Old Dominion University
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College of Arts and Letters


Department of English




Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics

Dr. Bridget Anderson, Graduate Program Director

The Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics prepares students to pursue advanced graduate study or to teach in colleges, adult education programs, businesses, private schools, or institutions in other countries. The program requires 33 credits. Two emphases are offered, one in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and one in Sociolinguistics. A graduate certificate in TESOL is also offered. The College of Education offers a Master of Science in Education: Secondary with English as a Second Language Licensure.


Entrance Requirements

All normal university graduate admission requirements apply, and applicants must have a B average in their major field. Applicants must have taken at least 12 hours of undergraduate courses in language or literature (in any language), nine on the upper level. The GRE, two references, and a statement of purpose are required. Non-native speakers of English must submit scores from the TOEFL iBT (88 for regular admission and 80 for provisional admission) or from the TOEFL PBT (570 for regular admission and 550 for provisional admission), a sample of scholarly writing, and three recommendations, one of which evaluates proficiency in English.


Language Requirement

Before graduation, the student must have 12 credits or the equivalent in a single foreign language; this can be at the undergraduate level. After twelve hours of graduate work, international students must score 570 on the TOEFL examination (or 230 CBE or 80 on the iBT).


Sociolinguistics Emphasis - Curriculum Requirements

The following six courses are required:

  • ENGL 540 General Linguistics
  • ENGL 550 American English
  • ENGL 671 Phonology
  • ENGL 672 Syntax
  • ENGL 673 Discourse Analysis
  • ENGL 678 Sociolinguistics

Three courses must be chosen from the following:

  • ENGL 544 History of the English Language
  • ENGL 577 Language, Gender, and Power
  • ENGL 670 Methods and Materials in TESOL
  • ENGL 676 Semantics
  • ENGL 677 Language and Communication Across Cultures
  • ENGL 679 First and Second Language Acquisition
  • ENGL 695 Topics in English (Linguistics)
  • ENGL 705 Discourse and Rhetoric Across Cultures
  • ENGL 770 Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
  • ENGL 773 Seminar in Discourse Analysis
  • ENGL 778 Seminar in Sociolinguistics

Students may elect to write a thesis or may choose six hours of elective courses appropriate to their individual career choices. No more than 12 hours may be taken at the 500 level. At the end of the program, students must pass a comprehensive oral examination. 


TESOL Emphasis - Curriculum Requirements

The following six courses are required:

  • ENGL 540 General Linguistics
  • ENGL 670 Methods & Materials in TESOL
  • ENGL 671 Phonology
  • ENGL 672 Syntax
  • ENGL 675 Practicum (Student Teaching)
  • ENGL 679 First and Second Language Acquisition

Three courses must be chosen from the following:

  • ENGL 544 History of the English Language
  • ENGL 550 American English  
  • ENGL 577 Language, Gender, and Power
  • ENGL 673 Discourse Analysis
  • ENGL 676 Semantics
  • ENGL 677 Language and Communication Across Cultures
  • ENGL 678 Sociolinguistics
  • ENGL 695 Topics in English (Linguistics)
  • ENGL 705 Discourse and Rhetoric Across Cultures
  • ENGL 770 Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
  • ENGL 773 Seminar in Discourse Analysis
  • ENGL 778 Seminar in Sociolinguistics

Students have 6 hours of electives approved by the Graduate Program Director. In some cases, a 700-level course may be substituted for the corresponding 600-level course.

  • ENGL 696 Independent Readings. Available for students with more than 18 hours in the program. Students should write a proposal and receive written permission from the appropriate faculty member before signing up for this course.

  • ENGL 698, 699 Thesis. Students may elect to write a thesis or may choose six hours of elective courses appropriate to their individual career choices.

No more than 12 hours may be taken at the 500 level, and no more than 12 hours may be transferred in from another program. Other appropriate electives include courses in composition, reading, education, or linguistics. These should be chosen with the help of your advisor. 


Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

This graduate certificate qualifies students to teach ESOL to adult learners. This certificate may be of particular interest to students who want to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) abroad or teach ESL in the private sector or in non-governmental organizations (e.g., private language institutes, corporate settings, immigrant & refugee centers, etc.). In order to obtain this certificate, students need to take ENGL670, 671, 672, 675, 677.

Commonwealth of Virginia Endorsement for English as a Second Language (ESL)

Students who already have a teaching license (e.g., licensure to teach in elementary or secondary education) may pursue an added endorsement in ESL. This endorsement requires a minimum of 24 semester hours of course work. Some of these credits can be earned by taking graduate level courses in our program. For more information on the ESL add-on endorsement, contact Nola Nicholson, M.S. Ed.

Applied Linguistics Graduate Faculty