University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 8.18k / year
  • Foreign: $ 17.7k / year
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • Deadline:
  • 4 January
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 1510pts.
  • Duration:
  • 2 years

    Photos of university / #illiniview

    The M.A. in Linguistics program is designed around a set of "core" courses, to provide students with a well rounded perspective on the field. In addition to the core courses, students complete a series of elective courses tailored to their individual interests. The program is suitable both for students seeking a professional terminal degree and for students intending subsequent work at the doctoral level.

    The program may be completed either by taking the Qualifying Examination, or by writing a Master's Thesis. Students intending to continue on to the Ph.D. program should take the Qualifying Examination.

    For the M.A. program in Linguistics, undergraduate preparation should include the study of at least one foreign language; a course equivalent to LING 400; and a broad background in the humanities, social sciences, and/or mathematics. 

    Students who enter the program with previous graduate work in Linguistics from another institution may petition the department to apply up to three of their previous courses toward Requirements A, B or C above. Documentation, such as a course description, syllabus, and in some cases a sample of completed work, should accompany the request. The request should be submitted to the chair of the department's Student Examination & Evaluation Committee. Courses applied to Requirements A, B or C in this way are not also applied toward the requirement of 40 credit hours, unless the credit hours are officially transferred to the University of Illinois. Transfer of credit hours is not possible if the courses have already been counted towards a degree at any other institution. Transfer of credit hours must be requested through the SLCL Graduate Student Services office.

    Students are encouraged to attend at least one summer session of the Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America. Up to 8 graduate hours of credit granted under this program may be transferred, with Graduate College approval.

    A total of 40 graduate hours of coursework are required. It is normally possible to complete the degree in two years.

    A. The following courses are required (20 hours):

    • LING 501:Syntax I
    • LING 502:Phonology I
    • LING 425: Introduction to Psycholinguistics
    • LING 450: Sociolinguistics I

    B. Choose at least one of the following courses (4 hours):

    • LING 541:Syntax II
    • LING 542:Phonology II

    C. Choose at least one of the following courses (4 hours):

    • LING 509: Topics in Cognitive Linguistics
    • LING 507: Formal Semantics I
    • LING 551: Pragmatics I

    D. Four elective courses are required (16 hours):

    • These may be any LING courses at the 400-level or above, or non-LING courses approved by the student's advisor.

    E. Research/Project/Independent Study Hours:

    • A maximum of 4 hours of LING 590: Special Topics in Linguistics may be applied toward the degree.

    F. Language Requirement

    • Students must demonstrate proficiency in at least one language other than their native language. This language may be English for students whose native language is not English. Completing two semesters of instruction in the language is considered a demonstration of proficiency; the requirement may also be met through testing or in other ways approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

    H. Qualifying Examination or Thesis (0 or 4 hours):

    • Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois should take the Qualifying Examination.
      • To take the Qualifying Examination, first work closely with a faculty member to prepare an original research paper. The paper must be submitted to the department in time to schedule the oral examination before the end of the second year.
      • The examination itself consists of an oral presentation of the research paper before a committee of faculty members, who may ask questions concerning the research, the written paper, and the presentation.
    • Students writing a thesis are required to take 4 hours of LING 599: Thesis Research in addition to the required 40 hours.
      • The thesis must be completed under the supervision of a faculty member.
      • It is evaluated by the thesis supervisor and a second faculty member.

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    Applicants to the M.A.program in Linguistics must have completed a bachelor's degree. For the M.A. program in Linguistics, undergraduate preparation should include the study of at least one foreign language; courses equivalent to LING 400 on this campus; and a broad background in the humanities, social sciences, or mathematics. 

    The online application will accept uploads of the following required application materials for all graduate degrees in the Department of Linguistics. Please do not send them to the department or Graduate College:

    • Personal Statement, 1-2 pages
    • Resume or CV
    • Scanned transcripts, Certificates of Degree and/or Diplomas for all post-secondary schools attended (undergraduate and graduate) with English translations when applicable. Official documents (originals or “attested” copies) will be required if you are admitted.
    • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation submitted online by your letter writers (preferably professors who have had you in class).
    • Writing Sample (such as a research paper) of 10-20 pages.

    Also required:

    • GRE score report (taken within the last five (5) years) should be sent by ETS to institution code #1836, dept. #00. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.0), or comparable GPA for an international applicant, for last two years of undergraduate study is a minimum requirement for admission. 
    • Non-native English speakers must also ask ETS to supply their TOEFL iBT score report (103 total or higher preferred with a minimum score of 24 in the speaking subsection) or upload their IELTS score report to the online application. The test provided must be taken within two (2) years of the term of entry.  This requirement may be waived if within five years of the term of enrollment, you have completed at least two academic years of full-time study or completed a graduate degree in a country where English is the primary language of instruction. Please note, however, that this waiver is for admission purposes only and does notprovide an exemption from the English Proficiency Requirement below for non-native English speaking teaching assistants.

    All applicants whose native language is not English must pass the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT with a minimum score of 24, or the speaking section of the IELTS with a minimum score of 8, or pass the Test of Spoken English (TSE) with a minimum score of 50, to be awarded financial aid in the form of a Teaching Assistantship.  

    Financial Aid Information for Prospective Graduate Students

    Financial aid for graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is available in the form of:

    • Teaching, research, graduate, and pre-professional graduate assistantships (including those funded by Federal Work Study)
    • Fellowships (including traineeships)
    • Grants
    • Loans

    How to Apply

    Submitting the APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION TO THE GRADUATE COLLEGE places you in the candidate pool for consideration for all fellowships administered by the Graduate College along with fellowships and assistantships offered within the department to which you are applying. The application includes basic information about you as a candidate, your personal statement, letters of reference, and transcripts. Some programs may request additional information as part of the application.

    To Be Considered for Fellowships or Assistantships

    Departments have different application deadlines, and some occur as early as the end of December. You should check with your prospective program for its deadline. Be sure that your application is complete and all reference letters arrive on time.

    Fellowships are awarded only to full-time degree-seeking students admitted on full-status (minimum GPA). All awards are contingent upon sufficient funding being available. Fellowships are financial aid awards that provide a stipend with no expectation of service in return. A traineeship is a research fellowship providing educational training in a particular disciplinary area. Most fellowship and traineeship awards also cover tuition and selected fees. Fellowships may be awarded by the graduate program,  the University, or an external organization.

    Graduate student assistantships provide graduate students with financial resources that help defray the expenses associated with completing their graduate degrees. Students may hold teaching, research, graduate or pre-professional graduate assistantships. Descriptions of the duties related to each type of assistantship can be found at 

    Students who hold assistantships also experience educational and professional benefits. The responsibilities and benefits of assistantships vary, but in general, students gain further instruction in techniques in their fields; hone their research skills; acquire pedagogical experience necessary for an academic career; develop professional skills, including leadership, interpersonal effectiveness, and performance evaluation; and have collegial collaboration with advisors that result in joint publications.

    Teaching, research, graduate, and pre-professional graduate assistants receive stipends for services rendered to the University. Most assistantship appointments between 25% and 67%, inclusive, for three-quarters of the academic term provide coverage of either the full tuition or the base-rate tuition, depending on the graduate program of enrollment. Such appointments also carry coverage of several fees, along with dental and vision insurance at no charge.

    The graduate admission process to M.A. program in Linguistics is handled jointly by the Graduate College, the Department of Linguistics, and the SLCL Graduate Student Services office. Applications are accepted for fall admission only.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has implemented a web-based application procedure.  The online application web site is

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