Program Requirements


The MLC provides students with general skills in Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis and Pragmatics, teaching them how to use these skills to resolve concrete problems in workplace settings, institutions and professions that depend largely upon language to accomplish their goals. The foundation for the skills is acquired through our required courses and electives. Students may complete the coursework for the program (depending on choice of curricular option and number of courses per semester) in one academic year. The program has two different options for completion:

  • 8 courses (24 credits) and Master’s Thesis
  • 10 courses (30 credits)


• General Linguistics (sound, form, and meaning). Students with no significant background in linguistics should register for one of the following courses in their first year. Course selection should be made in consultation with the advisor. (This requirement may be waived for students with a linguistics background, but coursework in these areas is encouraged.)

LING 401: General Linguistics
LING 410: Phonetics
LING 411: Phonology
LING 427: Syntax I
LING 485: Cognitive Grammar
LING 531: Semantics & Pragmatics I

• LING 478: MLC Proseminar. This is a professionalization course designed to illustrate how to use linguistics in professional contexts. Offered in the Spring semester. Student participation is required in professional development events throughout the year.

• 3 additional “core” courses, which cultivate methodological, theoretical, and core analytical competencies (in sociolinguistics including variation analysis or discourse analysis) to be selected from the following (note that course offerings are subject to change and that equivalent courses may be substituted):

LING 481: Sociolinguistic Variation
LING 483: Discourse Analysis: Narrative
LING 484: Discourse Analysis: Conversation
LING 495: Ethnography of Communication
LING 496: Intercultural Communication
LING 570: Introduction to Sociolinguistics
LING 571: Sociolinguistic Field Methods

3- 5 courses (depending on Master’s Thesis option), to be selected from the above list (with permission from advisor) or from other courses in the Linguistics Department, including but not limited to:

LING 352: Foundations of Education
LING 355: Language in the USA
LING 367: Computational Corpus Linguistics
LING 380: Language and Politics
LING 385: Language and Multimedia Discourse
LING 387: Language, Culture, and Thought
LING 402: Forensic Linguistics
LING 403: Language and the Law
LING 405: Language and Social Media
LING 445: Language Contact
LING 447: American Dialects
LING 454: Linguistics and Reading
LING 584: Statistics for Linguistics Research
LING 583: Intertextuality
LING 586: Language and Identity
LING 589 Institutional Discourse

Alternative courses that reflect the needs and interests of individual students may be selected under the guidance of the faculty advisor. They may include courses in the Linguistics Department and other departments or schools within Georgetown, as well as courses at area universities (e.g. American, George Mason, George Washington) through the Washington Area Consortium of Universities.

Master’s thesis

MLC students must be approved to pursue the thesis option. By the end of the academic year prior to graduation, you will submit a thesis request form. If approved, the student must submit a proposal to their mentor and to the Graduate School. The thesis will be mentored by the faculty adviser with or without additional readers. Upon completion, the Master’s Thesis must be deposited in the Graduate School.

You will want to ask someone who is familiar with your work, and whose general interests are in line with those of your project. You are only required to have one mentor (reader) for your thesis, but if you would like to have more than one person as reader, you are able to do so (just be sure to discuss this with your mentor). If this person is not a full member of the Linguistics Department faculty you will need to fill out a student request form.

Most students take a full academic year to write the thesis. Ideally, you will want to chose a mentor and be meeting with your mentor about your project ideas and preparing the year before you are planning to submit your thesis. You need to be fully registered and enrolled in classes the semester that you deposit your thesis. If you are finished with courses, this means that you will enroll in Thesis Research (LING 999). Since deadlines vary year by year, students can refer to the department and the GU Academic Calendar. Click here for university due dates.