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What is Applied Linguistics?

The American Association for Applied Linguistics defines Applied Linguistics as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry that addresses a broad range of language-related issues in order to understand their roles in the lives of individuals and conditions in society. It draws on a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines–from the humanities to the social and natural sciences–as it develops its own knowledge-base about language, its users and uses, and their underlying social and material conditions. 

How long does it take to complete the MA?

A full-time student typically completes the MA in 2 years if s/he is only taking courses during the Spring and Fall semesters. However, part-time students typically need more time to finish the program, depending on how many courses per semester they are taking. Keep in mind that MA students have a limit of 5 years to complete their degree.

How much does it cost? 

Students can determine the cost per semester from this website or contact the Office of the Bursar for clarification (billtalk@umd.edu, Tel. 301-314-9000).

Should I choose the thesis or non-thesis option? 

The answer to this question depends on your goals. If you are planning to pursue a Ph.D. at UMD or other institutions, we recommend the thesis option. You can choose one of these options at the beginning of the program or later, until the third semester (depending on what electives you may have taken). The non-thesis option may be more convenient for those students who are not interested in further graduate work. 

What is this degree good for? 

This program is not only for people who want to become teachers of Spanish. Other career options include pursuing a Ph. D. in a related area (such as Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, Curriculum and Instruction, or Higher Education), work at companies in the fields of communications or editing services, or enter the educational administration field.

Does this program lead to teacher certification?

This program does NOT provide you with a teacher certification for USA schools K-12. If you are interested in obtaining this certificate, please refer to any of these sources:

Can I start the program in the Spring semester? 

Yes, but only if you start as a part-time student and you are not applying to a Teaching Assistantship. 

Are there assistantships available? 

Yes, but these are very competitive and the number of TAships offered varies on an annual basis.

What if my BA is from a different field or area? 

It is not necessary to have a BA in Linguistics to apply, but you should have a minimum of four (4) courses at the advanced undergraduate level in either Spanish or Latin American/US Latina/o literature, Hispanic Linguistics, or a combination of these. Please refer to the Admissions process and requirements section of our webpage

I am not a native speaker of Spanish…

This is not a problem, provided that you can demonstrate at least a low advanced (ACTFL) or C1 (CEFR) proficiency in Spanish. Keep in mind that as part of your application you will need to submit a writing sample in Spanish and participate in an oral interview. If you are not a native speaker of English, please see UMD requirements.

I am an international student…


Is there an application deadline? 


Are there study abroad opportunities? 

There are no study abroad opportunities for graduate studies. 

Can I take summer classes or online classes? 

Yes. You can take summer classes at the 400 level up to a maximum of two or as many classes as you want if these are offered above the 400 level. You can take online classes only as electives. 

Can I access a MA Spanish program’s student profile? 


Other useful links from the Graduate School

If you have any other question please email Dr. Lacorte mlacorte@umd.edu or Dr. Gironzetti elisag@umd.edu