UMass Boston

Applied Linguistics MA

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Prepare for an advanced teaching, research, or administrative role in linguistics.

UMass Boston's Applied Linguistics MA is a rigorous graduate program offered both in person and online. The program includes courses in theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, and interdisciplinary areas at the intersection of language, society, and education. Students develop a thorough understanding of the linguistic, cultural, and ideological considerations that govern language acquisition and use. At the end of your studies, you'll emerge with deep knowledge of the diversity of issues inherent in the study of language and be prepared to teach and conduct research.

In this program, you will learn to:

  • Describe language using appropriate linguistic concepts and terminology
  • Understand both psychological and social factors associated with language acquisition and development
  • Identify and comprehend cultural and sociopolitical dimensions of language
  • Master a variety of language teaching methods supported by national and state guidelines and standards related to language education
  • Demonstrate appropriate language pedagogical knowledge and become a reflective practitioner
  • Articulate reflective and critical knowledge regarding links between language pedagogy, language policies, and greater social justice

Career Possibilities

Many of our alums pursue careers as teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or other world languages. They share their expertise in language acquisition and teaching methodologies. Alums often work in multicultural settings, providing guidance and training on effective communication across languages and cultures as translators or communication specialists. Graduates also go on to fields of work where they analyze language policies and their impact on society.

Applied Linguistics MA graduates work in a variety of domains:

  • Language teaching (university, K-12, adult education)
  • Education administration
  • Curriculum development
  • International consulting
  • Speech recognition
  • Natural language processing
  • Computer mediated language learning
  • Lexicography (dictionaries)
  • Court translating
  • Multicultural marketing and advertising
  • Technical or textbook writing
  • Intercultural communications
  • Language program coordination
  • Curriculum development
  • Language policy analysis

Start Your Application

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Candidates must have at least a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average, preferably in a relevant field of study, such as linguistics, anthropology, English, foreign language, history, political science, psychology, or sociology.
  • Non-native speakers of English must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test, or a 6.5 IELTS score.
  • Candidates for the ESL and Bilingual Studies concentration may be asked to indicate proficiency in a language other than English at a level equivalent to two years of successful college study.
  • Applicants should use the 1,200-word statement accompanying the application to directly address any areas of academic weakness in the application. A discussion of the applicant’s experiences in language study, language teaching/tutoring, travel, or living in other cultural settings is also appropriate, as is a discussion of the candidate’s career goals. The statement should specify the applicant’s interest in the ESL & bilingual education, or foreign language pedagogy concentration.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from academic sources

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: March 1 (priority) and May 1 for fall (extended to July 1 for Fall 2024 admissions); October 1 (priority) and November 1 (final) for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students who plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Cost: For additional information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s Office or send an email to Please refer to Graduate Student Financial Aid for more information on financial aid.


Core Courses (15 Credits)

  • APLING 601 - Linguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 603 - Language, Culture and Identity 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 605 - Theories and Principles of Language Teaching 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 621 - Psycholinguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 623 - Sociolinguistics 3 Credit(s)

Concentration Courses (9 Credits)

Take three courses from one of the concentrations below.

ESL and Bilingual Studies Concentration

  • APLING 614 - Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 618 - Teaching ESL: Methods and Approaches 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 690 - Field Experience 3 Credit(s)

Foreign Language Pedagogy Concentration

  • APLING 611 - Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Instruction 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 612 - Integrating Culture into the Language Curriculum 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 690 - Field Experience 3 Credit(s)

Electives (6 Credits)

Complete two additional ApLing courses. Students also have the option to take two courses as electives in related disciplines that complement their specialization.

Field Experience & Practicum

Students working to obtain a master's degree are required to complete a Field Experience (APLING 690). The MA field experience requirement may be satisfied through teaching language in university undergraduate ESL classes, in a public school system, or at a community agency. Alternative paths to satisfying the Field Experience can be discussed with the Field Experience faculty member.

Students who are pursuing an initial K-12 ESL teaching license need to complete the student-teaching practicum (APLING 698). This is a requirement set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) PK-12 ESL licensure in addition to their MA degree. The ESL licensure student-teaching practicum cannot be waived. Students working to obtain MA state licensure must student-teach in a PK-12 public school ESL/Sheltered English setting for one full semester.

Licensure in French as a Foreign Language from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Students wishing to pursue licensure from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in French as a foreign language should choose a concentration in Foreign Language Pedagogy and complete the following courses when selecting electives. Students will complete six additional credits of coursework beyond the requirements for the degree.

  • APLING 697 - Special Topics in Applied Linguistics 1-6 Credit(s) Topic: French Applied Linguistics
  • APLING 698 - Practicum/Field Experience 3-6 Credit(s)

Three of the following:

  • FRENCH 464 - Roman Du 20e Siecle 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 465 - 20th Century French Theater 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 305 - 20th/21st Century French and Francophone Literature 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 490 - Special Topics 3 Credit(s) Topic: France/Maghreb


  • FRENCH 307 - French and Francophone Popular Culture 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 480 - Images of Otherness in French and Francophone Literature 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 304 - French Conversation 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 306L - Introduction to French Cinema (in French) 3 Credit(s)


  • FRENCH 301 - Composition et stylistique 3 Credit(s)
  • FRENCH 411 - Theme et version 3 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 30 credits (ten courses) in Applied Linguistics while maintaining a 3.0 or better GPA.

Concentration: Students must choose a concentration in ESL and Bilingual Studies or Foreign Language Pedagogy.

Capstone: The Capstone Exercise is the culminating and integrative experience of students’ educational program in Applied Linguistics. It is an application of theory to practice activity in which students discuss theoretical issues and current research related to a prompt and apply them to practice and other professional or real-world applications. Students draw on the literature from their core and concentration courses and any other courses they may have taken as electives. This capstone exercise is usually completed in the student’s final semester of study.

Practicum & Field Experience: Complete either the MA field experience or the licensure practicum.

Residency: No more than twelve credits may be transferred in and applied toward the program electives; six credits from non-degree graduate study at UMass Boston and six credits of graduate course work from another institution. All transfer courses must be earned within seven years of program matriculation, have a grade of B or higher, be approved by the graduate program director and Graduate Studies, and not have been used to fulfill requirements for another degree.

Statute of Limitations: Five years.


Applied Linguistics Program

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Applied Linguistics Department

UMass Boston's Department of Applied Linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts offers a diverse range of programs and research opportunities aimed at exploring theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, and interdisciplinary areas of psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics.

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College of Liberal Arts

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