Graduate Bulletin

Spring 2018

Description of the Linguistics Department

The Stony Brook Linguistics Department, in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a leading center for research and training in all areas of modern linguistics. The Department offers graduate training that leads to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics, an M.A. program in Computational Linguistics, as well as a course of study that leads to the Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

The department has a long-standing focus on theoretical linguistics, with core research areas including syntax, semantics, morphology, phonology, phonetics and first and second language acquisition as well as experimental and computational approaches to these areas. Recently, the department has introduced two new Experimental Linguistics laboratories supplementing our existing laboratories in Semantics and Phonetics, and we have developed new specializations in Speech and Language Pathology for undergraduates and Computational Linguistics for graduate students. In addition to the full range of theoretical areas of linguistics, faculty have expertise in a wide range of languages/language areas including Amazonian, Austronesian, East Asian, Romance, Semitic, Slavic and signed languages, as well as in language documentation and revitalization.

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for advanced research in all branches of theoretical linguistics. Students develop their research interests further through advanced seminars in Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics and Computational Linguistics as well as courses in Psychology, Music, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS).

The M.A. in Computational Linguistics focuses on the computational mechanisms that are required to process language. This includes both theoretical issues --- how is language computed by humans and what is the computational complexity of natural language --- and practical ones. The latter subsumes a large and growing area of modern software engineering that is concerned with problems such as the automatic translation of text from one language into another, reading out written text, or using linguistic criteria to optimize the placement of online ads. Just like the theoretical questions, these applications require a good understanding of contemporary linguistics as well as programming skills and general training in computer science.

The M.A. in TESOL is designed to prepare students to become professional teachers, teacher educators, and curriculum designers. The program offers courses in theoretical linguistics and its applications as well as pedagogy. It provides extensive supervised field experience in schools and in the English courses offered by the university for International students. Graduates of the program are successfully employed in public and private schools at K-12 levels, colleges, and universities in the United States and abroad. The requirements of the M.A. TESOL program satisfy a substantial portion of the requirements for New York State certification in TESOL, and students may arrange to complete the requirements for state certification in conjunction with pursuit of the M.A. The M.A. in Linguistics is a stand-alone 30 credit degree in Theoretical Linguistics designed to give students an opportunity to carry out graduate work in linguistics without making the long-term commitment required for a doctoral degree.