5.2 Concurrent BA in Linguistics and MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics Degree Program Requirements

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A concurrent B.A. in Linguistics and M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics offers well-qualified students the opportunity for accelerated study, achieving both degrees within a 5-year time frame. A student enrolled in this program pursues a graduate M.A. degree while simultaneously completing the requirements for the B.A. in Linguistics. Completing the concurrent degree program would enable students to enter the workforce one year earlier than through the traditional M.A. degree pathway. Up to six credits can be double-counted toward the requirements for both degrees. Students applying for the concurrent degree program should be motivated, focused, and able to handle a 16+ credit hour/semester schedule.

5.2.1 Eligibility (all qualifications must be met to apply)

  • A minimum 45 credits in undergraduate program completed
  • Two years of ISU foreign language study or bilingualism demonstrated by an approved language test (completed or in progress)
  • At least 12 credits of Linguistics courses completed with a major GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • A minimum cumulative ISU GPA of 3.0

5.2.2 Timeline

Students should know by the middle of their sophomore year if they are interested in pursuing the concurrent program. We recommend that students plan ahead and notify the Director of Linguistics, John Levis (lingdirector@iastate.edu) as soon as they know of their intent to apply for the concurrent degree; if possible, the linguistics director should be notified of intent to pursue the concurrent degrees by the end of the 4th semester.

Students interested in concurrent enrollment should talk with the linguistics director about plans to apply for the concurrent program by no later than the end of the 6th semester) by submitting the concurrent enrollment application materials (listed below).

If accepted into the concurrent enrollment program, students should begin taking graduate courses (by the onset of the fourth year of study). Students accepted into the concurrent enrollment program will continue to work with the undergraduate linguistics director until the BA degree requirements are met. By the onset of the fifth year of study, students should have identified an area for their thesis/creative component and established a program of study committee (including a major professor).

Students become full-time graduate students upon acceptance into the concurrent degree program and are assessed graduate tuition and fees. Students are eligible for research assistantships upon entry into the concurrent degree program, although it should be noted that these opportunities are rare. Students are eligible to apply for a teaching assistantship early in the student’s 8th semester once it is determined that all requirements for the BA degree will be met by the end of the spring semester. The TA application deadline for current students in English Department graduate programs is January 15th. TA selection will follow the standard procedures for the department.

5.2.3 Admission Criteria

The admission criteria are generally the same as those required for all graduate students in the department. Application materials are reviewed by the linguistics director and/or graduate faculty in linguistics, the department’s Director of Graduate Education (DOGE), and the department chair. Their recommendations are forwarded to the ISU Graduate College.

5.2.4 Application deadline and how to apply

As early as possible (no later than the end of the 6th semester), talk with the linguistics director about your interests and plans.

The following components make up a student’s application and must be submitted by the end of their 6th semester:

  1. Complete the form called Concurrent Enrollment for Undergraduate Student Wishing to Pursue a Graduate Certificate or Degree found on the Graduate College Student Forms website (https://www.grad-college.iastate.edu/student/forms/).
  2. The following documents should be prepared as one combined PDF document in the following order:
    • Write a statement of purpose, usually 1-2 pages, explaining why you want to pursue the M.A. TESL/Applied Linguistics degree
    • Provide at the end of the statement of purpose or as a separate page the names of three ISU Linguistics professors who agreed to serve as your referees. It is your responsibility to download and provide them with the Letter of Reference Form and ask them to send the completed form directly to the English Department Graduate Program Administrative Assistant at englgrad@iastate.edu.
    • A resume
    • Create a curriculum plan with the linguistics director, who works closely with members of the graduate faculty
    • A 10-page minimum doubled-spaced and word-processed writing sample (which can be a paper that demonstrates critical analysis and research skills, written for an undergraduate course at ISU).

Submit both of the above documents to the English Department Graduate Program Administrative Assistant via email at englgrad@iastate.edu.

Once an admissions decision is made by the program, the Concurrent Enrollment for Undergraduate Student Wishing to Pursue a Graduate Certificate or Degree form will be sent to the Graduate College for consideration and official ISU approval. If approved, the Admissions Office enters the student’s application for graduate study. The application fee of $60 will be charged to the domestic applicant’s u-bill; the application fee of $100 will be charged to the international applicant’s u-bill.

Upon admission, applicants will receive departmental admission letters and official ISU admissions letters the same as other graduate program applicants.

5.2.5 Degree Requirements and Curriculum Plans

Curriculum plan BA in Linguistics

CoursesCredits
300+ level undergraduate coursesVarious45
Core credits in the major6 graduate credits can double count with graduate degree requirements36
English communication9
Foreign language12-16
General education9.0 credits in A&H
9.0 credits in SS
8.0 credits in NS
3.0 credits in Math
29
*Possible electives305, 275, 286, 319, 320 (not computers and language), 422, 309 Spanish LING, ASL LING, 318, 322, 324, 325, 425
TOTAL CREDITS120 CREDITS
*6 credits (including 510) can count as electives in the BA degree

Curriculum plan MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics

CoursesCredits
PrerequisitesEngl 220 (taken for BA)
Engl 219 (taken for BA)
Engl 510 (counts as elective in BA)
Core / Applied AspectsEngl 512
Engl 514
Engl 519
Engl 524
Engl 525
15
PracticumEngl 500 or 588; or Sp Cm 5133
ElectivesEngl 510 (can count as MA elective)9
Thesis/Creative ComponentEngl 699 or Engl 5993
*Concurrent students can count a maximum of 6 credits towards both degrees.

Five-year plan for Concurrent BA in Linguistics and MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics

The table below is just one example of how the courses can be laid out in this five-year concurrent degree program.

