Master's Program

The linguistics program is one of the concentrations of the MA in English offered through the NC State English Department.

The MA concentration in linguistics at NC State has gained a national and international reputation as one of the outstanding sociolinguistic programs in the nation. Within four years of its inception, the program was cited in The Real Guide to Graduate School (Lingua Franca, 1997) as one of the top five sociolinguistic programs in North America. NC State is the only MA-level program in the list, which includes well-established, longstanding PhD programs in sociolinguistics such as the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University.

The graduate M.A. program requires 15 semester hours in linguistics out of a 33 semester-hour requirement for a Master of Arts in English and a research thesis.


(32 credits)*

Distribution Requirements (6 credits)
  • Any 2 literature courses

Concentration Requirements (24 credits)
  • 5 courses in linguistics
  • 3 electives

Research (3 credits)
  • ENG 676: Master's Project in English (at least 3 credits)

Further Requirements
  • Reading competency in 1 foreign language
  • Oral defense of thesis or presentation of capstone project

Must have:

• At least 32 credit hours in total
• Permission of Concentration Director

Erik Thomas
Walt Wolfram

*Teaching assistants are required to enroll for additional credits that do not count toward the degree.

More information about assistantships can be found at the Master's Degree Admissions page.

MA Requirement Planning

Download a planning sheet to help keep track of your progress in completing the Master's requirements:

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Protocol for M.A. Capstone in the Linguistics Concentration

In the semester preceding the one in which the student wishes to defend his or her M.A. Capstone, the student should consult with faculty members in the Linguistics Concentration to recruit a capstone advisor who will oversee the project. Brooke Gangi has a form that needs to be filled out and signed by the student and advisor.

The student should then consult with the advisor of his or her project and establish a timetable for completion of individual chapters of the capstone and of the capstone as a whole. A recommended length for a capstone project is 30-50 pages. During the writing of the capstone, the student should give individual chapters to the advisor to see drafts of each chapter. At least two weeks (10 working days) prior to the date of the presentation, the student will turn in a draft of the entire capstone to his or her advisor. The advisor will return this draft (with comments) in a week's time. The student will then distribute a re-revised draft to the advisor at least three days prior to the date of the presentation.

The student will then present the results of the capstone project at the Graduate Symposium along with other capstone projects. The symposium will be scheduled during the final exam period following each semester or summer session. Students will offer 15-20 minute presentations during which they will summarize the intellectual and/or creative merits of their capstone essays or projects. A brief (5-10 minutes) question and answer period will follow each presentation.


Graduate School calendar

M.A. Capstone project guide

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