MA Program Requirements



The one-year MA program consists of 3.5 FCE (full course equivalents).  Required courses include:

Two of the following:

  • LIN1121H - Phonological Theory (0.5 FCE)
  • LIN1131H - Introduction to Syntactic Theory (0.5 FCE)
  • JAL1145H - Field Methods (0.5 FCE)

1.5 FCE - 3 elective courses

LIN2100Y - Linguistic Forum


Students who have taken any of these courses at the undergraduate level must select other graduate courses in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator.

A typical course schedule for the one-year MA program will be similar to this:

Fall Winter Summer
Phonological Theory
Field Methods
Linguistic Forum
Syntactic Theory
0.5 FCE Elective Course
0.5 FCE Elective Course 0.5 FCE Elective Course
Linguistic Forum
Linguistic Forum

Language Requirement

All students must demonstrate the ability to read professionally in one language other than English. The choice of language is subject to approval by the Graduate Coordinator, and takes into consideration each student's research interests. Where appropriate, and with Departmental approval, a student may show demonstrated competence in computer programming in lieu of the language requirement.

A student may be asked to sit a reading comprehension exam in their chosen language; language exams are administered in the Spring. The exam will not test spoken or aural skills, nor will it require professional-level translation. Rather, a student must demonstrate the ability to read and understand academic writing in their chosen language. The exam consists of a three or four page text, usually from a contemporary linguistics source, and a series of questions to be answered in English, which may include:

  • Answering comprehension questions
  • Summarizing a section of the text
  • Translating a very short excerpt

Using a dictionary is permitted during the exam, which usually lasts two hours. The result is reported as Credit/No Credit.

Linguistic Forum (LIN2100Y)

Each MA student prepares an original research paper, working closely with a supervisor. The Forum paper must display scholarly merit, originality, and knowledge of the topic. The Forum class meets weekly from September through April; each student makes a series of presentations on their topic over the course of the year, and provides constructive feedback to the other MA students. The Forum paper is to be completed by the end of the summer term and is evaluated by both the supervisor and a second reader chosen by the student and the supervisor. The paper is usually between 40 and 120 pages long.

The following is a typical timetable for completion of the MA Forum paper. It is meant as a guideline; students will establish specific deadlines for drafts and other research milestones with their supervisors.

Timeline Progress
September: Identify a specific topic for the paper, based on discussions with the supervisor.
Late September-Early
Cycle 1. Short presentations, generally including an outline, annotated bibliography, proposed plan of research, etc. Forum supervisors usually do not attend.
October: Cycle 2. 20-minute time slots including questions and discussion. Presentation may include background on the chosen topic, literature review, experimental design, etc. Forum supervisors attend this and subsequent presentations.
November: Cycle 3. 20-minute time slots. Progress report.
January: Cycle 4. 25-minute time slots. Progress report. Preliminary results and analysis.
February -
Cycle 5. 25-minute time slots. Progress report. Analysis well underway. Some sections being written; structure of the final paper becoming clear.
April -
Once other courses are complete, the major focus will be on writing the paper.
June A mid summer check-up meeting
June 15: First draft to supervisor.
June 30: First draft returned with comments. Revisions begin.
Early July: Summer meeting. An informal meeting of the Forum group with the Graduate Coordinator, at which time students report on the progress.
July 15: Second draft to supervisor.
July 30: Second draft returned with comments. Further revisions if needed. Second reader chosen.
August 15: Final draft to supervisor and second reader.
August 30: Supervisor and second reader assign a grade for the paper. A PDF copy of the final version is sent to the graduate office to be added to the department library.

Ethics Protocols

All research done by graduate students that involves human participants requires an ethics protocol. This includes elicitation, interviews, psycholinguistics experiments, phonetics experiments, and so on. For research that involves elicitation only, the ethics protocol can be approved within the Department. All other ethics protocols must be approved through the University's Research Ethics Board. Students should discuss their research with their supervisor in order to determine what level of approval is required. Please refer to the Research Ethics overview for more information.