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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Applied Linguistics

Majors Overview June 28, 2015

The study of how language is viewed at a cultural level is applied linguistics. Students will look at language’s importance and how individuals and cultures use, develop, teach, learn, and impact it.

Information on Applied Linguistics Programs

Students enrolled in a master’s degree program in applied linguistics can develop their proficiency and knowledge in linguistics and language. Schools offer both on-campus and online programs. Students take courses in semantics, phonology, sociolinguistics and language acquisition. A final project or thesis related to applied linguistics may have to be completed by students. Individuals are also usually expected to be fluent in two other non-native languages; they may have to complete extensive language studies during their undergraduate education. Fieldwork may have to be on their own time in an online program and comprehensive exams taken by them at the school. Graduates may seek employment as interpreters, postsecondary teachers, and communications professionals.

Related Program Options

Program graduates may seek continued education by earning a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. Students can also choose from related master’s degree options in comparative literature, linguistics and philosophy, and classical studies, from possible choices such as:

•Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Linguistics
•Master of Arts (M.A.) in Classical Studies
•Master of Arts (M.A.) in Comparative Literature
•Master of Arts (M.A.) in Linguistics and Philosophy

Master’s Programs in Applied Linguistics

Coursework in a master’s degree program in applied linguistics is devised to enhance students’ grasp of the impact of language on human life. Courses may be available in psychological, theoretical, and foundational subject areas, aimed at teaching students about the ethnographical and sociological topic areas in linguistics. Students may choose a concentration in foreign languages or second language learning. They may gain proficiency in at least two additional languages, in addition to their native language. Students take about three years to complete this degree program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a field related to applied linguistics, in addition to submitting GRE scores and transcripts from all prior colleges attended by them.


Program coursework is designed to improve students’ skills and impart knowledge in literacy, language, theory and research. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Sign language
•Language disorders and neurolinguistics
•Bilingualism and language teaching
•Cognitive development and language
•Foreign language instruction techniques
•Language and literacy

Career Choices

Program graduates may use their learned skills in bilingualism and grasp of language development to seek careers in education, communications, linguistics, and writing. They can choose from possible job positions such as:

•Adult literacy teacher
•Postsecondary foreign language teacher

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continued education by earning a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics that could lead to a career in research or teaching. Additional fields of study are commonly in these doctorate programs, including TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) or technology.

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