Indigenous Languages and Linguistics Master of Arts

This is a cohort program that is offered when resources allow. Students receive training for careers as language researchers, educators, and material developers, gaining expertise in communicative skills, language documentation and analysis of a particular Indigenous language. Emphasis is placed on the language in its socio-cultural and educational setting. The learning model integrates Indigenous Ways of Knowing with linguistic analysis and documentation, featuring mentorship and participation in projects in addition to formal lectures and paper writing. Courses are taught by teams of Elders and knowledge holders, and academic experts on the language.

The program is offered through a combination of SFU campus and Indigenous community-based course modules. In order to accommodate the work schedules of participants who are language teachers in public schools, or who are otherwise fully employed, courses will be offered in late afternoons, evenings and during summer breaks, in concentrated modules during fall and spring terms.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Applicants must be proficient speakers of the language (as assessed by a panel of speakers or community-appointed experts), or be advanced learners who have completed the SFU Certificate in First Indigenous Language Proficiency or the SFU Diploma in Indigenous Language Proficiency or equivalent, with a CGPA of at least 3.0. Also admissible are students who have completed a BA or BEd and have studied both the language and some linguistics. Individuals who have not completed a bachelor’s degree may be considered for admission if they have completed at least three courses (for a minimum of 12 units) in the Graduate Certificate in the Linguistics of an Indigenous Language with a CGPA of at least 3.0.

Program Requirements

This program consists of mandatory coursework in combination with either a project or a thesis, for a minimum total of 32 units. See the Academic Calendar

Students must complete all of:
LING 804 - Field Methods (3)
LING 830 - Phonetics and Phonology of an Indigenous Language (4)
LING 831 - Morphology and Syntax of an Indigenous Language (4)
LING 832 - Narrative and Discourse Structure of an Indigenous Language (4)
LING 833 - Sociocultural and Cognitive Aspects of an Indigenous Language (4)
LING 834 - Effective Pedagogies and Materials Development for Indigenous Language (4)

Three units of graduate seminars from:
LING 890 - Graduate Seminar I (1) ** 
LING 891 - Graduate Seminar II (1) ** 

** Repeatable for credit where topic is different. Graduate seminars will provide workshops on graduate project writing and organization, research design, and research ethics. 

And the requirements from either the project, thesis, or coursework option.

Your Choice of Three Options

Project Option

LING 893 - Linguistics MA Project (6)
The Indigenous Linguistics MA Project is examined by two examiners. A student who fails may be permitted a second attempt. Students present the project at a final MA cohort project symposium and submit their projects to the library. Examples of suitable projects include a linguistic analysis of some aspect of the language; the production and presentation of a video that documents use of the language; a digital media project that integrates visual, audio, and textual resources in the language; an educational module for teaching the language; a museum exhibit that incorporates the language; or an annotated narrative or set of narratives transcribed, glossed, and translated into English.

Thesis Option

LING 898 - MA Thesis (18)
The MA Thesis complies with GGR 1.9-1.11 including submission to the library. Students also present the thesis research at a final MA cohort project symposium.

Coursework Option

Completion of a minimum of 32 units by completing a combination of all core INLL MA requirements and two of the following: 
LING 810 - Topics in Linguistics I  (Must be a topic focused on methods in language documentation.) ** 
LING 811 - Topics in Linguistics II ** 
LING 812 - Topics in Linguistics III ** 
LING 813 - Topics in Linguistics IV ** 
LING 896 - Directed Research ** 

** Repeatable for credit where topic is different. Graduate seminars will provide workshops on graduate project writing and organization, research design, and research ethics.

See the Academic Calendar.

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in four to six terms.