Graduate 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

GRE is not required

2 Letters of recommendation

Statement of intent (about 300-400 words)

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: 550 (paper), 213 (computer), 80 (internet based) OR

IELTS: 6.5 overall band score

Contact graduate adviser for admission requirements and prerequisites.

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:


  • Core: LING 239, 242, 243, 248, 265 (15 units)
  • Required: LING 249 (3 units)
  • Electives (6 units) Two courses, at least one of which should be 200 level

TESL Option

  • Core: LING 239, 242, 243, 248, 265 (15 units)
  • Required: LING 236, 237, 241, 244 (12 units)

In addition to the above, all students select one of the following culminating experiences:
A. Thesis: LING 299A-B (6 units)
B. Electives and Comprehensive Exam
One or two additional courses (3-6 units) as needed to reach 30 total
Comprehensive Exam

Highly recommended electives for all students are graduate topics courses (numbered 231T).

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 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.

Graduate Certificate in TESL

Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching English as a Second Language. This certificate is designed to train participants in the theory and practice of TESL, with application to a wide variety of teaching circumstances. In addition to prerequisite courses that may be needed (LING 100, 141, and 171), 12 units will consist of LING 237, 241, 244, and 236 (or an approved graduate elective). Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in the program. The certificate is designed for Valley classroom teachers who need academic certification for professional advancement.

Requirements (12 units)

LING 236 , 237, 241, 244

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