Course Offerings


The MLC offers a uniquely designed, tailored program of study for every student. MLC students can choose between two different paths through the program:

  • 30 credits (10 courses) of coursework
  • 24 credits (8 courses) of coursework and a Master’s Thesis (6 credits of thesis research)

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 at least a Bachelor’s in Linguistics, but coursework in these areas is encouraged.

LING 401: General Linguistics
LING 410: Phonetics
LING 411: Phonology
LING 427: Syntax I
LING 431: 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 core courses. These courses cultivate essential (a) methodological, (b) theoretical, and (c) analytical competencies in sociolinguistics. Some popular courses that fulfill this part of the curriculum include but are not limited to:

LING 481: Sociolinguistic Variation
LING 483: Discourse Analysis: Narrative
LING 484: Discourse Analysis: Conversation
LING 496: Intercultural Communication
LING 571: Sociolinguistic Field Methods

Note that course offerings vary semester to semester, and are subject to change. 

The remainder of the program of study is composed of courses from across the Linguistics Department. The Department offers graduate courses in all areas of Linguistics, including theoretical, applied, computational, and sociolinguistic offerings. Students have an opportunity to deepen their expertise in one area (e.g. discourse analysis), gain a secondary specialization (e.g. in computational linguistics), or gain a broad understanding of the discipline as a whole. The Linguistics Department’s course offerings vary from year to year. Some popular courses include:

LING 361: Metaphor & Social Change
LING 401: Forensic Linguistics
LING 405: Discourse of Social Media
LING 414: Sociophonetics
LING 444: Discourse, Identity & Narrative
LING 447: American Dialects
LING 496: Intercultural Communication
LING 589: Institutional Discourse

LING 350: Language Testing
LING 422: Communication, Culture and Study Abroad
LING 479: Language Policy
LING 494: Task-Based Language Teaching
LING 553: Second Language Acquisition & Bilingualism

LING 362: Intro to Natural Language Processing
LING 367: Computational Corpus Linguistics
LING 464: Social Factors in Computational Linguistics
LING 469: Analyzing Language Data with R

LING 408: Ancient Egyptian
LING 410: Phonetics

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 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.

MLC students must be approved to pursue the thesis option. By the end of their first year in the program, students 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. The following are some of the MA theses to come from the MLC program in recent years:

“The Professionalization Seminar changed my life. It gave me a framework for presenting myself, the vocabulary and how to use it in organizing a job search. Not only that, but being able to be reflective and take a moment to figure out what you are passionate about, what you actually want to do.  I feel like you go through college thinking that you have a major and you have to fit a cookie cutter, but this class gives you a chance to make it work for you!”

— Renee Tomlin (MLC ’11)

The MLC Professionalization Seminar is a unique professional development course, designed exclusively for linguistsics graduate students. The course is designed to help students figure out where the skills and training that they are acquiring in their classes are needed and valued professionally. It is also designed to help students learn about what motivates them, to uncover values around work, and ultimately to enact the shift to an active professional stance from “What should I do?” to “Here’s what I can do!”

See an example of a student’s final portfolio of items from the Proseminar, Spring 2013

The class is structured as a dynamic mix of lecture, discussion, and activity-based interaction. Students develop an understanding of professional applications of sociolinguistics through readings, lectures and presentations by guest lecturers who themselves engage with the question of combining sociolinguistic theory and practice. Students select a field of professional interest on which to focus for the duration of the course, reflecting on and practicing applications of their training to said field. Students develop targeted portfolio materials (e.g. resume, cover letter, elevator pitch, online portfolio) to be applied to a current or future job search. Students network at professional events, attend Career Fairs and conduct informational interviews to practice the skill of clearly articulating where their skills and training combine with their interests and values in a chosen workplace setting.