Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics


MA in Applied Linguistics overview (PDF)
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

Elective Courses

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

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.

Culminating Experience

Track One: Master's Capstone

ENG 693 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. The Master's Capstone Option offers students the opportunity to take additional coursework in Applied Linguistics, and to engage in the kinds of professional activities they will be expected to undertake in the field following graduation. Students who choose the Capstone option for their culminating experience will take the following courses (instead of 6 thesis credits):  

  • One 3-credit elective course, to be chosen in consultation with the program director, and
  • ENG 693: Master's Project (3 credits) In this course, students will design and develop an independent project in applied linguistics, which they will present publicly at a departmental conference.

Prerequisite: Students must complete 27 credits in the program prior to taking ENG 693.

Track Two: Master's Thesis 

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. The Master's Thesis Option is designed to give students experience designing and conducting empirical research. This option is strongly recommended to students planning to pursue doctoral work. Students must take a total of six credit hours of ENG 695 prior to graduation.

Preparing a thesis is a multi-stage process that involves the following (see MA-AL program materials for more detail):

  • Forming a Committee: You need to form a thesis committee, comprised of a chair and two additional graduate faculty. If you wish to select a faculty member from outside of the program, you should consult with the program director for prior approval. The outside committee member must have relevant expertise on the thesis topic.
  • Writing a Prospectus: You will write a prospectus for your proposed thesis project.
  • Holding a Prospectus Meeting: After your chair approves your prospectus, you will share it with the committee, prior to holding a meeting, at which you will get feedback. If the prospectus is approved, you begin research; if not, you will need to revise and resubmit.  
  • Research & Writing: You will research, write, and revise the thesis, under your chairs supervision.
  • Defending the Thesis: You will defend your thesis to your committee in a meeting that is open to faculty and students. Your committee may require further revision of the thesis as a condition of graduation. Students have 30 days in which to complete the revision, at which time the committee will decide whether to accept the final thesis. No further oral defense is necessary, unless the committee votes no on the final thesis, in which case the student has the option of writing a new thesis or dropping the program.

Prerequisite: Students must complete 18 credit hours of coursework prior to registering for ENG 695 thesis credits. 


For further program information, please contact the English Department office in Lake Huron Hall (616) 331-3400, or email Shinian Wu, Director of the MA-Applied Linguistics, 213 Lake Huron Hall, (616) 331-3690.