Prospective MA student information

Study Linguistics at the Beach!

 The CSULB Linguistics department invites applications from local, national and international students. 

CSULB’s cultural and linguistic diversity makes it a welcoming and vibrant campus for students from all countries backgrounds. In addition to cultural programs and events sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center and International Education Office, there are also many culturally based student clubs and associations. 

Long Beach is a seaport city of 500,000 people. In addition to all the attractions of the beach, the mountains are only a 2-hour drive away, and Los Angeles is 30-45 minutes by car. 

A view of the Long Beach Shoreline      Snow covered mountains

A partial list of languages spoken in the Long Beach area includes: Khmer, Spanish, Farsi, Urdu, Hindu, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Korean, Thai, French, German, Gujarati, Hmong, Hebrew, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Arabic, Swahili, Laotian, Navajo, Amharic, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish & Portuguese. Students who speak or study these languages will benefit from rich community/cultural life.

This also makes Long Beach a living laboratory for research on almost any aspect of linguistics, from first/second language acquisition to heritage language learning, to sociolinguistics. 

For TESOL students, research on English language acquisition and pedagogy (oral and written) can be undertaken in coordination with the American Language Institute.


The Linguistics Department offers faculty excellence and course offerings in both theoretical and applied linguistics:

  • Formal Linguistics (phonetics, phonology, syntax, language documentation)
  • Sociolinguistics and Linguistic Anthropology
  • First and Second Language Acquisition

There are many opportunities to do research on faculty-led projects, and to apply for funding for collaborative summer research

At CSULB, you will find excellent financial support for student travel to present papers or posters at conferences on-campus, as well as at regional and national conference venues. You will also get strong faculty mentoring on conference presentation skills.


The Graduate Student Resource Center provides a one-stop support structure for new graduate students, with workshops and one-on-one coaching to help graduate students adjust to graduate school, learn professional skills and stay on track academically.

Support for graduate-level English language writing is available at the Graduate Student Resource Center, which has a dedicated writing specialist as well as at the University Writing Center.


University requires a TOEFL score of 550 or higher (or 213 for computer-based, or 80 for Internet-based), the CSULB Examination in ESL to be taken upon arrival, and a statement of financial support. Students not meeting language requirements may take ESL courses through American Language Institute (ALI) at CSULB to prepare themselves for admission to regular courses.

N200 students may also request an English language evaluation directly from the department in lieu of standardized testing.  


International students who need to perfect their English through coursework at the American Language Institute may apply to the Linguistics MA program and request a deferred admission that will be activated once they have reached an appropriate level at the ALI. For more information please follow this link: Deferred Admissions


CSULB offers a rigorous program with four options: General Linguistics, TESOL, Language and Culture and a Special Option. It also offers flexible options for the culminating experience. They include:

  • Comprehensive paper (normally written in one semester, approximately 30 pages long) + exam OR Thesis.
  • Ability to write Comprehensive paper or Thesis with a focus in an area outside the primary option chosen
    • Special Option allows students to build an MA program, for example in the teaching of Languages Other Than English (LOTE) or other topics.
    • Complementary course offerings in other departments can be taken (for example, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and French language and Linguistics.