Students interested in a graduate diploma in applied linguistics can earn a master's degree in the field. M.A. in Applied Linguistics programs can help students discover techniques for teaching English to non-native speakers. These programs are about four years in length and usually include a thesis or capstone project and may require the completion of a practicum. Graduates may go on to conduct further research in the field of language and linguistics, teach language to students at elementary and secondary schools, teach adult education courses, or work as community educators.
Applicants typically hold a baccalaureate degree in linguistics, a foreign language, English, sociology, anthropology, or psychology. They need a grade point average of at least 3.0 and are often required to pass the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Master's Degree Programs in Applied Linguistics
Coursework explores both the theoretical and practical nature of language acquisition. Some examples of core graduate courses in the subject include:
- Theoretical linguistics
- Basic applied linguistics
- ESL methodologies
- Ethnographic research methods
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a master's degree program in applied linguistics might go on to serve in a few different positions related to the field. Some of these include:
- Language arts teacher
- Professional translator
- ESL teacher
- Community educator
- Linguistics researcher
- Applied linguistics consultant
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
With some additional training, graduates of linguistics master's programs can also become interpreters or translators. Job growth in this field is expected to reach 29% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is notably faster than average. During this time, strong employment prospects will likely result from an increasingly diverse domestic population, as well as an increase in globalization. As of 2015, interpreters and translators earned a median of $44,190 per year, reports the BLS.
The most common type of advanced degree program available for graduates of a master's program in linguistics is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Linguistics. Another degree option is the Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics, which is focused on academic study of language, as opposed to the practical application of applied linguistics. A Ph.D. in the field is often composed of at least five years of advanced study into one particular aspect of the language acquisition field. This area of focus is determined by the student and can usually cover any part of the linguistics or applied linguistics field, with topics ranging from teaching English to multilingual adults to the significance of hand gestures in casual conversation. Graduates of these programs have an advanced background in the nature and philosophy of language and often go on to careers in academia as professors or researchers.
Students interested in applied linguistics can earn a master's degree that prepares them for teaching or researching language. Graduates can pursue doctorate programs and expect positive job growth in the field of interpreting and translating.