MASTER OF ARTS
LING 400 (Introduction to General Linguistics), 520 (Linguistic Phonetics), 523 (Phonological Theory I), 530 (Syntactic Theory I), one course from among 525 (Historical Linguistics), 528 (Language Acquisition), and 537 (Semantic Theory I), plus four elective courses in linguistics or related areas, as approved by the student's advisor, plus three hours of thesis credit, for a total of 30 hours. Note: Students are expected to complete their non-elective courses during their first year. This schedule qualifies students to take their comprehensive exam and to be considered for a linguistics teaching assistantship by their third semester. Deviations from it are therefore strongly discouraged.
Foreign Language Requirements
Reading knowledge of one foreign language. This requirement may be met in one of three ways.
(1) By passing the Graduate Student Foreign Language Test, given each November and April by the Departments of Romance Languages and Germanic Languages (for precise dates call or write Ms. Leslie Van Meter at email@example.com; for a registration form go directly to http://gradschool.unc.edu/gflpa.html).
(2) Where available, by passing the reading courses for graduate students numbered 601 and 602 (note that these courses do not earn graduate credit). Note: students with some prior experience may find it feasible to meet the requirement by enrolling directly in and passing 602, bypassing 601.
(3) Where neither option (1) or (2) is available students may arrange to have their competence certified by a qualified faculty member, usually through an informal examination.
During the semester following completion of the non-elective courses (which should be the Fall term of the second year), students will form an examining committee of three faculty members in the department. It is expected that this committee will also serve as the MA thesis committee. The student will submit a prospectus of the MA thesis, as described below. The oral examination will assess the student's mastery of topics from the first year sequence of coursework and gauge the merits of the prospectus.
The master's thesis (normally 50-100 pages in length) must be approved by a committee of the thesis director plus two other faculty members at the oral comprehensive exam. Students form their thesis committee with the advice of their advisor, who may (but need not) be the thesis director. At the comprehensive oral exam for the MA, the department requires that students submit a prospectus of the thesis. The prospectus should state clearly what problem is to be investigated, how the investigation is to be carried out (written research, field work, experiment, etc.), and a preliminary bibliography. The prospectus should first be discussed with the thesis director. Students should then submit a 'clean' version to all three committee members and set up a meeting with the examining committee. Students are also expected to consult their thesis director regularly during the actual writing of the thesis. Formal requirements regarding the format and submission of the MA thesis are found in the Guide to the Preparation of Theses, available from the Graduate School (this is essential reading).
Final Oral Examination
This exam, administered by the thesis committee, focuses on a defense of the thesis, but the faculty reserves the right to question students on other relevant topics. Students should avoid scheduling a thesis defense during the summer, since faculty members are often not available. If it is absolutely unavoidable, students should consult committee members well in advance.
Important Degree Deadlines
Each year the Graduate School sets deadlines for graduation in a given term (fall, spring, summer). There are two sets of dates to watch out for:
(1) Students wishing to graduate must obtain an Application to Graduate. These documents must be submitted in advance: typically July for August graduation, February for May graduation, and October for December graduation, but official dates will be posted on the Registrar's Calendar. There is no penalty for failure to complete requirements for a requested graduation date, but one cannot graduate without having submitted the Application to Graduate. Therefore, students should submit it in time for any semester in which they feel they may graduate.
(2) The final electronic version of the thesis or dissertation must be submitted to the Graduate School before the student can graduate (http://gradschool.unc.edu/etdguide/submission.html). The deadline for submission is shortly before graduation; please see the Registrar's Calendar for current dates.