Jul 04, 2022  
2020-2021 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics, MA


Professor Leonard, PhD, Graduate Program Director, 516-463-5440
Associate Professor Gales, PhD, Program Adviser

Linguistics is the systematic, scientific study of language. “Forensic linguistics” refers to linguistics applied to any use of language with legal relevance. This master’s level graduate program in linguistics: forensic linguistics is designed to meet a growing demand for advanced training in scientific language analysis. The program instructs students in the science of linguistics, and trains them in practical applications of linguistic theory to analytical problems, specifically in the legal arena. In addition to teaching the core linguistic tools of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, dialectology and discourse analysis, the program includes specific training in the practical application of these tools to legal investigations, trials, analysis of contracts, statutes, etc. Thus, the program teaches linguistics, and whenever possible the language data used for instruction are forensic.

The program prepares students to continue for a PhD in theoretical or applied linguistics or a related field; or for public and private sector employment in the United States and internationally in careers relating to or associated with law, law enforcement, and the forensic sciences.

Graduates of the program will be able to seek employment in organizations requiring professionals with research and linguistic skills, and in any field in which people work with language, including government and academic institutions, business, industry and communications.

The program combines a broad-based academic experience with applied workshops and internship opportunities so that, upon graduation, students are prepared to bring to their workplace an array of skills and experience in the analysis of language in legal and other real-world settings.

Admission Requirements


  1. Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  2. Two letters of recommendation.
  3. Interview with program director (in person, by phone or via videoconference).
  4. Written statement of professional interests and goals or an academic essay.

Applicants to the MA will ideally have completed a BA with a specialization in linguistics or a related field that contained a strong language analysis component. Applications are also invited from students with a background in other disciplines allied to forensic linguistics. Students who do not have a recent or sufficient level of linguistic training, if accepted, will be required to take an additional undergraduate introductory course in linguistics. Students can satisfy this requirement by taking an undergraduate Introduction to Linguistics course 1) at an accredited institution other than Hofstra prior to the MALFL program start date, 2) at Hofstra during a summer session prior to the MALFL program start date, if offered, or 3) at Hofstra during the first semester of the MALFL program in addition to the student’s regular MALFL courses. Students must earn a B+ or better to satisfy this requirement. The Introduction to Linguistics course is preparation and will not count as part of the student’s 36 required credit hours for the MALFL program. Please contact the Linguistics Adviser for more information about this requirement.

Program Requirements - Total Semester Hours: 36


The program requires 36 s.h. of graduate-level courses. Full-time students can complete the program in two years. Part-time students can complete the program in three years. The program is composed of three components: the core curriculum, electives, and capstone requirements.

Core Curriculum Courses - Semester Hours: 24


Elective Courses - Semester Hours: 6


Two courses from the following:

Capstone Requirements - Semester Hours: 6


LING 290 Internship and LING 303 Capstone or LING 290 Internship and LING 301 Master’s Essay. (Students may be permitted to enroll in LING 301 thesis with the approval of a linguistics advisor.)

  • Semester Hours: 1-3
  • (LING 290 may be repeated once for elective credit for a total of 6 semester hours toward the degree.)

  • and one of the following:

  • Semester Hours: 1-3
  • (Students who do not complete the LING 303 Capstone Project within the semester they first registered for it, must re-register for one credit of LING 303 each subsequent semester until they complete their capstone. The additional semester hours do not count toward any degree requirements.)

  • or

  • Semester Hours: 1-3
  • (Students who do not complete the LING 301 Master’s Essay within the semester they first registered for it, must re-register for one credit of LING 301 each subsequent semester until they complete their thesis. The additional semester hours do not count toward any degree requirements.)

Good Standing Requirements


Students must maintain a B average with no more than one C per semester. No more than two Cs will be counted toward the MA. Students who do not maintain a B average, or who receive a D or an F in any course, will be dismissed from the program.