Earning a Master’s in English with a Linguistics Focus

English Studies and Linguistics

English studies is an interdisciplinary academic discipline that focuses on the production and analysis of texts, both written and spoken, in the English language. The term English studies is an umbrella term that encompasses more specific areas of study such as English literature, nonfiction and fiction writing, rhetoric, English education, and English linguistics. Linguistics, which is the scientific study of human language, is one emphasis that graduate students pursing a master's degree in English studies may choose to study. The following sections outline the required courses, average completion time, some recommended schools, and the career outlook for graduate students interested in earning a master's degree in English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

Required Courses

The courses required for an English studies master's with a concentration in linguistics very depending on the specific program. However, in addition to a minimum number of courses in language and linguistics, most graduate programs require courses in literature and literary studies, writing and composition, and introduction to graduate research for any English studies degree. Some programs also require a course in pedagogy, especially for students whose future career plans include some sort of teaching.

Average Completion Time

Full-time students can complete an English master's degree in as little as one year (two semesters) while part-time students usually take two years (four semesters) to finish the degree. However, most programs allow students a maximum of five years (ten semesters) to complete the necessary coursework as well as any theses and comprehensive exams.

Recommended Schools

Illinois State University

Illinois State University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, offers a master's in English with an emphasis in linguistics. Students may choose one of two degree options: (1) eleven courses and a comprehensive exam or (2) ten courses and a thesis. The program requirements for this degree include Introduction to Graduate Studies, Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics, The Linguistic Structure of English for the TESOL Professional, Studies in English Linguistics or Sociolinguistics, three linguistics courses, one literature course, one course emphasizing pedagogy, and one elective.

Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, which is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, also offers a master of arts in English with a language and linguistics concentration. All students must complete a minimum of thirty-six credit hours. The completion of a master's thesis is also recommended for students who plan to pursue a doctorate. The program requirements for this degree include Professional Scholarship in Literature, Professional Scholarship in Writing Studies, Professional Scholarship in Language Study and Linguistics, Critical Theory, four courses from language and linguistics, and four electives.

Ball State University

Ball State University, also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, offers an M.A. in Linguistics through its English Department. Students must complete a minimum of forty-five hours for this master's degree. The program requirements for this degree include Introduction to Theories of Language Learning, Methods for Teaching English Language Learners, Materials fro Teaching English Language Learners, Meaning and Structure in English, Phonetics and Phonology, Issues in Second Language Acquisition, Morphology and Syntax, Sociolinguistics, Research in English Studies, five electives, and a research paper.

Career Outlook

Students who complete a degree in linguistics can find work in a wide range of fields such as anthropology, consulting, market research, law, writing, and, of course, education. Within the field of education, individuals who hold an English studies degree with a concentration in linguistics can work with both native and non-native English speakers in public and private schools, colleges and universities, public and private language institutes, and libraries. The potential salary for holders of this degree varies widely depending on the specific job and location. Students who complete a linguistics English studies degree can also pursue a PhD in an area of language or linguistics.

Earning a master's in English studies with a concentration in linguistics is a great option for students who wish to study language with an interdisciplinary approach.


  • Association of English Departments: https://www.ade.org/
  • Department of English at Illinois State University – Graduate Program – Master's in English: https://english.illinoisstate.edu/grad/mastersInEnglish.shtml
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne – Master of Arts English M.A.: https://bulletin.ipfw.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=11&poid=2088&bc=1
  • Linguistics Graduate Programs, Ball State University: https://www.bsu.edu/shapps/english/graduate/gradling_requirements.htm#MAinLing
  • What Can You Do with a College Degree in Linguistics?: https://www.worldwidelearn.com/online-education-guide/social-science/linguistics-major.htm
  • What Is English Studies?: https://english.illinoisstate.edu/home/whatisenglishstudies.shtml

This post is part of the series: Graduate Programs in Linguistics

This series discusses graduate programs in linguistics including degrees in English studies with linguistics emphasis and degrees in linguistics.
  1. Pursuing an English Studies Master’s Degree with a Concentration in Linguistics