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Combination BA/MA Degree

Linguistics offers a program that enables undergraduate Linguistics majors to obtain a BA and an MA in five years. This program is designed to provide academically talented students an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a shorter period of time. The combination degree program reduces the cost of both degrees. The program provides students with the intellectual tools needed for success in a wide variety of careers, as well as a background for moving onto a PhD program in linguistics or related fields.

Students enter the 4/1 program at the beginning of the senior year, completing 12 regular graduate credits (four courses, listed below). The BA is awarded at the end of senior year (after completing BA requirements). Students then enter the graduate program the following Fall semester.

In the fifth year, students take 12 regular graduate credit hours in each academic semester. The quality of graduate training that the students receive is commensurate with that of a graduate student who enters our MA program after obtaining a BA at another institution. Each student is assigned a faculty mentor/supervisor and one other faculty member who together constitute the student’s supervisory committee.

Because this is a graduate degree, regulations and requirements of the Department and the Graduate School apply. See for department-specific degree requirements. In particular, students must take and pass the Comprehensive Exams at the beginning of their fifth year. They must also demonstrate working knowledge of a foreign language equivalent to two years of university study. Students can choose either a thesis MA or a non-thesis MA.

Since students in the 4/1 program have a graduate classification, those receiving undergraduate scholarships or Pell grants should check with the provider of the funding to make sure that they will not lose eligibility.

Admission to the program is competitive. All students wishing to be considered for admission apply to the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee by February 15 of the spring semester of their Junior Year for Fall admission of the same year. The Committee especially considers the students’ performance in upper division linguistics courses. The application packet should include GRE scores, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and optionally, a writing sample. After a thorough review, the Committee will extend offers to the most qualified students by April 1. Admitted students need to complete a combination degree request form, available at In order for admitted students to continue in the program after receiving their BA, they must have earned a 3.5 average in the four 5000 or 6000 level courses taken in their senior year. In Fall or Spring of their senior year, they must also apply to the MA Linguistics program through Graduate College before the April 1st final deadline. 

The structure of the program is as follows:

SemesterRecommended Coursework
4 (Spring)LIN 3010
5 (Fall)LIN 3201, LIN 3460
1 LIN 4000-level class
Take GRE
6 (Spring)Apply to 4/1 by February 15
3 LIN 4000-level classes
7 (Fall)Enter 4/1
LIN 6323 (Phonology)
LIN 6501 (Syntax)
8 (Spring)LIN 6402 (Morphology)
LIN 6084 (Grad Research)
Obtain BA degree (33 LIN credits)
9 (Fall)Enter Graduate School
Take Comprehensive Exams (August)
Form graduate committee

9 credits: Depth courses & LIN 6165/LIN 6571
3 credits: Graduate electives
10 (Spring)12 credits: (non-)Thesis coursework, Graduate electives
Obtain MA degree (36 credits)

Total: 36 Graduate hours and 33 undergraduate hours (12 hours shared).

36 credits total for MA:

  • 12 credits: Core (Syntax, Phonology, Morphology, Introduction to Graduate Research)
  • 6 credits: 2 Depth courses
  • 3 credits: Either LIN6571 Structure of a Specific Language or LIN 6165 Field Methods
  • 15 credits: Electives, LIN 6971 Master’s research (for MA thesis candidates)

Questions about this program should be referred to either the Undergraduate Coordinator or the Graduate Coordinator.