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Degree Overview: Graduate Diploma Programs in Applied Linguistics

Majors Overview June 19, 2015

This article talks about graduate diploma programs in applied linguistics and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Applied Linguistics Programs

Graduate diploma programs in applied linguistics are not available at schools in the U.S.; students interested in the field may enroll in a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Linguistics. These programs involve the exploration of cross-cultural linguistic tools, gaining a grasp of the nature of language and analysis of ethnographic research methods. They also learn what techniques will help teach English to non-native speakers.

A capstone project or thesis is in the coursework of many graduate programs in applied linguistics. In some programs, students are also required to complete a practicum, wherein an on-site teaching experience is available to students. These may also involve conducting further research in language and linguistics, teaching language to students at secondary and elementary schools, working as community educators or teaching adult education courses.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree in a field such as linguistics, foreign language, English, sociology, anthropology or psychology. Students also require a minimum grade point average of 3.0 from an accredited school. Many schools also require applicant students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.


Both the practical and theoretical nature of language acquisitions are explored through the coursework. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Basic applied linguistics
•Theoretical linguistics
•Cross-cultural studies
•ESL methodologies
•Ethnographic research methods

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek various occupations related to the field, including possible job options such as:

•Language historian
•Linguistics researcher
•Community educator
•ESL teacher
•Professor of linguistics
•Secondary language arts teacher
•Elementary language arts teacher
•Applied linguistics consultant

Some additional training will allow them to pursue interpreter or translator roles.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a faster-than-average job growth of 46% has been predicted for this field (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). An increase in globalization and greater diversity in the domestic population drives this growth. In 2012, interpreters and translators brought in an average hourly wage of $21.84 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continued education by earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Linguistics or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Linguistics. The focus of the latter is on the academic study of language, contrasting with the practical application of applied linguistics. A doctorate involves five years of advanced study into a specific aspect of language acquisition. The student determines this area of focus, which may include any part of the applied linguistics or linguistics field. Topic areas may include the significance of hand gestures in casual conversation and teaching English to foreign adults. A doctoral degree could lead to a career in academia or research.

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