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This article describes the Masters in Linguistics degree program, some of the subjects and courses that you will study, and why you may want to consider this degree as part of your plan to enhance your career. Furthermore, we will discuss an example of a high quality Masters in Linguistics that can be completed online.
What Is a Masters in Linguistics?
A Masters in Linguistic degree is suitable for those who are interested in languages, their development, and how they are learned. It is often quite difficult to define exactly what is linguistics, with most people believing that it simply means that linguists are polyglots. In reality, it is a scientific field that focuses on languages. Simply put, it means that when you undertake a Masters in Linguistics program, you study:
- Humanity’s unconscious knowledge of language
- How children learn to speak
- What is the structure of each particular language
- Why languages are different from each other
- How languages influence human interaction
Linguistics, as such, provides people with insights into human behavior and knowledge. While different schools approach this in varying ways, the common courses for this particular field of study are:
- Semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology, and phonetics
- Historical linguistics
- Dialectology and sociolinguistics
- Discourse analysis and pragmatics
- Computational linguistics
- Language acquisition
- Experimental linguistics and psycholinguistics
It is also common for programs to offer specializations, such as:
- Anthropological linguistics
- Learning a language in the classroom
- Applied linguistics
- Cognitive linguistics
Why Earn a Masters in Linguistics?
Completing a Masters in Linguistics degree will give you important intellectual skills, including clarity of expression, argumentation, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning. In addition, you will be able to make meaningful observations about languages and how these apply to the wider community. You will be ready to take on a wealth of different positions in just about any industry.
According to a recent Payscale report, the average starting salary for someone with a Masters in Linguistics is $52,500 per year as of July 2016. However, most people do not undertake such a degree for the money. Rather, they do so because they have a genuine passion for languages and language development. Mainly, a graduate degree greatly increases a person’s job security and it also leads to more personal satisfaction because you will be able to take on a position of leadership.
Online Option for Masters of Linguistics
University of Massachusetts
One high quality online Masters of Linguistics program that you may want to consider is that delivered by the University of Massachusetts, which is better known as UMass Online. This Master of Arts program is a highly comprehensive degree that introduces students to the practical, empirical, and theoretical dimensions of linguistics in its applied form.
There are a number of concentrations to choose from:
- Foreign language pedagogy, including teaching English as a Foreign Language
- ESL Instruction for ELLs (English Language Learners)
- Bilingual education
During this master’s degree program, you will be immersed in both the practice and theory of linguistics. Graduates are respected for their inquisitive nature, which is something that is nurtured through research and faculty support at UMass Online. Students of the program have a wide intellectual diversity, which is also reflected in the core curriculum and elective courses. The curriculum focuses on cross cultural studies, ESL/EFL methodologies, ethnographic research methods and discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, applied linguistics, and basic theoretical linguistics.
Students get to better understand the diversity of language and its study. This enables them to work in research or teaching, with a focus on applied linguistics in particular. Graduates can work in language schools here and abroad, in adult education, in K-12, in public schools in community based organizations, and in research facilities. Those who complete this program are also encouraged to continue their studies and move on to doctoral education in areas such as literacy studies, education, or linguistics in general. The program usually takes around two years to complete and is respected for its convenience and flexibility, and the first rate faculty members that teach the various courses.
The core curriculum is extensive and includes:
- Cross Cultural Perspectives
- Theories and Principles of Language Teaching
- Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Instruction
- Integrating Culture Into the Language Curriculum
- Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education
- Dual Language Pedagogy
- Curriculum Development in Bilingual Education
- Teaching ESL: Methods and Approaches
- Second Language Acquisition
- Phonetics and Phonemics
- The Structure of the English Language
- Discourse Analysis
- Literacy and Culture
- Historical Foundations of Critical Pedagogy
- Immigration and Education
- Writing Theories in Second Language Instruction
- Testing in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom
- Teaching Reading in the ESL Classroom
- ESL Materials Development
- Technology in Language Education
- Quantitative Linguistics Research
- The Internet in the Language Classroom
Graduates have a wealth of job opportunities to choose from:
- Working in industry, particularly in relation to computers and artificial intelligence
- Working in education, teaching others to speak new languages, or rehabilitating people after a stroke, for instance
- Teaching English as a second language, either here or abroad
- Teaching in universities, although you may need to complete a doctorate degree for this
- Working as an interpreter or translator, although you may need to complete a certification for this
- Teaching foreign languages
- Conducting field work or working on language documentation
- Working as a journalist, technical writer, or within the publishing industry
- Working for testing agencies, particularly in the development of standardized exams
- Working in lexicography, developing and updating dictionaries
- Consulting on language in specific fields, such as medicine or law, where certain terms are particularly complex
- Working in advertisement or branding, using language to build a brand image
- Working for the government, and particularly the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (National Security Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), or the Foreign Service
- Becoming an actor, or training actors on how to produce the right vocal tones, intonation, pronunciation, and more
By earning a Masters in Linguistics, you will be able to embark on a fascinating and important career that will give you the opportunity to influence learning and global communication. You can work in a variety of institutions, from government to nonprofit organizations and from research facilities to private companies. By completing this degree, you will be ready to set yourself apart as someone with extensive knowledge, particularly if you have undertaken a particular concentration. The Umass Online degree, for instance, concentrates on applied linguistics, but then further encourages students to focus on a specific element.
- Master of Arts (MA), Linguistics Degree Average Salary. (2016, Jul. 26). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Arts_(MA)%2C_Linguistics/Salary
- Macaulay, M. & Syrett, K. (n.d.). Why Major in Linguistics? Retrieved from https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/why-major-linguistics
- Master’s in Applied Linguistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.umassonline.net/degrees/online-degree-master-applied-linguistics