McCall MacBain Scholarships - Master’s and Professional Programs

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MA Program

2.1 MA requirements and timing

2.2 The MA research paper

2.3 Academic advising and supervision



2.1 MA requirements and timeline 

The MA is a non-thesis degree which requires three terms of course work, consisting of 8 approved 3-credit courses at the 500, 600 or 700 level, plus two courses dedicated to MA research (6 credits), plus two Graduate research seminars (6 credits) and a research paper/project (9 credits). (Total = 45 credits; minimum load is 12 credits per term for the first 3 terms.)

The official up-to-date requirements of the MA program are posted on McGill’s website under Programs, Courses and University Regulations (They can be found at For the current information at 2016-2017 see In the following, we outline the requirements with information about when to take which course. Students who started the M.A. in Fall 2015 are still eligible to follow the old program.


Research Project (15 credits)


Course name

Typically taken:

LING 605

M.A. Research 1 (3 credits)

Winter Year 1

LING 606

M.A. Research 2 (3 credits)

Fall Year 2

LING 607

Research paper (9 credits)

Winter Year 2

The courses related to the research project are similar to independent study courses, and should be taken with the M.A. Research paper supservisor(s). In those courses, the students is expected to do independent research on their research project under the guidance of their M.A. committee.


Required Courses (18 Credits)


Course name

Typically taken:

LING 601*

Graduate Seminar 1 (3 credits)

Fall Year 2

LING 602*

Graduate Seminar 2 (3 credits)

Winter Year 2

LING 630

Phonetics 3 (3 credits)

Fall Year 1

LING 631

Phonology 3 (3 credits)

Fall Year 1

LING 660

Semantics 3 (3 credits)

Fall Year 1

LING 671

Syntax 3 (3 credits)

Fall Year 1

*The Graduate Seminar 1 & 2 offer an opportunity to present on on-going research on the M.A. Project, and also involve units with relevant professional training.


Complementary Courses (12 Credits)

3 credits from:


Course name

Typically taken:

LING 635

Phonetics & Phonology 4 (3 credits)

Winter Year 1

LING 665

Semantics 4 (3 credits)

Winter Year 1

LING 675

Syntax 4 (3 credits)

Winter Year 1

Note: The  4-level courses (Ling 635 Phonetics & Phonology 4, Ling 665 Semantics 4, and Ling 675 Syntax 4) are seminars and can be retaken under a different course number for additional credit, since their content varies from year to year (Ling 735, Ling 765, Ling 775, respectively).


6-9 credits in Linguistics at the 500, 600, or 700 level.

0-3 credits in a related field at the 500, 600, or 700 level.

Important: Since the M.A. Program is a credit-based program,  students needs to be registered for 12 credits in each Fall and Winter term, but should not register for more than 12 credits. There is some flexibility in when to take the Project-related courses M.A. Research 1 + 2. In case the preferred course choices conflict with taking them at the typical time, this should be discussed with the GPD. 


Flexibility for computational and quantitative students

Because students wanting to do extensive computational or quantitative work need additional training in the first two years, they can request to defer or substitute some required courses for computational courses. Computational courses can include those from COMP, LING, PSYCH, MATH or other appropriate coursework and should support the student's research goals.

Students may request to substitute up to two courses.

  • Substitute one of 630, 631, 660, 671 (the "3-level" courses) for a computational course.
  • Substitute one of 635, 665, 675 (the "4-level" courses) for a computational course.

Students may request to defer up to two courses.

  • Defer one of 630, 631, 660, 671 (the "3-level" courses) for a computational course to be taken in a later year than the first year.
  • Defer one of 635, 665, 675 (the "4-level" courses) for a computational course to be taken in a later year than the first year.

All proposed substitutions and deferrals must be discussed with the supervisor and the GPD and approved by the GPD in consultation with the department.


Deadline for Topic and Committee for MA-Project:  May 15 of Year 1 .


Deadline for Submissoin of final version of M.A. Research project: To be determined together with the M.A. supervisor. The due date should be no later than the deadline for grade submission deadline of the winter term of Year 2, since if the grade for the M.A. Research paper course is not submitted on time, the student will not be able to graduate in time and will have to register for an additional term. We strongly encourage candidates to complete the MA within 20 months, the funded period, and any delays comes with additional cost which the program will not cover. See section 5 on funding for more information.


2.2 The MA Research Paper/Project

For the MA Research Paper, students conduct independent research supervised by one or two members of the Department of Linguistics. Students are encouraged to consult with a potential supervisor well before the end of year MA1, and to take the course MA research 1 in the Winter term of the first year with a potential supservisor to develop a project. Once the supervisory arrangements have been established, students must fill out the MA Project Form (available under 'Forms' at


2.3 Academic advising and supervision of MA students

On arrival, each MA student is assigned to a designated academic adviser (first year advisor). Assignments will be determined weighing areas of expertise, workload and other factors such as sabbatical schedules. There is no commitment on the part of the student or the adviser for this relationship to continue into the MA Research Paper stage.

The designated adviser is responsible for:

  • Guiding the student through the fellowship applications process (where applicable). This includes reading students’ proposals with sufficient lead-time to make comments for revision before submission deadlines.
  • Being accessible to the student for a reasonable amount of time to discuss issues related to academic progress (i.e, outside of those purely administrative areas which fall under the mantle of the Graduate Program Director).


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