Linguistics - Teaching English as a Second Language Option, M.A.


Department of Linguistics

Brian Agbayani, Chair
Peters Business Building, Room 383

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Linguistics - Teaching English as a Second Language Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - Computational Linguistics Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - General Linguistics Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - Interdisciplinary Language Studies Option, B.A.
BS in Cognitive Science, B.S.
CERT in TESOL, Certificate of Adv. Study
MA in Linguistics, M.A.
MA in Linguistics - Teaching English as a Second Language Option, M.A.
MN in Linguistics, Minor
MN in Computational Linguistics, Minor
MN in Chinese, Minor
MN in Hmong, Minor
MN in Teaching English As A Second Language, Minor
MN in Cognitive Science, Minor
MN in Japanese, Minor

Courses Offered

The Department

Linguistics is the study of the human capacity for language. Language is the defining characteristic of the human species; without language, there would be no civilization, no culture, no scientific or technological development, none of the achievements and capabilities distinctive to the human species. Therefore, the study of the nature of language is fundamental to the understanding of what it means to be human.

Students and faculty in linguistics investigate the nature of human language, its structure, diversity, universality, acquisition by children and adults, historical change, and its use in society. They study how language is processed in the human mind/brain, and how it relates to other human cognitive faculties. And they study and develop applications of linguistics to teaching, technology, and many other fields.

Degrees and Programs

Our degrees and programs develop intellectual skills that are essential to professional careers or advanced degrees and can be applied directly to various professional fields. An undergraduate or advanced degree in linguistics can prepare you for a career in a variety of different fields, including but not limited to: teaching, publishing, national security, international affairs, policy, forensics, medicine and technology. Our programs also serve as excellent preparation for pursuing advanced degrees in linguistics and other fields such as English, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Computer Science, and Foreign Languages.

The B.A. Option in General Linguistics provides a broad background in the scientific study of language, including but not limited to phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and related areas.

The B.A. Option in TESL provides professional training and preparation in theories and methods for teaching second/foreign languages and is especially compatible with degrees in education and liberal studies.

The B.A. Option in Interdisciplinary Language Studies is for those students interested in combining the study of a particular language or languages with the core areas of linguistics.

he B.A. Option in Computational Linguistics is for those students interested in text processing, forensic linguistics, software design, machine translation, and other professions dealing with the interface between computers and humans.

The B.S. Degree in Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary program that combines aspects of Computer Science, Psychology, Linguistics, and Philosophy.

The M.A. degree in Linguistics is designed to increase the student’s knowledge and understanding of linguistics and its applications. The M.A. degree has two options, one in General Linguistics and one in TESL. The general linguistics program is designed to train students who expect to do further graduate work, to teach linguistics at the college level, or to do linguistic field work on less-studied languages. The option in TESL prepares students for further graduate work in applied linguistics and serves those who wish to teach English to speakers of other languages at any educational level, either abroad or in this country. The TESL option specifically meets the needs of English language teachers in this region.

Minors in Chinese, Hmong, and Japanese are also available for students with plans to pursue careers in various areas, such as education, health care, international affairs, marketing, economics, national security, art and literature, etc., where a knowledge of language and culture would be useful.

The Undergraduate Certificate of Special Study in Teaching English as a Second Language is intended for local and international Bachelors students who wish to specialize in English as a Second Language methods. The Graduate Certificate in TESL is designed to train students in the theory and practice of TESL, with application to a wide variety of teaching circumstances.


The Department of Linguistics has a computer lab for computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and for language study. The Department also has a sound booth for phonetic analysis. The Linguistics Department provides practical classroom teaching experience for qualified ESL students through internship programs at area schools and through employment with the American English Institute.


Graduate Program

The Department of Linguistics offers an M.A. in Linguistics with an option in General Linguistics and an option in Teaching English as a Second Language. At California State University, Fresno, students may also get 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.

Graduate Level Writing Competence. Students who are conditionally classified may be required to take the Undergraduate Writing Exam as a condition for classification. 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 passing the Qualifying Examination.

Qualifying Examination. The Department of Linguistics requires that students pass a qualifying examination on general linguistics before being advanced to candidacy for the M.A. The examination consists of essay questions on linguistic topics and is given once each semester. A student who does not pass on the first attempt may petition to receive a second opportunity, but this will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.

(See also Admission to Graduate Standing, Advancement to Candidacy, and Program Requirements.)

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. Note the following requirements:

TESL Option
Core: LING 239, 242, 243, 248, 265 (15 units)
Required: LING 236, 237, 241, 244 (12 units)
Electives: (3 units) One additional course is required for TESL option students selecting the Comprehensive Exam.
All students select one of the following culminating experiences:
A. Thesis: LING 299A-B (6 units)
B. Comprehensive Exam

Highly recommended electives are LING 151 and LING 145 and LING 165. Highly recommended electives for TESL students are LING 132 and 148.

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



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