Graduate Bulletin

Fall 2022

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Linguistics

In addition to the minimum Graduate School requirements, the following are required:

  1. Course Requirements: Students must complete a minimum of 60 credits; 30 of them before advancing to Candidacy.

Required Courses (12 credits)

LIN 521 Syntax I

LIN 621 Syntax II

LIN 523 Phonology I

LIN 623 Phonology II

  • Electives: minimum of 18 credits of Linguistics 500 and 600 level courses*
    *Courses from other departments may also be counted as electives with permission from the Program Director.

B. Qualifying Papers: Acceptance by the department of two papers of publishable quality in distinct areas of linguistics (“Qualifying Papers”) is required. Each paper will be defended orally before a committee of at least three faculty members. The membership of the two qualifying paper committees must not be identical. Each qualifying paper requirement will be completed after the committee’s acceptance of revisions decided upon at the defense.

The final version of the first Qualifying Paper must be submitted not later than the last day of classes of the fourth semester, and the final version of the second Qualifying Paper must be submitted not later than the last day of classes of the sixth semester. Failure to meet Qualifying Papers deadline may affect the student’s priority for funding. Students who have not had both Qualifying Papers accepted by their committees by the end of the sixth semester will normally be dismissed from the program.

Public presentation of one of these papers is required, as is submission of one of the Qualifying Papers for publication in an appropriate journal.

C. Language Requirement: Demonstrated knowledge of two foreign languages other than the student’s mother tongue. This requirement may be satisfied by any of the following methods:

  1. Submission of an analytic paper demonstrating knowledge of the structure of the language.
  2. Satisfactory completion of a course in the structure of the language.
  3. Satisfactory performance on a standardized exam designed to measure language proficiency.
  4. Satisfactory completion of two years of college-level instruction in the language.

D. Advancement to Candidacy: Advancement to candidacy takes place upon the successful completion of the following: the required courses in A, the qualifying paper requirement in B, and the language requirement in C.

E. Teaching and Research: Students become qualified in teaching and research by working with faculty on an individual basis as teaching assistants and by participating in research projects. They have the opportunity to prepare and teach undergraduate classes during the academic year and in summer sessions.

F. Dissertation: Before a student proceeds to write the dissertation, a dissertation proposal must be accepted by the department. The dissertation proposal outlines the topic and how the student plans to go about investigating this topic. The advisor will organize a discussion in which a committee considers the proposal with the student. The purpose of this discussion is to ensure that the topic is manageable and substantive.

The dissertation committee will consist of a minimum of four members, at least three from the full-time faculty in the department and at least one from outside the department (or University). The committee will be chosen in consultation with the dissertation supervisor, who will be a full-time member of the department faculty. The formal public defense of the dissertation requires the full attendance of the dissertation examining committee.

Requirements for the M.A. in Linguistics

The MA LIN is a 30 credit Masters program aimed at students interested in pursuing linguistics beyond the BA level, but not yet ready for, or not planning to go on to, the PhD. The curricular focus of the MA LIN is on theoretical rather than applied linguistics. Students interested in applied or computational linguistics at the MA level are encouraged to consider the MA TESOL or MA Computational Linguistics program.

The MA LIN is a coursework degree, consisting of 12 credits of required courses and 18 credits of electives.

A. Core courses: (12 credits, required):

LIN 521 Syntax I
LIN 621 Syntax II
LIN 523 Phonology I
LIN 623 Phonology II

B. Electives: minimum of 18 credits of Linguistics 500 and 600 level courses*

*Courses from other departments may also be counted as electives with permission from the Program Director.

Requirements for the M.A. in Computational Linguistics

The MA in Computational Linguistics is a 36-credit coursework degree consisting of multiple components.

