The Master of Arts program in linguistics requires a minimum of 37 s.h. of graduate credit. A student's advisor must approve all courses that count toward the degree. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 2.75.

Iowa's Department of Linguistics has particular strengths in phonology, syntax, and language acquisition.

The phonology curriculum emphasizes current theoretical perspectives, including optimality theory, and the collection, description, and interpretation of novel phonological and phonetic data. Courses feature extensive work in data analysis and problem solving, focusing on construction and evaluation of phonological theories, particularly in light of new empirical data.

The syntax curriculum includes the dual emphases of empirical and theoretical perspectives. It offers a variety of foundational courses that build analytic and argumentation skills, as well as specialized coursework on current issues in syntactic theory. The courses consist of intensive work in problem solving. They combine discovery and description of new linguistic data with exploration of the implications of such facts in testing and constructing syntactic theories.

The curriculum in language acquisition includes courses that provide an overview and analysis of current research. Work focuses on experimental research investigating first and second language acquisition, multilingualism, and heritage language.

Listed below are the general categories of coursework required to earn the degree; for more specific information on courses, curriculum, and requirements of the Master of Arts in Linguistics, visit the UI General Catalog.

Degree Requirements
Title Hours
Core Courses 22
Electives 15
Total Hours 37

Important Deadlines

Application Deadline: January 15th


Students applying to the M.A. program in linguistics will be considered regardless of the field of their previous training. Applicants should submit official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work, names and contact information for three individuals competent to judge their potential for graduate work and who have agreed to write letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and answers to a short list of questions from the Linguistics Department. Applicants from non-English speaking countries must also submit TOEFL scores. Entering students in linguistics whose first language is not English are also evaluated for English proficiency by the English as a Second Language staff upon arrival on campus and are required to take any ESL courses recommended as a result of the evaluation. 

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College on the Graduate College website. For more information, see the Graduate Admissions Process page.