discover how languages work

Master of Arts in Linguistics with a focus on Descriptive Linguistics

document and describe languages, focusing on the under-described languages of Southeast Asia

investigate the connection between form and function in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and discourse

make new and exciting discoveries about how language works


Semester 1: August – December

  • AL603 Phonology (Required core course)

  • AL605 Grammar (Required core course)

  • AL608 Sociolinguistics (Required core course)

Semester 2: January – May

  • AL704 Field Methods in Linguistics (Required Research Methods Elective

  • AL706 Linguistic Data Management (Required Research Methods Elective)

  • Free Elective

Summer Semester: July

  • AL732 Principles of Literacy (Elective course #3)

Semester 3: August – December

  • Free Elective

  • Free Elective

  • Free Elective

Semester 4: January – May

  • AL797 Independent Study/AL799 Thesis: Defend Proposal

  • AL755 Academic Writing for Linguistics OR Free Elective (Final course requirement)

Summer Semester: June-July

  • AL797/AL799 continued: Pass Ethics Review for Research and Collect Data

Semester 5: August – December

  • AL797/AL799 continued: Analyze Data and Write Independent Study/Thesis

  • Independent Study Oral Comprehensive Exam (if AL769 was chosen)

Semester 6: January – May

  • AL796/AL799 continued: Defend Independent Study/Thesis


  • AL703 Linguistic Description (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605)

  • AL710 Historical and Comparative Linguistics (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605)

  • AL712 Advanced Grammatical Analysis (Prerequisite: AL605)

  • AL713 Pragmatics (Prerequisite: AL605)

  • AL715 Seminar on Linguistic Typology (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605)

  • AL720 Discourse Analysis (Prerequisite: AL605)

  • AL730 Lexicography

  • AL740 Phonetics for Field Linguists

  • AL744 Advanced Phonology (Prerequisite: AL603)

  • AL746 Semantics

  • AL750 Selected Topics in Linguistics

  • AL751 Current Issues in Linguistics

  • AL752 Directed Readings

  • AL753 Linguistic Applications

  • AL755 Academic Writing for Linguistics

NOTE: The above courses may not all be offered during a student’s study at Payap University. However, there are many elective courses in addition to these courses pertaining to Translation and Language Development.


Core Courses:

  • AL603 Phonological Analysis [3 credits] Study of the principles and methods of the analysis of linguistic sound systems.

  • AL605 Grammatical Analysis [3 credits] Study of the principles and methods of the analysis of grammatical structures.

  • AL608 Sociolinguistics [3 credits] Study of the structure and use of language in its social and cultural contexts with focus on multilingual situations.

Required Research Methods Electives:

  • AL704 Field Methods in Linguistics (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605) [4 credits] Methods for collecting and analyzing language data in order to formulate hypotheses and then refine them in light of available data.

  • AL706 Linguistic Data Management (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605) [2 credits] Methods for managing, organizing, and presenting language data using computational tools.

Selected Descriptive Linguistics Free Electives:

  • AL720 Discourse Analysis (Prerequisite: AL605) [3 credits] Linguistic analysis of the discourse features, including coherence, discontinuities, information structure, prominence, pragmatic connectives, participant reference and other topics.

  • AL746 Semantics (Prerequisites: none) [3 credits] The relationship between form and meaning at various levels of language.

  • AL710 Historical and Comparative Linguistics (Prerequisites: AL603, AL605) [3 credits] The theoretical analysis of language change and methods for linguistic reconstruction with a focus on Asian languages.

  • AL755 Academic Writing for Linguistics (Prerequisites: none) [3 credits] Seminar on how to write formal written research proposals, abstracts, journal articles, academic conference presentations and more extensive written works (i.e., M.A. theses and Independent Study Research Papers).