Linguistics

MSc Program

The Department of Linguistics is unique in the Faculty of Arts in offering the degree of Master of Science. Students entering the MSc can choose from one of two options—the course-based or the thesis-based MSc. Both programs require the completion of two mandatory courses, LING 601:Phonology I and 602: Seminar in Syntax, as well as a set number of electives, chosen in conjunction with the student’s Supervisor. These elective courses will depend on the student’s individual background and interests; however, the Department strongly recommends that all entering MSc students take LING 501: Research Project Seminar. Students should consult with their Supervisor or the Graduate Chair before selecting courses.

MSc students have the option of switching from one option to the other, e.g., from thesis-based to course-based or vice versa, during their programs and should consult with their supervisor or the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies, before doing so.

Course-based MSc

A course-based MSc requires the completion of 27 credits (9 courses) of coursework, typically completed over the course of four semesters (two years). These credits include the two required courses (LING 601-Phonology I, Ling 602-Seminar in Syntax), an MSc project course (LING 91 - Masters research Project), and 6 elective courses, selected by students in conjunction with the Supervisor.

The course-based MSc project is a paper reporting the results of a guided research project in the supervisor's area of specialization. The scope of the research project is smaller than that for a Masters thesis in terms of background literature, research activities, analysis, and interpretation. Preferably, but not necessarily, the project makes an original contribution to knowledge.

The course-based MSc project is shorter than a thesis, typically 30-50 pages (doubled-spaced), and demonstrates the ability to:

  • understand and summarize the primary literature closely relevant to the project
  • carry out the project research and analyze the research findings
  • interpret those findings with respect to closely relevant primary literature.

Thesis-based MSc

A thesis-based MSc in our Department requires the completion of 21 credits (7 courses) of coursework, typically completed over the course of four semesters (two years). These credits include the two required courses (LING 601, 602), as well as 5 elective courses, selected by student in conjunction with the Supervisor. In addition, the student is required to write and defend a Masters thesis.

The Masters thesis usually ranges from 50–150 pages (double-spaced) in length and demonstrates the ability to:

  • synthesize and critically evaluate a relevant body of research
  • design a focused research study that may yield a contribution to knowledge
  • carry out this research and analyze the research findings
  • interpret those findings and indicate their relevance to related areas of inquiry
The Masters Thesis is submitted to a three-person Examining Committee and then defended in the formal manner set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. The final thesis must conform to the standards set by the Faculty on the Thesis Preparation Page.