English: Language and Linguistics Option (M.A.)

English: Language and Linguistics Option (M.A.)

English student taking a test

Why get a master’s degree in English language and linguistics?

Our M.A. in language and linguistics offers you the opportunity to explore all facets of the study of human language. You will build a background in core areas like phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, but also have the chance to delve deeply into such areas as sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, language contact and bilingualism, language and gender, and history of the English language. You can also specialize in applied linguistics and learn about theory, methods, curriculum design, and assessment in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages). Psycholinguistics courses are offered through the psychology department.

Why choose UNH for your English degree?

At UNH you’ll be supported by productive and internationally recognized faculty and have access to prominent professionals in the field. Our faculty specialize in syntax, morphology, sociolinguistics, TESOL and composition. The English department offers a variety of cultural activities including speakers’ series and a biannual composition conference.

Potential career areas

  • Academia 
  • Curriculum development 
  • Language engineer  
  • Marketing 
  • Research 
  • Teaching English as a second/foreign language 
  • Theatre – dialect coaching


Janine Wilks

Academic/Student Services Assistant, Graduate Program
Phone: (603) 862-3963
Office: English, Hamilton Smith Hall Rm 230D, Durham, NH 03824

Request Information

Curriculum & Requirements

Students who wish to specialize in any of the various areas of English language and linguistics may design an M.A. program to meet their interests. Specialties include applied linguistics and the teaching of English as a second language as well as the traditional subfields of linguistics. Psycholinguistics courses are offered through the psychology department.

To earn the M.A. degree, students must complete at least 32 credit hours at the 800 or 900 level, including 4 credit hours of a research experience. This research experience can be fulfilled either by taking a 4 credit course at the 800 or 900 level in which they, with the consultation of the course instructor and/or the program advisor, produce a substantial (30 page) paper OR 4 credits of ENGL 998 Master's Paper, in which they are to produce a substantial scholarly paper. Unless the student already has a strong background in linguistic theory, the program of study must include one course in phonetics and phonology (ENGL 893 Phonetics and Phonology) and one in syntax and semantics (ENGL 894 Syntax).

Reading knowledge of one foreign language is required. This may be demonstrated by passing a departmental examination or by receiving a grade of B or better in a fourth­-semester college-­level language course. Students whose native language is not English may be exempt from this requirement.

The student's course of study must be approved by the program adviser.


 Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 15 (for funding); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Oct. 15 (for funding); Dec. 1 (final)
  • Summer: April 1 (Admission only)
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: RI VT ME

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores, including waiver requests and current COVID related impacts, please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

A writing sample is required for this program. You will need to provide ten to twenty pages of a linguistics-related essay or a previously submitted piece for a literature class. Should you have more questions on this requirement please contact the department.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

More to Explore

take the next step

student posing in doorway on campus
thompson hall in summer
student at Career Event