The MA program in Linguistics explores the linguistic abilities of the human mind, including the formation of sentence structure (syntax), sentence meaning (semantics), word meaning (lexicon), sound patterns (phonology and phonetics), the acquisition of language by children, and neurolinguistics. The courses are taught by internationally renowned scholars, while students come from many backgrounds and countries, enhancing a pluralistic academic community and a lively exchange of ideas. The informal atmosphere of our relatively small department provides a nurturing learning environment, allowing for individual attention and guidance.
Theoretical linguistic research deals with the construction of an abstract model of the language faculty in the brain, viewing linguistics as an essential component of cognitive science. The department is engaged in interdisciplinary teaching and research projects with cognitive psychologists and with computer scientists. Students therefore have the option of combining the study of linguistics with the study of cognitive psychology or with computer science.
The program offers either a thesis (research) track or a non-thesis (general) track. Both tracks have three objectives: (1) to expose students to current research topics in the field (2) to engage students in scientific discourse, research methodologies and critical reasoning; (3) to train students in academic writing and the use of professional literature. The goal of the thesis track, in addition, is for students to conduct original research that contributes to the field. Both tracks are two-year programs.
Students can choose from among the various courses offered. However, all students in this track must take the Methodology course in their first year. In addition, the courses chosen must include at least one course in syntax and at least one course in semantics. All MA courses are run as seminars and require a final paper.
Overall, students in the thesis track take 24 points (6 courses of 4 points each), comprising 50% of the final grade. They also write a research thesis (12 points), comprising 50% of the final grade. Students are also required to attend the departmental seminar throughout their two years of study.
All research students are encouraged to choose an advisor and begin working on their thesis proposal (3 pages plus bibliography) before the end of their first year. Excellent students can choose a special track in Computational Linguistics, with the approval of the Computational Linguistics advisor, Prof. Ariel Cohen. This track includes the following three courses from Computer Science: Introduction to Computer Science, Data Structure, and a course in Natural Language Processing, with no need for additional prerequisites. The courses in Data Structure and NLP count as 8 points toward the MA degree.
Students can choose from among the various courses offered. Students in this track take 36 points (9 courses of 4 points each), comprising 80% of the final grade, plus a final take-home exam (comprising 20% of the final grade). The exam integrates materials from the courses which the students have studied in the MA program.
The department also offers a combined track of literature and linguistics. In this track, the students take 36 points (9 courses of 4 points each) in which both linguistics and literature courses are represented (a minimum of 8 points for each field, a maximum of 24 points). Up to 8 points are designated courses for this track. This track combines advanced courses in Literature and Linguistics and is particularly suitable for English teachers whose BA studies covered both areas and who are interested in both fields. Students write a final take-home exam by the end of their second year in the program.