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 language 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 committed to mentoring graduate students both at the Master’s and PhD levels.

MLC students can take classes that are taught by any of faculty in the Linguistics Department. Your “core courses” in sociolinguistics are 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. The MLC Career Talk Series brings 3-4 speakers every semester to talk about how they use their linguistic training in their career in business, government, nonprofit or tech organizations. The Annual Linguistics Career Mixer introduces students to panels of linguists working across sectors to learn about job opportunities for linguists.
  • Advising. The MLC Director holds regular individual student meetings every semester which involve tailored academic and 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. And don’t be intimidated by Linguistics! Linguists are people who like to solve puzzles about language, uncover patterns in the way people speak and interact, and are curious about how people do things with language–which is almost everything.

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 introductory courses in all areas of Linguistics that will prepare you for the remaining coursework. All of the courses will provide enough background to understand the course material.

Whether you are unsure about your research and professional interests–or if you have a very specific idea of what you want to do–the MLC will help you plan your next steps 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). Note that these 6 credits of thesis research carry no tuition charge).

Yes. You will work with the MLC Director 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.

Unfortunately, as of academic year 2022-2023, the Linguistics Department has no internal funding or tuition scholarships to award to Master’s students. You can read through a list of funding sources for graduate students on our main Department website, which contains a mixture of opportunities for Master’s and doctoral students.

For more information about financial assistance, please visit the Office of Student Financial services and follow the links for graduate students.

Please email Dr. Alexandra Johnston, MLC Director, or Erin Esch Pereira, Graduate Program Coordinator.