A. Core courses: (12 credits, required):

  • LIN 521 Syntax I
  • LIN 522 Phonetics or LIN 523 Phonology I
  • LIN 537 Computational Linguistics 1
  • LIN 637 Computational Linguistics 2

B. Formal methods: (1 of the following: 3 credits):

  • LIN 538 Statistics,
  • LIN 539 Mathematical Methods in Linguistics

C. Advanced Linguistics: (1 of the following not taken as another requirement: 3 credits)

  • LIN 522 Phonetics,
  • LIN 523 Phonology I
  • LIN 621 Syntax II,
  • LIN 623 Phonology II,
  • LIN 624 Morphology and Word Formation,
  • LIN 625 Semantics

D. Electives* (4 of the following not taken as a Core or Linguistics course above = 12 credits):

Electives can be taken in Linguistics or other departments, with approval of the Program Director.

E. Final project. Students must also complete a final project as part of LIN 595. (6 credits)

Courses that appear in more than 1 category multiple cannot be used to satisfy multiple requirements at once. For example, if LIN 522 is taken as part of the core sequence, it cannot be used to satisfy the linguistics requirement.

Requirements for the M.A. in TESOL

The MA in TESOL is a Master’s program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Requirements for the Master of Arts in TESOL - 30 credits

The 30-credit track leads to the MA TESOL degree only and is intended for those with teacher certification in an area other than TESOL who wish to obtain TESOL certification or those who are not interested in teacher certification. Upon completion of the 30 credit MA, students can apply directly to New York State for alternate route certification in TESOL.

A. Coursework

This degree program consists of 30 credits distributed among the areas listed below. All courses are three credits except for the one-credit fieldwork courses (LIN 578, LIN 579).

  1. Required Courses (18 credits)
  • LIN 522 Phonetics
  • LIN 524 TESOL Pedagogy: Theory and Practice (Methods I) and

              --LIN 579 Field Experience N-12 (1 credit)

  • LIN 527 Structure of English
  • LIN 529 TESOL Pedagogy: Content-based Language and Literacy Development Practice (Methods II) and

               --LIN 579 Field Experience N-12 (1 credit)

  • LIN 530 Introduction to General Linguistics
  • LIN 578 Field Experience in Educational Courses
  1. Electives (12 credits)

Three of the following: (or any other TESOL-related courses approved by the program director):

  • LIN 526 Analysis of an Uncommonly Taught Language
  • LIN 532 Second Language Acquisition
  • LIN 541 Bilingualism
  • LIN 542 Sociolinguistics
  • LIN 555 Error Analysis
  • LIN 571 TESOL Pedagogy: Curriculum Design and Evaluation
  • LIN 572 Course Design: Theory and Practice

 One additional elective course to be approved by the department; this may be a fourth course from the list above.

Two semesters of college-level study of a language other than English (undergraduate or graduate). 

B. Performance

Students must achieve a grade point average (GPA) of B (3.0) or higher in all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook in order to receive the MA TESOL degree.

C. Course Waivers

Certain required courses may be waived for students showing an exceptional background in linguistics or TESOL. Application for such waivers must be made in writing to the department. In any case, all students must complete 30 graduate credits of approved coursework to receive a degree.

D. New York State Teacher Certification

All teacher candidates are responsible for submitting their applications for their TESOL certification through the NYS Education Department (NYSED). Applications for alternate route certification can be evaluated ONLY by the New York State Office of Teaching Initiatives.

E. Application Procedure

Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in liberal arts or science with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the overall bachelor's degree. Applicants must demonstrate, through their application and recommendations, that they possess the temperament and disposition to be an effective teacher.

Applications and instructions are available on the MA-TESOL program website ( A completed application consists of: Completed Graduate School application with a non-refundable application fee; Three letters of recommendation; Official copies of all previous college transcripts; Curriculum Vitae (Resume); A statement of purpose.

Admission is competitive and no single factor will exclude anyone from being admitted. Similarly, no single factor will ensure admission. Applications and supporting documentation for the fall semester must be received by June 1. International students must apply by April 15.