Linguistics M.A.


For information on applying and admissions, please consult the Linguistics Department website.

The M.A. degree involves a two-year course of study. It may be completed in one year by students who have a B.A. in linguistics from UC Santa Cruz and who have taken a number of the core graduate courses during their undergraduate career; the combined B.A./M.A. program provides another pathway to the M.A. program.

Every year, UC Santa Cruz undergraduates in the final year of their linguistics or language studies major can apply to be admitted into the graduate program to pursue the M.A. in theoretical linguistics. Interested students should discuss the possibility with one or more faculty members and formally apply online to the graduate program during the fall quarter of the senior year.

For up-to-date information about the application process, consult the Linguistics Department’s website; and see the graduate coordinator.


Course Requirements

The following courses must be taken by all students.

LING 211Phonology A


LING 221Syntax A


LING 231Semantics A


All students are required to take two additional core courses drawn from the following list:

LING 212Phonology B


LING 222Syntax B


LING 232Semantics B


Students must take the third core course from the above list of 'B' courses, or one course from the following list:
LING 214Phonetics


LING 257Psycholinguistics and Linguistic Theory


LING 280Proseminar in Experimental Linguistics


LING 282Field Methods



Additionally students must take three electives that form a coherent plan of study, as determined by the student’s advisor in consultation with the student. These electives are typically drawn from graduate courses offered by Linguistics and other related disciplines and independent study courses with Linguistics faculty.

Foreign Language Requirements

Reading competence in one foreign language, to be demonstrated by examination at the end of the first year of study.

Master's Thesis

Students in the master’s program complete a master’s thesis in linguistics. This thesis often grows out of a promising term paper written by the student, and is read by a committee composed of three faculty members in linguistics. Preparation for research projects should begin far in advance. In general, a good goal for those working on their M.A. thesis is to approach a possible thesis chair by the end of their first academic year.

Applying for Graduation

See the Graduate Student Handbook for administrative requirements.

See the Academic and Administrative Calendar for Announcement of Candidacy dates.

Note: The completed master’s thesis, and cover sheet, should be submitted to the Graduate Division and a pdf copy of the thesis, and cover sheet, should be submitted to the graduate coordinator.