Our M.A. program develops students' knowledge of linguistics, preparing them for a professional career or doctoral study in linguistics or related disciplines. This is achieved through completion of courses, including coursework in an area of specialization within the field, and experience with independent research in Linguistics.
The department only accepts students who are already enrolled at Stanford for the M.A. degree. For details on the application process see How to Apply.
Students should work out their individual program in advance of beginning the program with an advisor in Linguistics keeping the following requirements and guidelines in mind. The M.A. degree requires the completion of 45 units; at least 36 of these must be in Linguistics. The coursework must include one introductory course in each of the areas of sound structure, syntax, and semantics, as well as four courses in the student’s area of specialization. Students are strongly urged to take the introductory courses before taking more advanced courses in Linguistics. If the student can make a compelling case, the department will allow up to 9 of the 45 units required for the M.A. to be in a department other than Linguistics. Courses from outside the Department of Linguistics must have clear linguistic content or contribute methodological knowledge that will facilitate the thesis project. No more than two courses taken for the M.A. program should be at the 100 level.
The majority of the courses taken towards the 45 units of degree program coursework must be taken for a letter grade; these should include the three required introductory courses and the four courses constituting the specialization, which should all be completed with at least a 'B'. The overall coursework grade point average (GPA) must be at least 3.0 (B).
Thesis or Thesis Project
Students must complete a research paper supervised by a committee of three faculty (normally this requirement is fulfilled by up to 6 units of Linguistics 398, Directed Research). The primary advisor should be a regular faculty member in the Department of Linguistics; students should discuss the selection of the additional two readers with the primary reader.