Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Program

Graduate Program

I already have an advanced degree. What is the policy on duplicate degrees?

UC Berkeley, in general, will not grant a second degree to someone holding an advanced degree in the same field. But, students who already hold an M.A. degree from another institution in Linguistics, or any field, and are admitted into the Linguistics Ph.D. program at Berkeley, will be granted a second M.A. upon completion of the M.A. requirements. Students who are enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Linguistics elsewhere at the time they apply to U.C. Berkeley will not be allowed to transfer Ph.D. units. If the Department of Linguistics or the Graduate Division determines from information provided on the application that a student will obtain a Linguistics-related Ph.D. degree before the date that he/she would enter our graduate program, the application will not be processed. Though the University wishes to discourage students who already hold a Ph.D. in an unrelated subject from enrolling in the Ph.D. program in Linguistics, we can petition for an exception to this policy.

What opportunities are there for exchange programs with other institutions?

Students enrolled at any University of California campus may take courses at another UC campus for credit to be applied to their home department's degree program. Students interested in this option should talk to their own department, as well as to the faculty members in our department who would be teaching the courses that are of interest to them. An application form for the Intercampus Exchange Program may be obtained from Graduate Services, 318 Sproul Hall, (510) 642-7330. Students who have maintained good standing at UC Berkeley or at Stanford University for a year of graduate study may apply to take courses through the Stanford-California Exchange Program. Doctoral students who have completed one year of studies at Berkeley are also eligible to participate in the Exchange Scholar Program which allows them to study at Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford or Yale for up to one year. More information on this program can also be obtained through Graduate Division. Graduate students who have completed at least one year at UC Berkeley may be granted permission to study abroad at most of the study centers under the Education Abroad Program. (Linguistics students are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language Area Study (FLAS) fellowships for the summer or the regular academic year in order to secure funding for foreign language study at home or abroad.) For more information on the Education Abroad Program write to: Berkeley Programs for Study Abroad, 160 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-2302, (510) 642-1356 or (510) 642-1790.

Is the Berkeley graduate program a good fit for me if I am interested in language teaching or translation?

Students whose primary interest is in the field of Applied Linguistics, especially the Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESOL or ESL) should be aware that there is no faculty specialization in this area at UC Berkeley and very little relevant coursework offered in the Department of Linguistics. (Note, however, there are some courses offered through the Education Department's Language and Literacy Program.) Linguistic programs with specialization in TESOL and other areas of Applied Linguistics are San Jose State University (San Jose, CA 94192), the University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA 90024), San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA 94132), the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109), Ohio University (Athens, OH 45701-2979), Georgetown University (Washington, D.C. 20057), and Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, IL 62901).

Students whose primary interest is in the field of language translation should consider the programs at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C. 20057) and at the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies (Monterey, CA 93940). If you wish to obtain information on other programs in Linguistics in the United States and Canada you can access the Linguistic Society of America's (LSA) web site. Questions regarding the LSA Directory of Programs in Linguistics may be addressed to LSA Secretariat,

How do I choose a field of study?

Students should choose whether or not to apply to UC Berkeley Linguistics carefully, making sure that their interests overlap to a significant degree with the expectations of the program. Having fulfilled the requirements for the M.A. in Linguistics students have more flexibility in choice of classes, since there are few additional course requirements beyond the M.A. program in our department. To have recognition for breadth of interests, it is possible to take a second M.A. in another department before proceeding to a Ph.D. Another option would be to design a unique course of study. Such an option is only available to students with a superior academic record who have completed at least two semesters of a doctoral program at UC Berkeley, working with faculty members from several departments to create an individual program, which then must meet with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate Division. It is not possible to be admitted to UC Berkeley as an "unaffiliated student". Students must first be admitted into and show success in a particular program before designing a unique course of study. It is possible, however, for a person who has not been accepted into a graduate program to take individual courses of interest. (See the section on Concurrent Enrollment.)

How do I get credit for outside work?

Students who have completed coursework relevant to our program at another institution may be allowed to apply that work toward a degree at UC Berkeley. This can be accomplished in one of two ways: either by formal transfer of credit or by waiver of requirements. After the first semester of residence at UC Berkeley a graduate student may transfer up to 4 semester units or 6 quarter units toward the M.A. program in the Department of Linguistics. This lowers the number of units necessary to complete the degree, but it does not automatically fulfill any other departmental requirements. Alternatively, work can be applied toward an M.A. at UC Berkeley through a waiver of requirements. In certain cases a required course may be waived if a student has previously completed coursework that is comparable to the corresponding course at Berkeley. Such a waiver requires the permission of the professor who normally teaches the course, as well as that of the Head Graduate Advisor. Unlike a transfer of units, this waiver will not decrease the total units of UC Berkeley coursework required for the M.A. degree. It may, however, allow the student to take more advanced courses and enable the student to receive the degree sooner.

Can I take courses without being admitted to the program?

Even if you are not enrolled in an academic department at UC Berkeley, it is possible to take many of the Linguistics courses that are offered to Berkeley students through Concurrent Enrollment, a program that is under the auspices of UC Extension. Taking Linguistics courses through this program does not imply that you have been or will be accepted into the Department of Linguistics' graduate program. If you are later accepted into the program you would not be able to transfer courses you have taken under Concurrent Enrollment towards the course load required for an M.A. degree, though it would allow you to skip certain prerequisite courses in order to take more specialized courses during the M.A. program. One advantage of taking courses through Concurrent Enrollment is that you might become more familiar with the faculty members and have a better idea of the focus of our program. For further information, contact the UC Extension Office, 1995 University Avenue, Suite #110, Berkeley, CA 94720-7000; (510) 642-4111.

Can I do coursework in the summer?

No courses required for the Linguistics M.A. are offered in the summer, only introductory undergrad linguistics courses can be taken. To obtain more information and to register for classes contact the Summer Sessions Office, 1995 University Avenue, Suite #1080, Berkeley, CA 94720-1080, (510) 642-5611. All students are encouraged to participate in one or more of the Linguistic Institutes sponsored every other summer by the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). Each Linguistic Institute features a wide range of courses, seminars, conferences, workshops, and lectures covering developments in Linguistics and related fields; Berkeley graduate students and faculty often participate. Scholarships are available from the LSA and possibly (depending on funding) from the Berkeley Department of Linguistics. For more information, write to the LSA, 1325 18th Street, NW, Suite 211, Washington, DC 20036-6501, fax (202) 835-1714, email: sends e-mail) or check their website(link is external).