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LAKERS TOGETHERGrand Valley is preparing for successful learning experiences when classes resume on Aug. 31. Learn more about the plan for fall in this handbook.



Applied Linguistics, M.A.

Applied Linguistics is an ever-expanding and interdisciplinary field using foundational knowledge of human language to engage real world concerns. The field explores language teaching and learning; language assessment; second language literacy development; cross-cultural communication; and language acquisition, as well as empirical research in any of the above subfields of applied linguistics.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Source: EMSI, 2020

Program Overview

The program provides students with a rigorous and collaborative learning experience in the core areas of Applied Linguistics. Built-in flexibility allows students to pursue their own interests through independent study, practicum, and thesis/project work in preparation for professional careers or doctoral study. The program requires 36 credit hours.

Applied Linguistics graduates can pursue professional careers in domestic and international contexts of ESL/EFL teaching at various levels, teacher training, language assessment and evaluation, language program administration, foreign services, publishing, or pursue further study at the doctoral level.

Why Study Applied Linguistics at Grand Valley?

  • The program offers a solid curriculum representing the field of applied linguistics nationwide, yet has its own unique design, striking a balance between theory and practice.
  • Applied Linguistics faculty have diverse areas of expertise and wide-ranging domestic and international experiences, meeting the academic needs of students with different career goals.
  • Students will study closely with faculty in a small, nurturing community of fellow students both in and outside of the classroom.
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in events and activities on campus and in the West Michigan area.

Location & Format

Graduate students in this major study at Grand Valleys Allendale Campus and the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

  • Face To Face


The program offers both the theoretical foundations of applied linguistics and practical implications for solving real-world problems. It covers the major topics in the field ranging from educational linguistics, instructional methodology, and advanced English grammar to second-language acquisition theory and sociolinguistics. Students can select either the thesis or the project option based on their academic and career goals.

Skills Employers Want

The applied linguistics degree at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings.

  • Language Education
  • Procurement
  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Session Initiation Protocols
  • Lesson Planning
  • Curriculum Development
  • Business Development

Source: EMSI, 2020

Application Deadline

International application deadline for fall semester is May 1; domestic student deadline is July 15. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Admission Requirements

Applicants must complete GVSU's online application, and include the following materials:

  • 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.
  • Writing sample: A substantive piece of writing, no fewer than three typed pages (1500-1700 words), which demonstrates your academic writing ability. You may submit a paper you wrote for a past undergraduate or graduate course.
  • Letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation from former professors or supervisors in a relevant field who can testify to your potential as a graduate student in this program.
  • GRE scores: Applicants whose GPA is lower than 3.0 (in the undergraduate major or in prior graduate coursework) must submit a score for the Graduate Record Examination (general test only).
  • Evidence of English language proficiency: International students whose first language is not English must submit evidence of English language proficiency. GVSU accepts scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), among others. Consult the program director concerning other tests that may be accepted.
  • Graduate study at GVSU requires minimum scores of 79 on the TOEFL-ibt, or 6.5 on the IELTS. We recommend that students applying to the M.A.-A.L. program score 20 or higher on each subtest of the TOEFL-ibt (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking).

Additional admission information can be found here

For More Information

Department of English Applied Linguistics Program
230 Lake Huron Hall
(616) 331-3400

Graduate Admissions Office


“A quote by Aristotle - ‘Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all' - makes me think of the vision we have for our program: a community of learners where we combine critical thinking of course content with our passions to effect positive change as we each go out to do the work of the world.”



When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)