Linguistics

The Program in Linguistics provides students with a solid grounding in the tools of language analysis. The course offerings in contemporary linguistic theory cover a broad spectrum of the components of linguistic structure: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. Students interested in any field involving language analysis — including but not limited to law, education, anthropology, sociology, psychology, computer science, and linguistics — benefit from preparation in examining language data with the rigorous methods of the discipline.

Dr. Jenny Lederer, M.A. Coordinator 

Program Contacts

Dr. Jenny Lederer, Linguistics Coordinator
Email: lederer@sfsu.edu
Phone: (415) 338-7406
Office: Humanities Building, Room 430

Cynthia Losinsky, English Graduate Programs Coordinator
Email:  cynthial@sfsu.edu
Phone:  (415) 338-2660
Building: Humanities, Room 490

Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics

At the undergraduate level, students begin to explore the patterns of sounds, words, sentences and conversations in a variety of languages and speech communities. What similarities are found between English, Spanish and Swahili, for example? What patterns do Turkish and Japanese share? How can you characterize the difference between “empty” and “hollow,” when the dictionary lists them as synonyms? How do conversations among teenagers in San Francisco differ from conversations among 40-year-olds?

Students interested in any field involving language analysis — including but not limited to law, education, anthropology, sociology, psychology and linguistics — benefit from preparation in examining language data with the rigorous methods of the discipline. Students who plan to teach language gain a valuable background in the structure of English along with a deeper understanding of how languages are acquired. Undergraduate majors are encouraged to take courses in other languages as well as courses investigating language from the perspectives of other fields, such as speech and communication, psychology, computer science and anthropology.

  • Core Requirements (24 Units)
    • Lower-Division (6 Units)
      • ENG 218 - Writing the First Year: The World, the Text, and You (3 units)
      • ENG 250 - Topics in Literature and Culture (3 units)
    • Upper-Division (18 Units)
      • ENG 402 - Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric (3 units)
      • ENG 420 - Introduction to the Study of Language (3 units)
      • ENG 461 - Literature in English Since 1800 (3 units)
      • ENG 480GW - Junior Seminar - GWAR (3 units)
      • ENG 583 - Shakespeare: Representative Plays (3 units)
      • ENG 640 - Global Texts and Practices (3 units)
  • Concentration Requirements (21 Units)
    • Required Courses (9 units)
      • ENG 421 - Syntax (3 units)
      • ENG 424 - Phonology and Morphology (3 units)
      • ENG 425 - Language in Context (3 units)
    • Elective (9 units)
      • Three courses selected with approval of advisor.
    • Capstone Experience (3 units)
      • ENG 422 - History of the English Language

Elective Options for Undergraduate Linguistics Majors

All undergraduate linguistics majors are required to take 3 electives in the area of linguistics to complete their major. The following is a list of approved elective options. Any other elective courses need advisor’s approval.

  1. English Department
    • ENG 122 Language Evolution in the Digital Age
    • *ENG 423 Intro to TESOL
    • *ENG 426 (taken with a foreign language) (Fall only)
    • ENG 429 Stylistics
    • ENG 501 Age of Chaucer
    • *ENG 653 TESOL Pedagogical Grammar
    • *ENG 657 Grammar and Rhetoric of the Sentence
    • ENG 620 Intro to Computational Linguistics (Fall only)
    • ENG 680 Applied Computational Linguistics (Spring only) (ENG 620 pre-rec (or instructor approval))

      * recommended choices for students interested in applying to the M.A. TESOL program
       

  2. Foreign Language Classes:
    Students may count 1 introductory level language class as an elective if the language was not studied before taking at the university level. [Community college is fine.]
    Any 300-level or above language classes (except conversation classes) will count as electives provided the language is not a native language for the student. If it is a native language for the student, only the 300-level linguistics courses in that language will be counted.

    • FL 325 Linguistics and Foreign Languages
  3. Communication Studies
    • COMM 503 Gender and Communication
    • COMM 512 Non-Verbal Communication
    • COMM 541 or 542 Intercultural Communication
    • COMM 562 Discourse in Interaction
    • COMM: 563 Conversational Analysis
  4. Anthropology
    • ANTH 651 Ethnographic Field Methods
    • ANTH 652 Anthropological Statistics
  5. Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (SLHS)(all classes)SLHS 300 recommended
     
  6. Computer Sciences
    Any 200-level or above classes. Python recommended for those interested in computational linguistics or natural language processing
     
  7. Philosophy
    • PHIL 205 Formal Logic
    • PHIL 630 Philosophy of Language
  8. Psychology
    • PSY 171 Quantitative Reasoning in Psychology or PSY 371
    • PSY 494 Cognitive Psychology
    • PSY 531 Psycholinguistics
  9. Sociology
    SOC 393 Quantitative Analysis of Social Data

Note on Statistics:

Statistics is an important skill in linguistics. Any statistics course taken above the 100-level counts as an elective (up to 4 units).

