Goals of the M.A. in Linguistics

Palm Trees Outside Central Classroom Building at El Paseo de Caesar Chavez

Students with Bachelor's degrees from a variety of fields, such as English, Art History, Engineering, Management, Foreign Languages, Psychology, and Anthropology, are conditionally admitted into the M.A. in Linguistics program. Upon completion of a number of prerequisite courses with a letter grade of 'B' or better they become classified students in the program.

Graduates of the M.A. Linguistics Program should be able to meet the following goals:

Goal 1: To transmit in-depth knowledge of the structure and function of language and its use and change in various cultural and social settings.

Goal 1 for M.A. Linguistics Program
Objectives Courses Assessment
Describe sound patterns in any language, with some emphasis on English, using appropriate formalisms, and conduct psycholinguistic experiments on phonological constructs LING 101-prereq (introduced), LING 113 (reinforced), LING 201 (reinforced), LING 213 (advanced) Initial Assessment, Data analysis problems, Midterm Exams, Final Exams, Research Papers
Transcribe speech sounds of the world's languages using the International Phonetic Alphabet LING 101-prereq (introduced), LING 111-prereq (reinforced), LING 213 (advanced) Transcription Problems, Transcription Project, Midterm Exam, Final Exam
Analyze sentence structure in any language in terms of grammatical relations and constituent structure, and recognize the typological diversity of syntactic phenomena LING 101 (introduced), LING 112 (reinforced), LING 125 (reinforced, LING 202 (advanced), LING 213 (advanced) Syntactic analysis exercises, Projects, Midterm exam, Final exam
Analyze the meaning of words and sentences, identify types of lexical and sentence relations, elaborate on the role of linguistic and pragmatic context in the interpretation of meaning, and understand the role of theories in the analysis of semantic data LING 101-prereq (introduced), LING 114 (reinforced), LING 125 (reinforced), LING 203 (advanced), LING 213 (advanced) Initial Assessment, Data analysis problems, Mini Projects, Midterm Exam, Final Exam
Show an understanding of current linguistic theories; compare and evaluate different theoretical approaches LING 201 (advanced), LING 202 (advanced), LING 203 (advanced) Research Papers, Midterm Exams, Final Exams, Comprehensive Exam

Goal 2: To help students develop critical thinking skills, analytical skills, and reading, writing and research skills

Goal 1 for M.A. Linguistics Program
Objectives Courses Assessment
Identify related elements in a data set, formulate organizing principles that encompass the data set, and recognize and evaluate alternative analyses of a data set LING 112 (introduced), LING 113 (introduced), LING 114 (introduced), LING 201 (reinforced), LING 202 (reinforced), LING 203 (reinforced), LING 213 (reinforced) Mini projects, Problems, Mid Term exams, Final exams
Carry out independent empirical, experimental or theoretical research involving formulating a research project, presenting a literature review, using appropriate methodology, collecting data pertinent to the project, and interpreting the data LING 112 (introduced), LING 113 (introduced), LING 114 (introduced), LING 201 (advanced), LING 202 (advanced), LING 203 (advanced) Research papers, Thesis
Use library and electronic research sources effectively LLD 250W (introduced), LING 201 (reinforced), LING 202 (reinforced), LING 203 (reinforced) Research Papers, Mid Term Exams, Final Exams
Use English reading and writing skills effectively to report on research or problem analysis LLD 250W (introduced), All courses (reinforced) Part of the evaluation of every written assignment or exam
Demonstrate proficiency equivalent to a two-year of a Indo-European or a one-year of a non-Indo-European college level study in a language other than their native language Foreign language courses at any college; English proficiency for native speakers of a language other than English College transcript or evaluation from Foreign Languages Department

Goal 3: To help students develop an understanding of the relationship between linguistic theories and areas such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science, language acquisition and learning, and language policy

Depending on the types of elective courses a student takes, which may be from linguistics or from related fields, one or more of the following objectives may be reinforced:

  • Discuss issues in speech synthesis, speech recognition, natural language processing and produce synthesized speech, develop speech recognition and natural language processing programs
  • Evaluate theories of first language acquisition and second language acquisition and teaching
  • Apply linguistic knowledge to address societal issues related to language variation and diversity
  • Recognize the relation between language and cognition and be able to evaluate theories of their interaction

Goal 4: To help students develop an appreciation for the diversity and dynamic nature of human languages and cultures in the U.S. and the world.

The Linguistics Program addresses this goal in all of its core courses as well as through specific areas of specialization that students may pursue. In that respect, Goal 4 is realized through the specific objectives listed for Goals 1, 2, and 3.