MA Program

Credits and Courses

Students admitted to the master’s program earn the degree by completing a minimum of 30 credits of graduate coursework, submitting a final project, and passing an oral examination on the final project. Students who demonstrate a capacity for doctoral work and wish to earn a PhD at UWM are advised to proceed as rapidly as possible to doctoral status. No more than 30 credits earned at the master’s level may be included in the 54 credits required for the PhD.

Effective Summer Semester 2013, the MA program requires a minimum of 30 graduate credits.

The 30 credits are distributed as follows:

  • 18 credits in required courses covering core areas of linguistics:
    • Linguis 715 – First Language Acquisition (or)
      Linguis 720 – Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
    • Linguis 750 – Introduction to Phonetics
    • Linguis 761 – Introduction to Phonology
    • Linguis 764 – Introduction to Syntax
    • Linguis 755 – Semantics
    • Linguis 768 – Language in its Various Forms (or)
      Linguis 770 – Historical/Comparative Linguistics
  • 12 elective credits distributed among 400- to 800-level courses in linguistics and related fields as approved by the student’s major professor

Students who completed any of the required courses as undergraduates will substitute another course selected in consultation with their major professor.

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a Major Professor to advise and supervise the student’s work as specified in Graduate School regulations. The director of graduate studies serves as an initial advisor. It is recommended that the student have a permanent advisor by the end of the second semester of enrollment.

Final Project

A research paper or other project appropriate to the student’s professional goals, to be defended in an individualized oral examination.

  • Final project. The project is a research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor; for students specializing in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners, the project may take some other form as approved by the major professor.
  • Oral examination. The oral examination, usually lasting an hour and a half, focuses on the final project but also covers other elements of the student’s program of study.

Regulations concerning final projects and oral examinations

  1. Students should consult with their advisors before completing 24 credits in order to determine a final project. Ordinarily, this is a revised and expanded course or seminar paper of at least 30 pages. The project should demonstrate the student’s skills in research, analysis and argumentation. For students specializing in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners, the project may consist of documentation of the outcome of a pedagogical investigation undertaken during the student’s internship. The project serves both as a concluding effort at the master’s level and as an indication of the student’s potential for doctoral study.
  2. In consultation with the student, the Director of Graduate Studies appoints an MA Examining Committee. At least two of the three members must be Linguistics Department faculty members. The MA Examining Committee administers the final Oral Examination.
  3. The project must be submitted and the oral examination completed within one year after the completion of 24 credits. Students should remember that a maximum of 30 credits at the master’s level is applicable to the PhD 54 credit requirement.
  4. Students who express intent to go on for the PhD are evaluated by the MA Examining Committee regarding their qualifications for further graduate study at the doctoral level. The Committee Chair puts the Committee’s recommendation in writing and places it in the student’s academic file.
  5. Students who fail the oral examination may be required to revise their final project, retake the examination, or both. The oral examination may be retaken only once. Students must register for 1-3 credits when revising the final project after a failed examination; however, the additional credit(s) may not count toward the 30 credits required for the degree.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Graduate Grievance Procedures

Federal law and UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.