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Graduate Study

Master's Program in Linguistics (MA)


Students with a four-year Bachelor's degree in Linguistics (or equivalent) are eligible for admission to the one-year MA.

Introductory-level courses in phonetics, phonology, syntax and semantics (equivalent to our LIN228H1, 229H1, 232H1, and 241H1; without these four courses students cannot be admitted to a graduate program. Several other courses in linguistics are needed; courses in current phonology and syntax equivalent to LIN322H1 and LIN333H1 are recommended.

In exceptional cases, a student may be allowed to take one of these required courses during the one-year MA, provided that the student does not plan to write a Forum paper in this area.

The department also offers a two-year MA to very exceptional students from universities whose programs we are familiar with, but who lack a strong background in linguistics due to a lack of courses at their home university. More often, however, we recommend that such a student take the courses required for admission to the one-year MA as a special student, either at the University of Toronto or elsewhere. Please note that a student in the first year of a two-year MA does not qualify for the University of Toronto's graduate funding guarantee.

The MA Program

Course Work

The one-year MA program consists of four full course equivalents. Courses required for completion of the masters degree include Field Methods (JAL 1145H1), Intermediate Phonology (LIN 1121H1), Intermediate Syntax (LIN 1131H1), Analysis and Argumentation (LIN 1181H1), and Linguistic Forum (LIN 1290Y), or their equivalents.

Students who have already taken any of these courses at the undergraduate level must select other graduate courses to bring the total to four full course equivalents.

For students in the two-year MA, LIN 1121H1, 1131H1, and 1181H1 are normally to be completed in the first year, while LIN 1290Y must be taken in the final year of registration in the program. Other courses are chosen by the student in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator and the advisor.


Each MA student will be assigned an advisor by the Graduate Coordinator, based on the student's interests and the available faculty advisors. The advisor will supervise the writing of the Forum paper. Students in the two-year MA are assigned an advisor in the second year.

Forum (LIN 1290Y)

In the Forum, each MA student in the final year of the program prepares an original research paper. The paper must display scholarly merit, originality, and a knowledge of the topic. Each student works closely with an advisor in preparing this paper. The course meets on a regular basis and each student is expected to make a series of presentations on his/her topic over the course of the year.

Language Requirements

In addition to coursework, all students must demonstrate an ability to read professionally in one language other than English. The choice of language is to be approved by the Graduate Coordinator as being relevant to the student's field of research. With the approval of the graduate unit, students may show demonstrated competence in computer programming in lieu of the language requirement.

Students seeking counselling and information should contact the Graduate Coordinator.