Linguistics, MA

The Master's degree provides a grounding in the core areas of linguistic theory, supplemented by courses chosen according to the student's specific interests. The Graduate Group in Linguistics does not provide fellowships for pursuit of a master's degree, so students must bring funding from another source.

Applications are considered only from applicants who demonstrate the appropriate academic background as well as interests that match the research pursued at Penn, which can be determined by investigating the current work of the faculty and students. Please consult with the graduate chair before submitting an MA application to ensure that you fit these requirements.

View the University’s Academic Requirements for Research Master's Programs.


The total course units required for graduation is 11. A minimum of 8 course units must be taken at the University of Pennsylvania.

Core Requirements
LING 530Phonology I1
LING 531Phonology II1
LING 550Syntax I1
LING 551Syntax II1
Select 7 course units in consultation with a faculty advisor.7
Total Course Units11

In addition to successful completion of course work, other requirements include

  • A thesis written under the supervision of a faculty committee. The thesis can be based on previous coursework. The committee consists of at least two faculty members, the adviser and a reader, who both must also be members of the graduate group.
  • An oral examination based on the thesis. This consists of a private meeting with the committee, during which the student answers questions on the content of the thesis.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2018 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.