Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics

The Department of English at Grand Valley State University offers an M.A. in Applied Linguistics that provides students with foundational knowledge of linguistics and its practical application to real world concerns. It addresses issues in language teaching and learning, language assessment, second language  acquisition and literacy development, cross-cultural communication, and empirical research in language learning and acquisition. The overall goal of the program is to train students to become knowledgeable and skilled English language specialists who can work in a variety of professional careers in applied linguistics at home and abroad such as second language education, adult literacy development, language assessment and evaluation, various domestic and international contexts of TESOL, language program administration, and publishing.

The program requires a total of 36 credit hours of coursework, including :

Required Courses (30 credits)

Foundation (9 credits)

ENG 660 Principles of Educational Linguistics 
ENG 667 Introduction to Applied Linguistics Research 
ENG 669 Teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Concentration (21 credits)

ENG 662 Pedagogical Grammar 
ENG 664 Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching 
ENG 665 Second Language Acquisition 
ENG 668 Second Language Assessment 
ENG 670 World Englishes: History & Variation
ENG 675 Second Language Reading & Writing
ENG 679 Practicum

Culminating Experience

Track One

ENG693 Applied Linguistics Capstone (3 credits).
The culminating experience for MA-AL candidates who choose the Capstone (non-thesis) option. Students will design and develop an independent project, which they will present publicly at a departmental conference.

Track Two

ENG 695 Master’s Thesis (6 credits; 1-3 credits per semester, determined in consultation with the program director)
Students who wish to pursue doctoral study after their MA are strongly advised to take the thesis option.

Elective Courses

ENG 680 Special Topics 
ENG 699 Independent Study (1-3 credits)
Other electives to be determined in consultation with the program director.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must complete the university’s online application and include the following materials required by the MA-AL program:

  • A personal statement—a statement about your reasons for pursuing this program of study, your learning objectives in the program, and your career goals when you complete the program.
  • A writing sample—a substantive piece of writing, no less than three full pages (1500-1700 words), which demonstrates your academic writing ability. It could be a past paper you wrote for an undergraduate or graduate course.
  • Two letters of recommendation from your former professors or supervisor in a relevant field who can testify to your potential as a graduate student in this program.
  • GRE (General) score if the applicant’s undergraduate GPA in the major, or graduate GPA, is below 3.0.
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to submit scores on TOEFL-iBT, IELTS, MELAB, PTE Academic, or other approved English proficiency tests. The minimum acceptable score of 80 on TOEFL-iBT, 6.5 on IELTS, 77 on MELAB, or 53 on PTE Academic is required. Please consult the program director for consideration of scores from other valid tests.

Suggested Full-time Planned Program of Study

The program can typically be completed in two academic years if students enroll full-time. All full-time and part-time students should begin their study in the fall semester. The length could be shortened to 1 and ½ years if students plan on taking spring/summer courses, although spring/summer course offerings are contingent upon demand and availability of faculty, and therefore, are not guaranteed. Students who wish to enroll on a part-time basis should consult with the program director to determine a viable plan of study.


For further program information, please contact the English Department office in Lake Huron Hall (616) 331-3405, or email Shinian Wu, Director of the MA-Applied Linguistics, 213 Lake Huron Hall, (616) 331-3690.  

Page last modified November 27, 2017