Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

This M.A. program is uniquely designed to find professional applications for the study of language and communication. It features an individualized curriculum to develop skills in linguistics, focusing on sociolinguistics and its applications. MLC students have the opportunity to sub-specialize in an additional area of Linguistics, or to draw broadly from many approaches to shape their program of study. 

Additionally, MLC students participate in professional socialization events and career education activities targeted for linguists, designed to enable them to better articulate how their skills and training are of particular value in workplace settings, institutions, and professions which depend largely upon language to accomplish their goals.

Georgetown Linguistics is one of the oldest, largest, and most diverse Linguistics departments in the discipline. Since 1949, we have been committed to the broad and deep study of languge in all its forms. Our world class faculty specialize in all areas of linguistics, including Sociolinguistics, Applied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics Phonetics, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics and Historical Linguistics. Research opportunities for students, within and outside the classroom context, are available, and faculty are particularly comitted to mentoring graduate students both at the Master’s and PhD levels.

Courses are taught by faculty in the Linguistics Department. Your more specialized courses in sociolinguistics will be taught by the sociolinguistics faculty. Faculty from other Georgetown programs, departments and schools, and local experts from the Washington D.C. community also teach and participate actively in our curriculum. Visit the Georgetown Linguistics Faculty page for more information about our faculty.

Professional socialization, advising, and coursework are three pillars of the MLC.

  • Events. Throughout the year, MLC students participate in professional socialization and career education events targeted for linguists. 
  • Advising. The MLC Director holds regular individual student meetings which involve tailored career development and mentoring. 
  • Coursework. The MLC proseminar course, held in the Spring, is designed to enable students to better realize their professional goals. Students develop tailored materials articulating how their skills and training are of particular value in the workplace settings of their choosing (for example, resumes and questions for informational interviews).

Joining the MLC: How, Who and When?

No, not at all. But don’t be intimidated by Linguistics! Basically, linguists are people who like to solve puzzles about language and are curious about how language is part of how people think, act, and interact.

If you haven’t had any prior courses in Linguistics (or if you want to be reminded of what you did learn), the MA provides a introductory courses in all areas of Linguistics that will prepare you for the remaining coursework. All of the courses will provide enough linguistic background to understand the course material.

If you are unsure about your research and professional interests, or have a very specific idea of what you want to do, the MLC will certainly help you carve out a path for after graduation.

There are two options for completion of degree. How long it takes you to finish depends on various factors: which option you choose, how many courses you take each semester, and whether you are employed while taking coursework. Full-time students typically complete the program in two academic years (four semesters). Part-time students typically complete the program in no more than three academic years (six semesters). 

  • Option (1) is to take 30 credits (10 courses) of coursework. 
  • Option (2) is to take 24 credits of coursework (8 courses) and write a Master’s Thesis (6 credits of thesis research).

Yes. You will work with your advisor to determine your program of study. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires that part-time students complete their degrees in three academic years, or six semesters.

A small number of merit-based partial tuition scholarships are awarded to MLC students each semester, on the basis of faculty recommendation for outstanding performance in coursework. 

Note that the Linguistics Department does not award ongoing tuition scholarships or assistantships at the Master’s level. 

For more information about financial assistance, please visit the webpage of the Office of Student Financial services.

You can contact Dr. Alexandra Johnston (MLC Director), or Erin Esch Pereira (the Department’s Graduate Program Coordinator).