Students may seek an M.A. in Linguistics either as their terminal degree or as a prerequisite for the Ph.D program in Linguistics. However, students should note that successful completion of the M.A. program does not guarantee entry into the Ph.D. program; students must also submit a Ph.D. application portfolio which must be reviewed and approved by the Linguistics faculty.

The M.A. program is appropriate for students seeking linguistic knowledge as a foundation for work in such allied professional fields as language teaching, interpreter education, language planning, bilingual education, and language assessment. Graduates of this program are sought for positions in interpreter training programs, faculty teaching posts at the college level, or, given the appropriate educational background, for positions as teachers of deaf children.

Students pursuing the M.A. in Linguistics at Gallaudet receive solid grounding in linguistic theory, methods, and research with a special emphasis on sign language linguistics. The program begins with foundational courses in linguistic theory, centered on phonology, cognitive linguistics and generative linguistics, focusing on both spoken and signed languages. Additionally, students receive training in working with new sign languages (Field Methods) and in various professional skills related to being a linguist (e.g. linguistic technical writing, use of video and software resources for analyzing sign data, applying for doctoral programs and jobs). In their second year, students select five elective courses out of a set of seven advanced courses according to their interests. Topics vary from year to year. The M.A. program requires 41 credit hours of coursework. Full-time graduate students normally complete the program in four semesters (fall and spring semesters).

*NOTE: Students with prior coursework in linguistics from another institution may request course transfers and/or waivers for one or more courses, but these requests are approved on a case by case basis by the linguistics faculty.

For the program of study and requirements for the MA in Linguistics, click here and view left-hand menu, "M.A. Linguistics"


  • Completed application form. See Application Instructions to learn how.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $75.
  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a four-point scale) in all previous undergraduate and graduate study. (Occasionally, applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be admitted conditionally upon the recommendation of the department.)
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate study, including evidence of having received a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. (Those applying during their final undergraduate year will be required to submit a final transcript after completion of their bachelor's degree and before enrolling in their first semester of graduate study.) See Application Guidelines and FAQ for more information.
  • Official transcripts of all graduate study. See Application Guidelines and FAQ for more information.
  • Goals statement. See Application Guidelines for more information.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • TOEFL is required from all international applicants from non-English speaking countries. (Use 5240 for the ETS institutional code)

Additional Program Requirements

  • Written English sample – Submit a PDF version of a final course paper that is at least 10 pages long. A paper from a linguistics course or related field is preferred.
  • ASL sample. – Students will be given a short (3 ½ minute) video of an academic presentation given in ASL and asked to record themselves summarizing the presentation. The summary will be 90 seconds or less. Here is the link to the ASL Signing Sample Prompt.

To respond to goal statement question in ASL, go to the ASL version of the goal statement questions for the Linguistics Department.


  • First Date for Best Consideration of Application: January 15
  • Last Date for Completed Application: February 15, or until all possible slots are filled.

Direct YouTube Links:

ASL Signing Sample Prompt:

Goal Statement Questions: