Master of Arts (MA)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

The Linguistics graduate program offered by the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures trains researchers in the core areas of theoretical linguistics—such as syntax, semantics, phonology, phonetics and morphology—as well as in language acquisition, historical linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Students take six courses and are expected to complete an MA thesis based on their original research within two years. Students benefit from a low student-to-faculty ratio that ensures personalized attention to each student's academic needs and research goals. Students are guaranteed funding for $20,000/year for two years, and our MA graduates regularly place in top PhD programs around the world.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: An introductory course, a thesis research course, Advanced Syntactical Analysis and Advanced Phonological Analysis.
  • Language: Knowledge of a language other than English demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Graduate Studies Committee.
  • Additional Courses: Topics may include semantics, morphology, language acquisition, historical linguistics, quantitative modelling and others.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original thesis.


Linguistics MA graduates also have the skills to pursue a variety of non-academic career paths. Students interested in the computational side of linguistics may work on speech recognition, speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing or computer-mediated language learning. Students interested in language education may teach English as a Second language or develop educational materials, train language teachers, or work on assessment methods for more effectively teaching language. Linguists may also work in translation or interpretation. Field linguists work on the preservation of endangered languages by conducting fieldwork, documenting a language, or establishing literacy programs for endangered language communities. Linguists also work in speech-language pathology, audiology, publishing, law, national security, medicine, editing, market research, and the film industry.

A master’s degree in linguistics will give you the pre-requisite for a PhD in linguistics.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Four core courses and two electives

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two years full-time; four years maximum; part-time available


A supervisor is required; potential supervisors must be listed when applying to the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Placeholder Profile Image

    Angeliki Athanasopoulou

    Seeking Students
    Child Language Acquisition, Laboratory Phonology
  2. Darin Flynn

    Darin Flynn

    Accepting Inquiries
    Phonology, Canadian Indigenous languages
  3. Placeholder Profile Image

    Amanda Pounder

    Accepting Inquiries
    morphological theory, historical linguistics
  4. Placeholder Profile Image

    Elizabeth Ritter

    Accepting Inquiries
    Syntax, Morpho-syntax, Hebrew, Blackfoot
  5. Dimitrios Skordos

    Dimitrios Skordos

    Seeking Students
    First Language Acquisition - Semantics/Pragmatics
  6. Dennis Ryan Storoshenko

    Dennis Ryan Storoshenko

    Accepting Inquiries
    Syntax, Experimental Syntax/Semantics
  7. Stephen Winters

    Stephen Winters

    Accepting Inquiries
    Phonetics, Speech Perception

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

Significant undergraduate training in linguistics, normally including at least one course in syntax and one course in phonology.

Work samples

A sample of previous work in linguistics or a related field (e.g., an Honours undergraduate thesis, or a course paper).


A statement of purpose specifying the applicant’s research interests and reasons for wishing to pursue a Master of Arts degree at the University of Calgary

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency (ELP)

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1

January 15 application deadline for applications and supporting materials

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures

Craigie Hall, Room D 310
University of Calgary (Main Campus)
2940 University Way NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website

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