Statistics3
PSY 571Intermediate Psychological Statistics3
PSY 771Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design3
PSY 772Applications of Multiple Regression to Psychological Research4

Any courses in Group II that are not selected for the Group II requirement may be used as Related Elective Courses with the approval of an advisor.


ENG 728 may be used as Group II when variant differs from Group I variant.


ENG 889 must be taken either during final or penult semester of program.

Related Elective Courses (6 units)

Units to be taken from one or more of the following groups of related courses or other courses approved of by an advisor.


ENG 804Teaching Practicum: Linguistics3

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

ENG 653TESOL: Pedagogical Grammar3
ENG 724Special Topics in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3
ENG 726Practicum in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages3
ENG 731Seminar: TESOL Listening and Speaking Skills3
ENG 732Seminar: TESOL Reading and Writing Skills3
ENG 738Pragmatics and Oral Skills3

Communication Studies

COMM 664Research Methods in Language and Social Interaction4
COMM 871Communication Research Strategies4

Reading and Writing

ENG 704Pedagogical Grammar for Composition3
ENG 706Seminar in Sociolinguistics of Composition3


ENG 782Seminar: Chaucer3
Select one of the following:3
and Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination
Foreign Language Requirement (see below)

Culminating Experience

Select one from the following:
ENG 898Master's Thesis3
ENG 895Field Study or Applied Research Project (and Master's Comprehensive Oral Examination)3
and Foreign Language Requirement (see below)

During the second-to-last semester in the program, students are required to complete a form called the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC), which lists those courses they are using to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Linguistics. Students must earn an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in all courses listed in that document.

Master's Examinations

Failure in these examinations does not disqualify the candidate unless the examining committee so directs. The candidate may take the examinations twice, and, if failure occurs both times, will be disqualified from the graduate program.

Foreign Language Requirement

10 semester units, or the equivalent, of a modern European language, plus a minimum of one semester or the equivalent of a non-Indo-European language is required of all candidates for the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Linguistics. The student has the alternative of satisfying the foreign language requirement by examination. Units earned in foreign language study are not to be included in the student's Advancement to Candidacy (ATC).