M.A. in Applied Linguistics Program Requirements

Program Prerequisites

Although these courses are not required for admission to the M.A. in Applied Linguistics, new students may be required to take or audit Linguistics 103, 120A, 120B, or other courses, to satisfy deficiencies in preparation as deemed necessary by the faculty.


A total of ten (10) courses are required, including a minimum of seven (7) 200-series courses. Nine (9) of these courses apply toward the University’s 9-course minimum for the master’s degree. A total of eight (8) units of 500-series coursework may be applied toward the 10-course minimum required by the department for the M.A. degree in Applied Linguistics; however, only four (4) of those units may be used to fulfill the University’s 9-course minimum requirement.

In addition, students are required to participate in Applied Lingusitics 400, the Master’s Colloquium. It is possible for students to waive course (not unit) requirements if they have taken a course or had professional experience that is deemed comparable in content to a specific course. This enables the student more flexibility in choosing elective courses in consultation with his or her faculty mentor.  Transfer of unit credit is a different process. Regulations governing transfer of credit are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

The Foundation Courses are intended to provide students with an introduction to those areas deemed integral to the study of Applied Linguistics at UCLA. Students are strongly encouraged to take all of the Foundation courses during their first year in the program; however, in rare cases, one may choose to take one each quarter in the first four quarters of graduate study. Students should note that these required courses CANNOT be substituted by courses taken at an institution other than UC.

The Elective Courses are intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge in one Research Area (e.g. language acquisition, language assessment, discourse/grammar analysis). Students will explore their chosen Research Area by selecting appropriate elective courses in consultation with their faculty mentors.

The Thesis Preparation Courses are intended to center the student’s second year around the development and completion of the thesis.  All students will enroll in Applied Lingusitics 200: Research in Applied Linguistics in the Fall quarter of their second year. In this course, students will receive instruction on the preparation of the thesis proposal, which must be approved by two faculty members by the end of the quarter. In the Winter quarter of their second year, students will enroll in Applied Lingusitics 598: M.A. Research and Thesis Preparation with the chair of their Master’s thesis committee. Enrollment in this course is on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis. Throughout the quarter, students will meet with their committee members to work on data collection, analysis, interpretation, and the drafting of the Master’s thesis. Students may choose to enroll in Applied Linguistics 598 again in the Spring quarter in order to be enrolled as a full-time student; however, 598 will only count towards the degree once. All second year students must enroll in Applied Lingusitics 400: MA Colloquium in the Spring quarter of their second year. This course provides unit credit for the quarter, but the course does not count towards the degree requirements.

Summary of Required Courses:

Foundation Courses:

Applied Linguistics C201: Functional Foundations of Language
Applied Linguistics C202: Foundations of Language Acquisition
Applied Linguistics C204: Foundations of Language Assessment

Applied Linguistics M206: Social Foundations of Language OR
Applied Lingusitics M207:
The Ethnography of Communication OR
Applied Lingusitics 208:
Foundations of Discourse Analysis

Elective Courses:

Two (2) 200-series guided elective courses in one area of specialization, beyond the foundations courses, chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor.

Two (2) guided elective courses chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor.

Thesis Preparation Courses:

Applied Lingusitics 200: Research in Applied Lingusitics
Applied Lingusitics 598: M.A. Research and Thesis Preparation

Applied Lingusitics 400: MA Colloquium

*For course descriptions, please consult the General Catalog.

Master’s Thesis Committee

The master’s thesis committee is nominated by the student, approved by the Department Chair, then appointed officially by the Dean of the Graduate Division. This takes place early in the Winter quarter of the student’s second year. The master’s thesis committee comprises a minimum of three faculty members. Traditionally, two members are “inside”  the Department of Applied Linguistics, and one is an “outside” member who has no official affiliation with the department. It is also possible to have three members from inside the department serving on the Master’s thesis committee.

Graduate Division regulations stipulate that the three committee members must be members of the Academic Senate (i.e. holding the title of Professor, Professor Emeritus, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor). Lecturers and Visiting Professors (any title) may (and often do) serve as supernumerary members. For more information, please consult the “Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study” manual published by the Graduate Division.

Foreign Language Requirement

Before advancement to candidacy, students must demonstrate effective knowledge of one foreign language equivalent to a minimum of three quarters of foreign language study at the university level. This may be demonstrated by means of:

(1) completion of the third quarter of instruction in a foreign language with a minimum grade of B or better;

(2) completion of the second quarter of instruction in a foreign language plus Applied Linguistics 221; or

(3) a UCLA Foreign Language Department Placement Test, demonstrating equivalency to completion of the third quarter of instruction in a foreign language.

Non-native speakers of English may petition to use English to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy

After completion of the requirements outlined above, including nomination of the master’s thesis committee, M.A. students are advanced to candidacy. This process generally takes place in the latter part of the Winter quarter of the students’ second year. To advance, students must file the Master’s Advancement to Candidacy Petition with the Department to demonstrate successful completion of the nine graduate and upper division courses required by the University. Once the student and the Department Chair have approved this paperwork, it is filed with Graduate Division and forwarded to the Registrar’s Office.

The Thesis

Each student is required to complete and file a Master’s thesis as a final demonstration of his or her ability to carry out original research under the guidance of the Master’s Thesis Committee. All Master’s Thesis Committee members, including any supernumerary members, must read the thesis and certify that it satisfies the research requirements of the Master’s Program through the Electronic Thesis & Dissertation Filing system. As the thesis nears completion, all candidates must present a public report of their research results. This report is scheduled as a course, Applied Lingusitics 400, with the public oral presentation made at the annual MA Colloquium, which is held during the Spring quarter.

Normative Progress Toward the Degree

As stated in the Program Requirements, published by the Graduate Division, the normative time to degree is, “From graduate admission to award of M.A. degree: six quarters, and in some cases, a summer session.” Once advanced to candidacy, master’s students have one year to complete and file the Master’s Thesis. Please consult the Graduate Advisor for more information.