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Online PhD in Applied Linguistics: Program Overviews

Find out about online applied linguistics courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Although online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in this subject are rare to nonexistent, online master's degree programs in linguistics are more common, which are available as a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics or a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Students could also choose to pursue an online Ph.D. in a related subject, like English as a Second Language, which is offered at some for-profit schools.

Applicants may need to hold a bachelor's degree in applied linguistics or a related field of study; teaching experience and certifications may be a prerequisite as well. These programs provide advanced knowledge and research in cultural and ideological concepts in language acquisition, culminating in a thesis project.

Master's Degree in Applied Linguistics

Master's degree programs in applied linguistics are interdisciplinary programs designed to provide practical skills and theoretical concepts in the area of language acquisition. Students research teaching methodologies and language styles used to teach English to speakers of other languages. They also explore the psychological and sociological aspects of applied linguistics. The cultural and ideological methodologies that govern the acquisition of language are also investigated.

Information and Requirements

Applicants typically must hold a bachelor's degree in linguistics or a related discipline from an accredited college or university. Some institutions may require students to have a teaching certificate or professional experience in the linguistics field. Some programs are completed using a cohort model; meaning groups of students take the same courses with the same group throughout the entire program. A thesis or field experience is generally required to complete the degree program.

Accessing online classes requires students to have a computer with word processing software, as well as a high-speed Internet connection. Online courses are viewed using online learning management systems, such as Blackboard. Students interact with professors and classmates through chat rooms and message boards.

Common Coursework

Graduate students examine current issues in linguistics and second language studies. They gain advanced knowledge of the philosophies and theories that determine how languages are taught and learned.

Second Language Teaching Theories and Principles

In this online course, students are provided with an overview of teaching English as a second language. They examine the major approaches to teaching through the discussion of linguistic, sociological and psychological issues and their relation to language teaching practices.

History and Structure of the English Language

Students examine the grammatical structures of the English language. They trace the history and development of the English language from Old English to present day. Topics cover phonology and syntax of the English language, along with common difficulties that non-English speaking students have learning the English language.

Sociological and Psychological Viewpoints of Language

This online course explores the relationship between language and society. Students analyze the social, political and cultural concepts that define language development and identity.


Career Information for Grads

Graduates of a master's program are generally qualified for advanced positions in teaching through the government or in private organizations. Job titles may include English teacher or linguist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast job growth of 10%, about the same as the average for all occupations, for postsecondary teachers English language and literature teachers, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Postsecondary English language and literature teachers earned a mean annual wage of $71,210 as of May 2015.

While students will have a hard time finding Ph.D. level programs in applied linguistics online, they should be able to enroll in online master's level programs, which are available in the applied linguistics discipline or with a focus in TESOL. For graduates seeking positions as college level professors, they face a favorable job market.

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