Master of Arts in Linguistics

The M.A. in Linguistics provides students with a solid grounding in the tools of language analysis. The course offerings in contemporary linguistic theory cover a broad spectrum of the components of linguistic structure: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics and sociolinguistics. Students interested in any field involving language analysis — including but not limited to law, education, anthropology, sociology, psychology, computer science, and linguistics — benefit from preparation in examining language data with the rigorous methods of the discipline. Students who plan to teach or translate language gain a valuable background in the structure of English along with a deeper understanding of how grammar works in every language.

Since the program allows considerable choice in coursework beyond a basic set of core requirements, the student — in consultation with an adviser — can plan a program to suit individual interests and career requirements, including pathways that focus on computational and experimental linguistics in addition to cognitive linguistics. Teaching assistant opportunities enable students to apprentice with faculty who teach undergraduate language studies classes in order to gain knowledge, experience and the skills needed to teach linguistics concepts in the classroom.

The breadth of our faculty’s research and teaching provide multiple experiences for learning not offered in other M.A. Linguistics programs. These highlights include:

  • The Experimental and Computational Linguistics Ensemble Lab, dedicated to study linguistic phenomena that shed light on the question of grammar architecture and the relation between language and cognition. 
  • Multiple opportunities for collaborative, hands on research, publication and presentation with faculty.
  • Advanced curriculum in both cognitive linguistics, sociophonetics and raciolinguistics, and computational linguistics 
  • The opportunity to study in the heart of San Francisco, the epicenter of careers in linguistics and computation. 
  • Cross-disciplinary coursework and research with applied linguists and composition experts.

Careers

The M.A. in Linguistics prepares students for a variety of career pathways after graduation.  In addition to successfully entering Ph.D. programs, graduates of the M.A. Linguistics degree have begun careers in linguistics and tech, communications and advertising, second language teaching, and a variety of non-profit and education-related careers.

View words from our graduate alumni.

Additional Specialization

Graduate students may obtain additional specialization by adding one or more certificates to their degree program:

  • Certificate in Computational Linguistics 
  • Certificate in Teaching Composition 
  • Certificate in Teaching Post-Secondary Reading
  • Certificate in Immigrant Literacies 
  • Certificate in TESOL (undergraduate)
  • Certificate in Computational Linguistics

Post Fall 2019 Requirements & Courses

  • Core Requirements (15 Units)
    • ENG 702 - Introduction to Graduate Study of Composition, Linguistics, and TESOL
    • ENG 707 - Topics in Langauge Analysis
    • ENG 728 - Topics in Sociolinguistics
    • ENG 733 - Seminar in Student Teaching
    • Culminating Experience (Choose one):
      • ENG 895 - Field Study or Applied Research  Project
      • ENG 898 - Master's Thesis
  • Concentration Requirements (15 Units)
    • ENG 719- Seminar: Contemporary Semantic Theory (3 units)
    • ENG 821- Syntax (3 units)
    • ENG 824- Phonology and Morphology (3 units)
    • Electives selected with an advisor's approval (6 units)
      • ENG 433 - Introduction to Phonetics (3 units)
      • ENG 620 - Introduction to Computational Linguistics (3 units)
      • ENG 680 - Applied Computational Linguistics (3 units)
      • ENG 725 - Seminar in Discourse Analysis (3 units)
      • ENG 727 - Linguistics: Field Methods (3 units)
      • ENG 737 - Introduction to Corpus Linguistics (3 units)

Pre Fall 2019 Requirements

View requirements and guidelines in the SF State Bulletin.

Please review before applying:

The application process for the M.A. Linguistics program is as follows. If you have questions about the process, please contact: English@sfsu.edu.

  1. Complete the online application through Cal State ApplyCreate your account AND Complete your profile. 

    TIP: Students who will study on a F1/J1 visa must select Non-Resident for U.S. Citizenship Status under your Extended Profile.

    Please note: You will only see a list of programs that aligns with your academic degree objective.
     

  2. Submit the following online (A-C) by uploading on the Cal State Apply site’s “Program Materials” section:
    • A) 1 - 2 page, typed statement of purpose detailing why you are interested in the Linguistics concentration.
    • B) One recent 5 -10 page writing sample.
    • C) Please upload upload legible unofficial copies of transcripts from each college or university attended. Including study abroad coursework, or community college coursework, even if this coursework appears as transfer credit appears on your degree transcript. Full academic disclosure is required. Photographs or screenshots of transcripts will be rejected. An incomplete academic history will significantly delay review of your application. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from you at any point during the application review process.  
  3. If selected for admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure your offer of admission. Please note: if you previously attended SF State, you do not need to submit a SF State transcript.
    If selected for admission, please mail official transcripts to:
    Graduate Admissions Office, ADM 250
    San Francisco State University
    1600 Holloway Ave.
    San Francisco, CA 94132
     
  4. International applicants who are non-native speakers of English must also have official TOEFL scores sent (institution code: 4683, department code:14). IELTS scores are also accepted.
    International applicants who are non-native speakers of English must also submit a certified financial statement.
     
  5. Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic potential. Use the Evaluations tab to manage submission of letters of recommendation. Letter writer email addresses should be from professional or academic organizations (ex. @sfsu.edu, @CA.gov or @ibm.com), not personal email addresses. Cal State Apply instructions on how to submit letters of recommendation.

