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2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Applied Linguistics - Program Description


Program Description

The M.A. in applied linguistics 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 literacy development, cross cultural communication, and empirical research in language acquisition. The overall goal of the program is to graduate students as 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.

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 G.P.A. 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).


The practicum (ENG 679) is a 3 credit course that provides students with hands on experience in the field. In addition to field placements arranged by the program, students may propose their own practicum sites, with prior consultation and approval of the instructor.

Special Topics

A variable or special topics course may be offered with a focus on an area of applied linguistics. It may be used as a substitute for an existing course in the concentration. Please consult with the program director to determine substitution options.

Independent Study

Independent study gives students an opportunity to explore a topic of interest in applied linguistics that is not already covered in an existing course. Students can propose a topic for a 1-3 credit independent study under faculty supervision. Consult the program director for details about this process.

Transfer Courses

Students who transfer from another accredited institution may apply for credit for courses taken at the prior institution. To earn transfer credit, the courses must have been completed no earlier than five years prior to the time of application, and they must be equivalent to those offered at Grand Valley. Per university policy, a maximum of 9 credits can be transferred. Please consult the program director about the materials required to determine course equivalency.

The program requires a total of 36 credit hours of coursework.

The following programs are available:

Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics

Applied Linguistics Minor

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.