Graduate degrees in Linguistics (MA and PhD)

The Department of Linguistics offers both Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Linguistics.

We offer training in diverse theoretical frameworks as follows:

Formal Syntax Typology
Functional Grammar Corpus Linguistics
Cognitive Grammar Sociolinguistics

The department has a longstanding commitment to linguistics field work by both faculty and graduate students. Also, the faculty offers general training in linguistic analysis in a wide range of particular languages, including:

Algonquan languages (particularly Cree and Ojibwa) American Sign Language (ASL)
Michif Canadian French
Dakota English
Lushootseed (Salishan) Garifuna (Arawakan)
Persian Latin
Guaraní Hebrew
Spanish Khmer
Papuan languages (particularly Tauya) Low Alemanic

The department continues to encourage collection of primary data through fieldwork with native speakers of understudied and endangered languages, and increasingly our students are finding fruitful projects based on experimental and corpus data, which is supported by the Linguistics Lab facility.

Program requirements and course descriptions for MA and PhD programs in Linguistics can be found in the University of Manitoba Graduate Studies Calendar and Registration Guide, and on-line through Aurora. Please see our Graduate Calendar entry page for access to course descriptions. Both programs require a minimum of 18 credit hours of classroom instruction.

Masters program

The Master’s program includes coursework, the development of a thesis proposal, and the research, writing and defense of a thesis. The typical study program for Master’s students would be as follows:

  • LING 7550 Phonology (3 ch)
  • LING 7630 Syntax (3 ch)
  • LING 7900 Field Methods (6 ch)
  • 6 additional credit hours of graduate-level coursework

If the department thinks that you do not have enough linguistics background, then we may offer you a Pre-Masters program.


If you apply to our graduate program with insufficient background, we may admit you provisionally as a "Pre-Master's" student. A Pre-MA student takes classes assigned by the department's Graduate Committee, usually for a full year, full time (30 credit hours). Upon successful (B or better) completion of this coursework, they may apply to the MA program. Acceptance is not guaranteed.

The advantage of the Pre-MA scheme is that you have been enrolled as a full-time student and you are administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and thus (for international students) you may be eligible to enter the country and study on a standard student visa.

What coursework is typically taken in a Pre-MA year?

We try to tailor Pre-MA coursework to the needs and interests of the student, and also make use of available course offerings. But a typical program would include at least 30 credit hours, drawn from the equivalents of

  • LING 1200 Introduction to Linguistics (3 ch)
  • LING 1340 Semantics (3 ch)
  • LING 1380 General Phonetics (3 ch)
  • LING 2200 Syntax (6 ch)
  • LING 2460 Morphology (3 ch)
  • and 12 additional credit hours (to see the Department’s course catalogue click here)
  • and possibly others, depending on availability and your research interest.


By no means equivalent to BA coursework, 30 credit hours drawn from the above (or their equivalents) should provide the student with enough background that admission to the MA program is possible.

Doctorate Program

What coursework is typlically taken in the PhD program?

The PhD program includes coursework, two generals papers, the development of a thesis proposal, and the research, writing and defense of a thesis. The typical study program for PhD students would be as follows:

  • LING 7550 Phonology (3 ch)
  • LING 7630 Syntax (3 ch)
  • LING 7900 Field Methods (6 ch)
  • 6 additional credit hours of graduate-level coursework

If the department thinks that you do not have enough linguistics background to be offered admission for the PhD program, then we may offer you MA+ program.

If you apply to the PhD, and your Masters degree is in a related field (but not in theoretical linguistics), the Graduate Committee may recommend your admission as a 'Pre-PhD' (MA+) student. This is a special arrangement with FGS in which you are admitted to the University of Manitoba as an MA student in Linguistics, with the option to apply for transfer into the PhD program within 12 months. This gives you a chance to explore coursework in Linguistics appropriate for the MA or PhD, and gives the graduate committee time to evaluate your progress, without jeopardizing your progress to the PhD.

What coursework is typically taken in a MA+ study program?

We try to tailor MA+ coursework to the needs and interests of the student, and also make use of available course offerings. But a typical program would include 18-24 credit hours, drawn from the equivalents of:

  • LING 7550 Phonology (3 ch)
  • LING 7630 Syntax (3 ch)
  • LING 7900 Field Methods (6 ch)
  • 6-12 credit additional credit hours of graduate-level coursework

Upon successful (B or better) completion of this coursework, they may apply to the PhD program. Your coursework in MA+ program will be transferred to your PhD program. Acceptance is not guaranteed.

Is there any particular graduate training the Linguistics department does not offer?

The Linguistics department does not typically offer graduate training in the areas of language teaching* (e.g., English as Second Language) and Literature.

*Please note, the Faculty of Education offers Master of Education degree specializations in Language & Literacy, Second Language Teaching, and Curriculum, Teaching & Learning. Information about their programs (which are unrelated to the programs offered by the Department of Linguistics) can be found at the Faculty of Education's page.

Questions should be directed to the Linguistics Graduate Chair.