Skip to main content
Lingusitics >


Application Deadline

  • Fall: Feb 15
  • Contact Information

    4064 JFSB
    Admission Requirements
    Required Tests:

    • GRE — optional
    • TOEFL for international students with an overall score of 580 (paper-based) or 90 (internet based test) with minimum subscores of 23 in speaking and 22 in other sections of the iBT. 

    Additional Requirements:


    Writing Sample

    • Applicants should submit a writing sample (peer-reviewed if possible) in English, no longer than 20 pages, that reflects their best single authored work preferably focused on some area of linguistics, language or communication.


    • Competency in two languages other than English. One language at the third-year university level (typically 300-level courses) or ACTFL Intermediate Mid level; and one language at the second-year university level (typically 200-level courses) or ACTFL Intermediate Low level. (Despite its number, SPAN 105 at BYU is considered the first semester of second-year university-level Spanish). Native speakers of languages other than English can count those languages toward this requirement. This requirement can be completed after starting the program, but language courses do not count toward the program’s overall 33 credit hours.
    • If indicated by an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), nonnative English speakers will need to take ESL 301 Advanced Academic English, ESL 302 Advanced English Pronunciation, or ESL 305 Applied Grammar.  The OPI should be completed before or during the first semester.
    • Non-native English speakers must take Ling 501 during winter semester.  However, you will be instructed on how this requirement may be waived during your first fall semester.
    • For those students who did not receive a Linguistics BA, Ling 401, Introduction to Graduate Linguistics, or equivalent course, is required. This must be completed during summer term, before starting the MA program in the fall. Students who believe they have satisfied the prerequisite with an equivalent course at another university should contact the department office at We will need to know where and when you took the course, what grade you received, and a copy of the course syllabus so that we can determine its equivalency to Linguistics 401.
    Program Requirements
    The purpose of the linguistics MA program is closely related to the department's definition of linguistics, which is the scientific study of language. The program aims to prepare the student to become a language professional, go on to a PhD program, or go into the world as a competent practitioner of the skills expected of a linguist. A more applied, but popular emphasis in the department is a track that combines linguistics with computer skills. The linguistics curriculum develops such skills as analyzing language in its sound, structure, and meaning. Optional tracks also introduce the student to such related fields as anthropological linguistics, information design, sociolinguistics, and language-oriented computing.

    • Total credit hours:  33
      • Required courses (21 credits): 
        • Linguistic Foundations:  Sounds of Language (3 hours): Ling 601
        • Linguistic Foundations:  Structures of Language (3 hours): Ling 602
        • Linguistic Foundations:  Meanings in Language (3 hours): Ling 603
        • Research Design in Linguistics (3 hours): Ling 604
        • One course from the following: 
          • Advanced Phonology (3 hours): Ling 651
          • Advanced Morphology (3 hours): Ling 652
          • Advanced Syntax (3 hours): Ling 653
          • Advanced Semantics (3 hours): Ling 654
      • In order to allow some students to start specializing more quickly in our program, students with previous linguistic experience can replace LING 601, LING 602 and/or LING 603 with advanced electives. The determination to substitute one or more of these three classes will be based on the pertinent linguistic courses taken during a student's Bachelor's program (and the corresponding grades received), or based on written assessments (to be created) one for each of LING 601-603, or based on oral assessments with professors who regularly teach LING 601-603.
      • Electives (12 hours): depending on course availability and consultation with faculty advisors.  Students can choose to focus on one of the following areas of emphasis: 1. Linguistics computing, 2. Language acquisition, 3. Language and society, or 4. General linguistics
      • Thesis (6 hours): Ling 699R
      • Examination:  oral defense of thesis
      • (with Ling 401 as a prerequisite for non-Ling BA {or equivalent} students)
    Program Outcomes
    Analysis Skills Development
    Analyze linguistic data using appropriate (linguistic) methodology. Be able to understand, interpret, analyze, and assess academic linguistic literature.

    Professional Preparation
    Demonstrate skills useful for employment or for future graduate studies (e.g. doctoral or other programs in computer science, Hispanic linguistics, applied linguistics, law, communication, marketing, etc.). Examples include: corpus analysis, computer programming, quantitative and qualitative data analysis (including statistical procedures), editing, teaching second languages, natural language processing, and translation.

    Effective Presentation
    Be able to make formal written and oral presentations on a linguistic topic.

    Program Stats
    Characteristics of Students from Past Academic Year
    Total Students 47.0
    International 6.0
    Male 24.0
    Female 23.0
    LDS 46.0
    BYU Undergraduate 22.0
    Five Year Average of Graduated Students
    Average Years to Degree 1.89
    Graduated Per Year 18.2
    GMAT Quantitative Percentile 67.5
    Five Year Average of Admitted Students
    Applied Per Year 14.0
    Admitted Per Year 11.0
    Percent Admitted 78.57
    Average GPA 3.63