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Prospective students
Master of Arts in Linguistics: ESL

Applying for Admission
NOTE: If you do not see our program listed in the drop-down menu of the application website, please contact the MA Program Director, Dr. Nicole Tracy-Ventura,  Do NOT choose a different program (such as English Education).  Thank you, and we look forward to receiving your application.

Applying for admission can take a surprisingly long time. The actual application document is not very long, but the other documents take time to prepare. You are encouraged to plan your admissions packet with careful attention. Your packet represents you to the Faculty Admissions Committee, so be sure that it reflects the quality of work that you intend to give your graduate studies. If you have any questions, please e-mail the graduate director. In the application process, it is also a good idea to make contact with the graduate director via e-mail so that she is aware of your intent to apply.
Please upload all documents (statement of purpose, CV, the three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and test scores [GRE for everyone, TOEFL for those with an L1 other than English]) to the application website: .
To view our program in the Graduate Catalog: 


Required Documents and Standards for Admission

  • A completed bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • An updated curriculum vitae
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last two years of undergraduate work
    • For applicants who have earned a master's degree or doctoral degree, we consider the applicant’s graduate GPA.
  • GRE scores (taken within the last five years) at or above 149 (430, prior scale) Verbal and 4 Analytical Writing are generally considered acceptable.
    • The GRE requirement will not be waived.
    • Unofficial GRE scores, the report received in the mail about 3 weeks after the test may be used to initiate the application. However, official scores will need to be provided to USF’s office of admissions as soon as they become available.
    • Applicants who have earned a master's degree or doctoral degree should consult with the Graduate Director about the applicability of the 5-year requirement (although the test itself is still required).
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • The letters would be best if written by former professors. Failing that, letters from supervisors or trainers can address the applicant's ability to learn. Employers can speak of the applicant's personal qualities that might contribute to success as a graduate student and one of the letters may come from these sources. Letters from family or friends are not acceptable.
  • A Statement of Purpose, a two-page writing sample
    • This statement will introduce the applicant to the Applied Linguistics faculty. It should address topics such as academic background, interest in the field, reasons for selecting our program, aspirations for graduate studies, and professional goals.
    • If the applicant would like to be considered for funding (a TA position or a fellowship), please also indicate this in the statement of purpose so that the faculty can direct the applicant to the appropriate sources. 

Additional admissions requirements for International Applicants:

  • TOEFL scores of
    • 100 or higher on the internet-based text or
    • 250 or higher on the computer-based test or
    • 600 or higher on the paper-and-pencil test
  • For admissions purposes, the TOEFL exam is not required if applicants have earned a college degree in an English-medium university in an English-speaking country. Please note that taking ESL courses does not exempt applicants from taking the TOEFL. Also note that students who are exempt from the TOEFL admissions requirement will later need to document English proficiency in order to complete the teaching internship requirement (if it is done on campus). While we accept the IELTS for admission purposes (although the TOEFL is preferred), this test is not accepted by USF to be hired as a TA. Thus, before the teaching internship (or other TA position), English language mastery must be demonstrated through the TOEFL and/or TOEIC.  
  • The TOEFL is not required for a TA position for international students who come from an English-speaking country. See the Office of Graduate Studies website for a list of these countries:


Deadlines for applying for admission 
A deadline date means date of receipt by the Graduate Admissions office or International Admissions office. Deadline dates presume a completed application packet.

NOTE: If you do not see our program listed in the drop-down menu of the application website, please contact the MA Program Director, Dr. Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Do NOT choose a different program (such as English Education). Thank you, and we look forward to receiving your application.

  • Application deadlines
    • Fall deadline: February 15
    • Spring deadline: October 15

Note: International students may have earlier university deadline requirements. Please inquire with the Office of Graduate Studies: . If space allows, we will continue accepting applications after the posted deadlines; however, applications received by the posted deadlines will have priority for admission and funding opportunities.

A Note about International Student Applications:

For international applicants, procedures are more complicated. Fortunately, the staff at International Admissions are experts and very helpful people. More information about the process, including the online application, may be found at:

For additional information, contact the MA Program Director:

    • Dr. Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Ph.D.
    • Office: Cooper Hall 429
    • Email:
    • Phone: 813-974-2548