FALLCreditsSPRINGCredits
First Year (Freshman)Engl 150
LIB 160
LING 119
Psych 131
World Languages
Gen Ed (Natural Sci)
3
1
3
1
3-4
4
ENGL 250
Gen Ed (Statistics)
LING 219
World Language
LING 101
Gen Ed (A&H)
3
4
3
3-4
1
3
Total 15-16Total 17-18
Second Year (Sophomore)LING 220
LING 207
World Language
Gen Ed (Social Sci)
Gen Ed (A&H)
Other for Undergrad
3
3
3-4
3
3
3
LING Elec (319 or 422)
LING 413
World Langauge
Gen Ed (Natural Sci)
Gen Ed (Social Sci)
3
3
3-4
4
3
Total 18-19Total 16-17
STUDY ABROADA summer study abroad can add up to 9 credits. It is best if they can be transferred back as 300+ level credits. This will ease the stress in one or more semesters if the student plans carefully.A semester study abroad will ad 12+ credits. Again, keeping those credits at the 300+ level is most helpful. To stay within the 5-year time frame, a student would need to take at least 15-18 credits.
Third Year (Junior)LING 420
LING 300+ Elec
LING 437
Gen Ed (A&H)
Other 300+
3
3
3
3
3
LING 371
LING 300+ Elec
LING 320 (Comp Ling)
Gen Ed (Social Sci)
Other 300+
Other for Undergrad
3
3
3
3
3
3
Total 15Total 18
Fourth Year (Senior/MA)Other 300+
Other 300+
LING 510
LING 524 or 525
LING 512, 514 or 500+
3
3
3
3
3
ENGL 314
Other for Undergrad
Other for Undergrad
LING 519
LING 512, 514 or 500+
3
3
3
3
3
Total 15Total 15
Fifth Year (MA)LING 524 or 525
LING 588
LING512, 514, or 500+
3
3
3
LING 512, 514, or 500+
Engl 599/699
3
3
Total 9Total 6
*500+ refers to a graduate elective

5.2.6 Curricular Policies and Guidelines

Transferring concurrent credits

After admission to a concurrent program, all courses taken during the concurrent status are placed on the graduate permanent record (transcript). After each concurrent term, the student must initiate a form called “Transfer of Courses for Concurrent B.S./Graduate,” which lists all courses to be transferred off the graduate permanent record to the undergraduate permanent record (transcript). The credits transferred are no longer available for use on the graduate program of study. However, the courses and grades will still appear on the graduate permanent record but will not be included in the graduate GPA. This form must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Linguistics, John Levis (lingdirector@iastate.edu), the undergraduate college dean, and the Dean of the Graduate College (in that order).

If a student does not yet have a B.S. or B.A. degree, a graduate degree is not granted until the bachelor’s degree is awarded.

Only students in concurrent degree programs may apply, subject to Program of Study committee approval, up to 6 ISU credits used to fulfill the requirements for a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree program of study. These double-counted courses must be clearly marked on the “Transfer of Courses for Concurrent B.S./Graduate” form. These graduate credits may only double count while the student is a concurrent student.

Language Requirement

Satisfying the MA TESL/AL Language Requirement may require additional coursework. The spirit of this requirement is that students, before they graduate, will have had a language-learning experience either in the recent past or concurrent with working toward their degree. All students are required to submit a Language Requirement Form indicating how this requirement is to be met signed by your assigned program adviser or major professor and submitted to the Graduate Program Staff Assistant for approval by the Director of Graduate Education in order to receive acknowledgement on your official academic record that a language requirement has been met.

Native speakers of English

The following are the most typical ways for native speakers of English to fulfill the requirement. Students who believe they have fulfilled the requirement in other ways should write a petition to DOGE explaining their situation. To satisfy the language requirement, students must

  • have completed one year (or its equivalent) of college-level study in a single foreign language with a grade of B or higher, as shown on a transcript, no more than ten (10) years before beginning graduate work in the TESL/Applied Linguistics program; students who finished at least one year of college-level language study more than ten (10) years before beginning graduate work in TESL/Applied Linguistics must complete one semester of college-level study of any foreign language with a grade of B or higher, concurrent with working toward the degree OR
  • complete one year or its equivalent of college-level study in a single foreign language, with a grade of B or higher in the second semester, concurrent with working toward the degree OR
  • demonstrate proficiency in a single foreign language by means of a CLEP exam available through the College Board equivalent to one year of college-level study OR
  • provide clear evidence of a bilingual background
Nonnative speakers of English

Nonnative speakers of English must pass the English Placement Test (EPT) as a graduate student or qualify for one of the EPT exemptions (see exemption information on their website); if students fail the EPT, they will be required to take and pass English classes.

All graduate students in the TESL/Applied Linguistics MA program whose first language is not English are required to pass the OECT as part of their program requirements. To pass, students must achieve a Level 1 certification or may be exempted from taking one or both of the OECT components. Check the OECT website for further information.

5.2.7 The Program of Study Committee and the POSC Form

Students should refer to  The Program of Study Committee and POSC Form (Concurrent MA) to begin establishing who their POS Committee members will be. See this section for more details and information on the POS Committee requirements and deadline for forming your POS Committee and submitting the Program of Study and Committee Form (POSC).

5.2.8 Final Oral Defense of the Thesis or Creative Component (Final Oral Examination)

Students should refer to Guidelines for Thesis and Creative Component (Concurrent MA) as soon as they begin to establish their POS Committee and share their research interests. See the section on Graduation for more details and information on finishing up as well as resources with links to very helpful information.