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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Department of English

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Linguistics Concentration
(Graduate Catalog)

Area Coordinator: Dr. Solveig Bosse (


The Department of English at East Carolina University offers a variety of graduate courses in theoretical and applied linguistics. These courses provide an insight into the theoretical and applied areas of linguistics and function as a bridge between the humanities and the social sciences, and between language studies and other academic areas, such as anthropology, education, and speech and hearing sciences.

Our Linguistics graduate students help organize the annual TALGS (TESOL and Applied Linguistics Graduate Students) conference, which provides graduate students and TESOL/TEFL professionals a forum to showcase their research and teaching practices.

You can contact Dr. Solveig Bosse ( if you have any questions about required coursework or the program in general. On admission, you will be initially advised by Dr. Solveig Bosse; as your research interests begin to focus, you will choose an advisor in your area of interest.

Coursework and Other Requirements

For questions regarding coursework and requirements, please contact Dr. Solveig Bosse (

Choose one research methods course from the following (3 s.h.)
ENGL 6009 Research Methods in Language Study
ENGL 6702 Research Methods in Technical and Professional Communication
ENGL 6805 Research: The Writer's Perspective
ENGL 7005 Bibliography & Methods
ENGL 7601 Research Design in Rhetoric and Composition

Required course (3 s.h.)
ENGL 7530 Descriptive Linguistics

Select five courses from the following (15 s.h)
ENGL 6505 Linguistic and Cultural History of the English Language 
ENGL 6526 The Structure of English: Phonology and Morphology
ENGL 6527 The Structure of English: Syntax and Semantics
ENGL 6528 Teaching English as a Second Language: Theories and Principles 
ENGL 6529 Applied Linguistics for ESL Teachers
ENGL 6531 TESL: Methods and Practicum
ENGL 7525 Language and Society
ENGL 7535 Principles of Language Testing 
ENGL 7565 Linguistics, Education, and ESL
ENGL 7605 Discourse Analysis
ENGL 7680 Writing Systems of the World

Electives  (6 s.h.)
English courses outside the concentration or from another department.ENGL 7565: Linguistics, Education, and ESL can be used as a directed reading course to prepare for the CAP.
Note: Students wishing to receive a graduate teaching assistantship must complete ENGL 6625 Teaching Composition: Theory and Practice.

Thesis or Comprehensive Assessment Project Requirement (6 s.h.)
A. The Comprehensive Assessment Project (CAP) and additional coursework in English consists of an annotated bibliography and a synthesis paper. When prepared, the student presents the project to the CAP committee during a scheduled exam. Following the presentation, committee members ask questions related to the project. The CAP demonstrates the student's ability (1) to examine field literature critically and reflectively; and (2) to evaluate the project's findings in the larger context of knowledge gained through his or her coursework.

For the annotated bibliography the student chooses a field-related topic of interest, formulates a research question, and finds, through library research, at least twenty sources directly related to his or her research question. The sources consist of current full-length articles published in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and/or books. Dissertation abstracts are not acceptable. Foundational work on a given topic, regardless of the date of publication, is admissible. All sources have to be approved by the student's CAP committee before the student begins annotating them. The annotated bibliography follows the APA citation format. It is prefaced by an introduction giving the student's rationale for the project.

For the synthesis paper, the student writes a cover paper synthesizing the information learned from research. The student clearly shows how this research has informed his or her response to the research question. The student draws conclusions and, where relevant, considers practical implications of his or her findings. The paper is 7-10 pages (cc. 2,000-2,500 words) in length.

B. The Thesis requires 6 s.h. of thesis (ENGL 7000), and is recommended for those who plan to continue their studies in a PhD program. The Thesis option requires a Prospectus Meeting with the Thesis Committee and an Oral Defense of the completed Thesis.  A full description of thesis requirements is provided by the Department of English graduate studies office or e-mail