The NAMA degree program is oriented towards community language activists who wish to train in the kinds of skills and experience needed to work on maintaining, revitalizing, and documenting their native languages. Students interested in NAMA can either be speakers or second language learners of their language, or ones who have studied a particular Native American language and have close contact with that language community. The specialized nature of this degree focuses on indigenous languages and meeting the needs of Native American communities: due to the rapid decline in the use of heritage languages tribal communities have pressed for practical linguistic training to:
We are also open to other community-oriented objectives and projects. Additionally, NAMA students are encouraged to participate in the life of the Linguistics Department and other university departments (Anthropology, American Indian Studies). There are many opportunities to enrich their experiences and professional network through interacting with other students, professors and researchers who have similar goals and interests – there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon.
Students complete the degree in one academic year plus one summer doing coursework at the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI). The NAMA program also often serves a stepping stone for those students who wish to advance to the Ph.D. level in linguistics or related disciplines.
The Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona offers undergraduate and graduate programs in linguistics and human language technology. Our faculty has research specializations in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, represented by diverse interests in a variety of languages. We also offer unique programs in Native American linguistics. The department trains students for careers in teaching, research, and industry, and is equipped with a variety of laboratory facilities.
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
There are two major requirements in order to be admitted to the NAMA program:
Prospective applicants must have a 3.0 or higher GPA in order to qualify for admission.
Statement of Intent
Applicants must submit a concise statement of intent demonstrating their academic goals, career goals, and why a graduate degree in linguistics would help him/her pursue these goals.
Applicants must provide a writing sample to demonstrate their level and proficiency of writing.
The GRE is recommended, but not required to the MA in Native American Languages and Linguistics Program.
English proficiency is one of the requirements for admission for all applicants whose native language is not English. Applicants must submit a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 on the paper-based test (PB), 79 on the internet-based test (iBT), or a IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 7 (no subject area below a score of 6). International students seeking graduate teaching assistantships must attain the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score listed above, and in addition must attain a score of 26 or higher on the speak portion of the TOEFL IBT.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from letter writers who know the student’s work, specifically assessing student’s ability to carry out graduate work in linguistics. Applicants are encouraged to submit letters of recommendation from professors who are familiar with the applicant's recent academic work.
Required GRE Subject tests:
Recommended GRE Subject tests:
Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative:
Minumum GRE Written:
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
The NAMA program is designed to be completed in as little as 15 months, and begins as a summer admit program: during the first summer session the student completes coursework in the AILDI. Here they focus on language materials development, working with language archives, teaching methods, and other relevant Native American language and linguistics topics.
In the fall and spring semesters, the student enrolls in the core course of the program, Workshop on Descriptive Linguistics, LING 597A for 4 credits each semester. The Workshop courses consist of lectures and laboratory work on indigenous languages, particularly the student's heritage language, and provides the opportunity to interact with other students in both the NAMA program, but also Anthropology and American Indian Studies.
The Native American Linguistics and Language's Master's consists of a minimum of 26 units and a 6 unit thesis. For other required course and electives, please see the Graduate Student Handbook page 27. Potential topics for the thesis include:
LING 500 - Linguistics for Non-majors
LING 503 - Foundations of Syntactic Theory
LING 507 - Statistical Analysis for Linguistics
LING 508 - Computational Techniques for Linguistics
LING 510 - Foundations of Phonological Theory I
LING 515 - Phonological Phonetics
LING 521 - Language Maintenance, Preservation, and Revitalization
LING 522 - Lexical Semantics
LING 527 - Introduction to Linguistics for Native American Communities
LING 535 - Morphology
LING 544 - Typology and Universals
LING 545A - Structures of Non-Western Languages
LING 576 - Language in Culture
LING 580 - Historical and Comparative Linguistics
LING 583 - Sociolinguistics
LING 588 - Linguistic Elicitation and Documentation
LING 696J - Topics in Native American Languages and Linguistics
Must complete 6 thesis units.
LING 910 MA Thesis
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.