Deadlines

Applications for Fall admission: Accepted starting October 1 – early deadline February 1, regular deadline April 1, and final deadline July 31.

Applications for Spring admission: Accepted starting August 1 – early deadline November 15, regular deadline December 1.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

International applicants should submit their materials by January 1 for fall admission or September 1 for spring admission. 

Current Student Checklist

Obtaining Classified Status

Students admitted with Conditionally Classified status normally obtain Classified status after Graduate Division reviews and approves the Advancement To Candidacy (ATC). Under certain circumstances, you may wish to obtain Classified status before filing the ATC. If you have met the conditions outlined in your Notice of Admission, contact your department office about the procedure for changing your status from Conditionally Classified to Classified. If your program requires you to provide evidence that you have met these conditions, bring proof of completion (such as a transcript) to the department office and ask that it be added to your file.

Semester Before Taking English 895

Submit your Advancement To Candidacy (ATC)

  • Use this form to describe how you will fulfill the requirements of your degree.
  • The Graduate Coordinator of the M.A. Composition Program will guide you through the process of preparing and submitting your ATC. Prepare the ATC form online before printing. If necessary, print out a blank copy and type in the information. If the form is handwritten, it will be rejected by Graduate Division.
  • Submit your ATC to the department office.

Submit your Proposal for Culminating Experience (CE) and your Protocol Approval Form (PAF)

  • The Graduate Coordinator of the M.A. Composition Program will guide you through the process of preparing and submitting both your Proposal and the paperwork related to obtaining Protocol Approval for conducting research with human subjects.
  • You will use the Proposal form "895: Thesis with Human/Animal Subjects"; include the title of your thesis and a brief abstract, and list the members of your thesis committee, all of whom must sign the form. Your "committee chair" is your first reader.
  • Prepare your Proposal form online before printing. If necessary, print out a blank copy and type in the information. If your Proposal is handwritten, it will be rejected by Graduate Division.
  • Submit your Proposal and your Protocol Approval paperwork to the department office.

Do you have questions about the ATC, Proposal for Culminating Experience, or Protocol Approval Form? Ask in your department office, consult with your advisor, or visit the Graduate Division website. Note that we prefer that you submit your ATC and Proposal forms and your Protocol Approval paperwork to the department office at the same time.

Semester of Graduation

Enroll in ENG 895

  • Your ENG 895 instructor will give you a permit number to use for adding the class online.

Apply for graduation

Check your transcript

  • Complete any necessary paperwork to change Incomplete grades.

Submit your thesis to Graduate Division

  • The usual deadline is the last day of classes.
  • Check the requirements for thesis formatting and submission in advance on the Division of Graduate Studies website.

When Graduation Is Delayed

Re-apply for graduation

  • If you do not graduate during the semester in which you initially enrolled in 895, you must re-apply for graduation in the semester in which you will complete your requirements.

Maintain enrollment status

Students admitted before Fall 2008

  • If you do not submit your thesis by the deadline, your instructor will assign you a grade of ‘RP’ (report in progress).
  • You do not need to re-register for ENG 895 in subsequent semesters.
  • You do not need to pay fees for subsequent semesters.

Students admitted beginning Fall 2008

  • Graduate students who earn RP in ENG 895 have an additional “grace semester” after the posting of the RP grade to continue writing the thesis. To maintain current status during this grace semester, students do not have to pay fees or register for courses.
  • If students do not graduate at the end of the grace semester, they must enroll in a 0-unit Culminating Experience course via the College of Extended Learning for each subsequent semester.

Check your transcript

  • When you submit your thesis to your readers, you must also provide your 895 course instructor with a Petition for Grade Change.
  • Fill in your name, SF State ID#, and the semester of enrollment in ENG 895; your professor will note that the RP grade should be changed to CR and will submit the petition to the department.

Note your seven-year deadline.

If you do not graduate during the semester of your initial enrollment in your culminating experience course, we recommend that you remain mindful of your seven-year deadline. Your degree must be awarded within 7 years from the start of the term of the earliest course listed on your ATC. EXAMPLE: if the earliest course listed on your ATC was taken in the Spring 2008 semester, you must graduate no later than the January, 2015. Students whose deadline has expired must petition for an extension of the seven-year limit; such an extension may be granted only once.

For more information contact:
Department of English
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 338-2660

Inquiries concerning admission to the university, application forms, the university Bulletin, financial aid, etc. should be addressed to:
Graduate Studies Division, ADM 250
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, California 94132.

Graduate Division

(415) 338-2234

Faculty

Jinyoung Jo photo
Jinyoung Jo (She/Her/Hers)
Linguistics Faculty
Lederer, Jenny
Jenny Lederer (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Professor
Linguistics Program Coordinator
(415) 338-7406
Pratt, Teresa
Teresa Pratt (She/Her/Hers)
Assistant Professor
(415) 338-3156
Smirnova, Anastasia
Anastasia Smirnova (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Professor
(415) 338-3102

Resources

Professional Resources

Current Students