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ClassroomGraduate Degree Programs

MA in Linguistics

MA in Linguistics with an option in TESL

Certificate in TESL

The Department of Linguistics at the California State University, Fresno offers an M.A. in Linguistics and an M.A. in Linguistics with an option in Teaching English as a Second Language. The Department also offers a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (see below). At California State University, Fresno, students may also earn a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Computational Linguistics or Cognitive Science. Department faculty will assist students in planning such a program. For specific requirements, see Degree Requirements below; for general requirements see Division of Graduate Studies.

The Master of Arts degree program in Linguistics assumes a baccalaureate degree major in an appropriate field and at least three upper-division courses in linguistics as prerequisites. Graduate students are required to complete at least 30 units of courses with a minimum of 21 units of graduate level courses, and to pass a comprehensive examination or complete a thesis.

The requirements for admission to the program are the following:

Bachelors degree

GPA: 2.9 or above

2 Letters of recommendation

Statement of intent (about 300-400 words)

GRE is not required

Have your recommendation letters and your statement of intent sent directly to the Linguistics graduate adviser - all other official documents should be sent to the admissions office as instructed in the online application

Additional requirements for International Students:

TOEFL – 80 iBT, or

IELTS – 6.5, or 

Pearson’s Test of English - 53, or

iTEP – 4.5, or

Fresno State’s AEI program – 550 Institutional TOEFL

Contact the graduate cooordinator, Dr. Jidong Chen, for admission requirements and prerequisites.

For additional information, visit Graduate Admission at the International Student Services and Programs.

Master of Arts Degree Requirements

Students who do not already have a sufficient background in linguistics need to take upper-division linguistics courses to attain classified standing in the department. These include LING 100, 139, 142, 143, 148, 165, (all students) and 141 and 171 (TESL students).

The graduate program consists of at least 30 units, 21 of which must be 200-level courses.

Both the Linguistics and the TESL options are required to take the core curriculum courses in addition to option-specific required courses and electives. Note the following requirements:

Core Curriculum for both Linguistics and TESL options: 15 units total

  • LING 239: Phonetics (3 units)
  • LING 242: Seminar in Phonology (3 units)
  • LING 243: Seminar in Syntax (3 units)
  • LING 248: Seminar in Sociolinguistics (3 units)
  • LING 265: Seminar in Language Acquisition (3 units)

Linguistics Option: 9 - 15 units total

  • Required: LING 249: Field Methods (3 units)
  • Electives (6 units): Two courses, at least one of which should be 200 level, when choosing Thesis as the culminating experience; or four courses, when choosing Comprehensive Exam as the culminating experience

TESL Required Courses: 12 units total

  • LING 236: Teaching Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation to Speakers of Other Languages (3 units)
  • LING 237: Teaching Reading and Writing to Speakers of Other Languages (3 units)
  • LING 241: Seminar in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (3 units)
  • LING 244: Curriculum Design and Classroom Evaluation (3 units)
  • Elective: One course, when choosing Comprehensive Exam as the culminating experience (3 units)

In addition to the above, all students select one of the following culminating experiences: 

  • Thesis: LING 299A-B (6 units)
  • Comprehensive Exam

Graduate topics courses (numbered 231T) are highly recommended electives for all students.

Upon examination of the student's record, other courses will be specified to produce a coherent program.


Graduate Level Writing Competence

This is satisfied by passing the exam below.

Qualifying Examination

California State University, Fresno requires that students have graduate level writing abilities before being advanced to candidacy for the M.A. Students demonstrate these abilities by completion of the Qualifying Examination in Linguistics. This exam, which covers the basic material of undergraduate linguistics 100, is offered once each semester, and should be taken in a student's first or second semester. The exam requires answers written in an essay format.