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) [3 credits]

  • AL605 Grammar (Required core course) [3 credits]

  • AL608 Sociolinguistics (Required core course) [3 credits]

Semester 2: January – May

  • AL704 Field Methods in Linguistics (Required Research Methods Elective) [4 credits]

  • AL706 Linguistic Data Management (Required Research Methods Elective) [2 credits]

  • Free Elective

Summer Semester: July

  • AL732 Principles of Literacy (Elective course #3) [3 credits]

Semester 3: August – December

  • Free Elective

  • Free Elective

  • Free Elective

Semester 4: January – May

  • AL797 Independent Study [6 credits] or AL799 Thesis [12 credits]: Defend Proposal

  • AL755 Academic Writing for Linguistics or Free Elective (Recommended for everyone) [3 credits]

  • Pass Ethics Review for Research and Collect Data

Semester 5: August – December

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

  • Independent Study Oral Comprehensive Exam

Semester 6: January – May

  • AL797 or 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)

  • 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 about Translation and Language Development.


Core Courses:

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

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

  • AL608 Sociolinguistics [3 credits]. Study of the structure and use of language in its social and cultural contexts with a 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 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).