linguistics

The M.A. in linguistics is a non-admitting degree. The Department of Language Sciences admits students for the Ph.D. degree in linguistics, and awards a master of arts degree to students in a UW–Madison Ph.D. program upon the completion of the M.A. requirements. See the Linguistics Ph.D. program entry for details on admission to the Ph.D. program.

This master’s program is offered for work leading to the Ph.D. Students may not apply directly for the master’s, and should instead see the admissions information for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

The department currently supports teaching assistantships for LINGUIS 101 Human Language, usually awarded to graduate students after their first year of study. Project assistantships are often available from both inside and outside the department. Advanced Opportunity Fellowships are possible for targeted students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A small number of fellowships are available and are administered through the Graduate School. TA appointments in other departments, for instance in language departments or in the English as a second language program, are sometimes possible based on a student's skill set, since being a student in those departments is not a condition of employment.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement All linguistics courses must be completed in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/). This will be a total of at least 24 credits out of 30.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Students must maintain a GPA of 3.67 in substantive courses taken in the Department of Language Sciences after the third semester. Student must complete the required courses with a GPA of 3.25 to earn the M.A. degree.
Assessments and Examinations Submit and defend one prelim paper by the end of the fourth semester. Contact the program for further details.
Language Requirements Knowledge of two languages is required. One must be English. The language requirements can be satisfied in multiple ways and the program should be contacted directly for further details.

Required COURSES

All required courses are to be chosen from courses offered by the Department of Language Sciences.

  • four 300-level courses
  • two 500-level courses
  • LINGUIS 800 Research Methods and Materials
  • one additional course at the 500 level or higher (except 800)
  • two additional approved courses

Contact the department for a list of specific courses.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree or earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

ProbatioN

Probation is a warning to a student who is not making satisfactory progress in the graduate program of the linguistics department. Departmental probation for grades or failure to make satisfactory progress lasts for one academic year (two consecutive semesters), while probation for an unsatisfactory prelim paper or unfinished Incompletes lasts for one semester.

If a student on probation clears up the problem that led to probation within the time period allotted, nothing else happens, and the student can continue with the program.

If the student does not resolve the problem (e.g. raise the GPA or successfully complete a prelim), the student is dropped from the program at the end of the probationary period.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Every graduate student must have an official faculty advisor. New students are usually assigned to the chair by default, unless they come with the intention of working with a particular faculty member. By the end of the first year, students must decide whom they would like to work with, and must ask that person if they are willing to serve as advisor. If the faculty member agrees, the student is responsible for having the faculty member sign the blue advisor agreement form, and for making sure that it is placed in the student’s file. All permanent faculty members in the department (including affiliated faculty but excluding visiting faculty) may serve as advisors. Faculty from other departments may not serve as official advisors, even though they may co-chair committees.

Every faculty member has the right to refuse to become a student’s advisor. Every graduate student has the right to choose any faculty member as advisor, so long as the faculty member agrees. Students should also feel free to change advisors at any time, without fear of offending a faculty member. If a student changes advisors, a new advisor agreement form must be signed and filed, and the previous advisor must be notified by the student in writing.

The advisor guides the student in the choice of appropriate courses, in the planning of prelims and the dissertation, in choosing prelim committees and the dissertation committee, and in other professional matters. Students are reminded, however, that the fulfillment of departmental requirements is ultimately the student’s responsibility.

Each semester, the student must consult in person with the advisor about courses for the following semester. Registration is blocked until this is done, and is only unblocked when the student turns in the relevant form to the department, signed by the advisor.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

The prelim paper must be completed by the end of the fourth semester.

Other

The department does not usually have guaranteed financial aid packages to offer prospective graduate students. Most students find support of some type, usually as a TA or PA in our department or some other program. Fulltime enrollment is assumed in order to satisfy requirements on satisfactory progress as defined in the graduate student handbook.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Articulates, critiques, or elaborates the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry or schools of practice in the field of linguistics.

2. Identifies sources of data and assembles evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of linguistics.

3. Demonstrates understanding of linguistics in a historical, social, or global context.

4. Selects and/or utilizes the most appropriate methodologies and practices.

5. Evaluates or synthesizes information pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of linguistics.

6. Communicates clearly in ways appropriate to the field of linguistics.

7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Li, Macaulay, Macken, Raimy (Chair), Salmons, Valentine; Lecturer Shields