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MA in Linguistics: ESL at the University of South Florida

Applied linguistics and language teaching, in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF, are disciplines we explore by connecting theory, research, and practice. We use linguistic science to help answer real life problems. We are especially interested in solving problems related to culture, second language acquisition, and language teaching. 

Our MA is distinctive in how we balance theory and practice. So, if you want to learn "how to," you will learn the nuts and bolts of teaching in our program. And if you want to know "when" and "why" you might also find our program a good option.


Contents


Who are our MA students? 
Some of our students come to us from counties near the Tampa Bay area. Others have moved to the Sunshine State for our MA degree. We also have students from around the world come to study in our program. 

Many of our students already possess considerable experience as language teachers -- whether in the public or private sector -- but this experience is not a requirement. Novices and experts both benefit from graduate studies with us. 

Many of our students enter the field because they love learning languages; our program welcomes both native and non-native speakers of English. In fact, international, non-native English speakers are an important part of our student population. We do require sufficient English proficiency for academic success as our classes are conducted in English. (Please turn to the prospective students' page for information about TOEFL admissions requirements for non-native English speakers.) 

All of our MA students will have personally experienced the second language acquisition process, including the native English speakers. Since language learning is so complex, we require our MA students to demonstrate some level of ability in a second language (L2) before they graduate to have experienced the language learning process. (For details on the L2 exit requirement, read the Handbook. It is online, in the Resources section of this site.) 


What are the career options for our MA alumni? 
The strength and breadth of our program is evident if you consider where our alumni are employed. Our graduates now teach ESL in Higher Education contexts; others teach EFL in international settings; some direct language institutes; a few have careers in sales or marketing related to international education; others have proceeded to earn doctoral degrees. Our program, as you can imagine, prepares students for a breadth of opportunities in language education and research. 


Description of program leading to the Master of Arts in Linguistics 
Our main course of study leads to a MA in Linguistics: ESL. In this program, you experience an internship and complete an exit assessment rather than write a thesis. In addition to courses involving linguistic theory and practice, you will take graduate coursework in ESL/EFL/ESOL methodology, curriculum and testing, second language acquisition, cross cultural issues, sociolinguistics, etc. 

The Master of Arts in Linguistics requires 36 semester hours total. To pursue the degree on a full-time basis, you will enroll in 9 credit hours, or 3 classes, a semester. To study on a part-time basis, you must still enroll in at least 6 credit hours, or 2 classes. This is the minimum enrollment for our MA students, and may be one reason why we have a 98% graduation record. 

Our program seeks to embrace the study of all major aspects of human communication. It is anticipated, therefore, that students may come to us from a variety of backgrounds, and therefore, may be unprepared for graduate level work in one or more of the core areas. To assist students in remedying this problem, we offer LIN 5700, Applied Linguistics, as an intensive, accelerated course in Linguistics for graduate students with little or no previous background. 

All students must enroll in LIN 5700 the first term it is available. LIN 6081, Introduction to Graduate Study in Linguistics, must be taken during your first term of enrollment as a graduate student, or during the first term it is available, if not offered during the first term the student is enrolled. 

You may not drop either LIN 5700 or LIN 6081, except under extenuating circumstances where you are forced to withdraw from all work attempted in the term. In such a case, you must contact the Program Director and inform him/her of the decision to withdraw.

As a part of the MA program requirements, you must successfully complete the Exit Assessment. The Exit Assessment consists of three parts: a Pedagogical Theory (PT) paper, a Classroom Practice and Reflection (CPR) paper, and the final portfolio. All of these are described in detail in the MA Handbook, which can be downloaded from the Resources section of this site.

Before graduating, you will satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement. You can document your L2 proficiency in various ways. The L2 proficiency proof is an exit requirement, but you should attend to it as early as you can, so you do not delay your graduation. Please read the Handbook for details. (The Handbook can be downloaded from the Resources section of this site.)


Advising 
Academic advising and scheduling will be done in coordination with the Program Director. It is the student’s responsibility, while in residence, to meet with the Program Director regularly, but at least once each semester during the regular registration period to schedule his/her courses for the following semester. Each student is reminded of University Policy Statement 415:
Although the University provides advising services to assist students with academic planning, the responsibility for seeing that all requirements are met rests with the student.


Degree Requirements for the Master of Arts in Linguistics: TESL Core courses 

TSL 5371 Methods of TESL (3 credit hours) 
TSL 5372 ESL Curriculum and Instruction (3 credit hours) 
TSL 5471 Language Testing (3 credit hours) 
TSL 5525 Cross Cultural Issues in ESL (3 credit hours) 
TSL 6745 Internship (3 credit hours) 
LIN 5700 Applied Linguistics (3 credit hours) 
LIN 6081 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Linguistics (3 credit hours) 
LIN 6675 Grammatical Structure of American English (3 credit hours) 
LIN 6720 Second Language Acquisition (3 credit hours)

Additional requirements

  • Nine hours of approved electives at the graduate level (the majority from inside the program)
  • Three hours of internship through enrollment in TSL 6945
  • Completion of the Pedagogical Theory paper (exit assessment)
  • Completion of the Classroom Practice and Reflection paper (exit assessment)
  • Completion of a final portfolio (exit assessment)
  • Foreign language proficiency at Novice-High level, as detailed in the Handbook

Recommended Sequence of Coursework 

Year 1: Fall   
  Important! Read note on course timing and sequencing requirements, below.

LIN 6081 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Linguistics 3 credit hours
LIN 5700 Applied Linguistics 3 credit hours
TSL 5371 Methods of TESL 3 credit hours

Year 1: Spring

LIN 6675 Grammatical Structure of American English 3 credit hours
TSL 5372 ESL Curriculum and Instruction 3 credit hours
TSL 5525 Cross Cultural Issues in ESL 3 credit hours

Year 1: Summer

will vary approved electives (possible but not required) Up to 6 credit hours

Year 2: Fall

TSL 5440 Language Testing 3 credit hours
will vary
will vary
Elective 1
Elective 2
3 credit hours
3 credit hours

Year 2: Spring

LIN 6720
will vary
Second Language Acquisition
Elective 3
3 credit hours
3 credit hours

TSL 6945

Teaching Internship

3 credit hours



Course Timing / Sequencing Requirements
LIN 6081 (Introduction to Graduate Study in Linguistics) must be taken during the student's first term of enrollment as a graduate student, or during the first term it is available, if not offered during the first term the student is enrolled. 

Students must enroll in LIN 5700 the first term it is available to them. 

Drops are not permitted from either LIN 5700 or from LIN 6081, except under extenuating circumstances where the student is forced to withdraw from all work attempted in the term. In such a case, the student must contact the Program Director and inform him/her of the decision to withdraw. Students are advised to investigate the University deadline for withdrawing from a course without academic penalty. 


Do you want more information? Please read the pages "why study here?" and "frequently asked questions".