Suspension of the Applied Linguistics Concentration

Admission to the Applied Linguistics Concentration - PhD in English is temporarily suspended. We will explore creative ways to reimagine and reintegrate this program.

You may also be interested in our master's degrees in linguistics and TESOL. See our list of academic programs or request information below.

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One of the few of its kind in the U.S., Ball State’s PhD in applied linguistics prepares students to teach on the college level, conduct research into modern and ancient languages, consult in multicultural workplaces, and serve in medical, legal, and educational environments. Many students decide to focus their doctorates by adding a cognate or certificate. 

Learning outcomes include:

  • a deep understanding of languages as an organized, interrelated system with multiple subsystems
  • the ability to apply linguistic methodologies to analyze language (English and other languages)
  • the skills to recognize and interpret differences across speech communities in language use
  • awareness of cross-cultural difference and respect for diversity
  • the ability to conduct a scientific research project and produce a quality research paper

Ultimately, you will become an expert in your research topic and start taking leadership.

Our Alumni

Learn more about what our graduate-program alumni do.

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What Can You Do with an English Major?

We’re asked this question all the time. Our answer: A lot. You will learn skills that transfer across hundreds of possible careers and industries—some of which may not even exist yet. Our graduates go on to work in marketing, publishing, non-profit fundraising, speechwriting, as well as in countless other fulfilling occupations.

Explore Careers

A student and a professor working together.

Program Requirements

This PhD program includes core courses in applied linguistics, directed electives, and a doctoral dissertation.

Credits Required

Total Graduate Study: 90 (58 for the PhD program)

  • core courses: 12
  • directed electives: 18
  • electives: 15
  • research requirement: 3
  • dissertation: 10

Master’s Degree Credits

Up to 32 credits from the master’s degree may apply to the total of 90 credits for the doctoral degree.


Students who have not taken both an introductory linguistics course and a research course (or done equivalent work) must take ENG 520 or an additional three credits of ENG 601 Research in English Studies; however, these courses are not included in the remaining 48 credits of core coursework required for graduation.


A few of the classes you may take include:

  • Research in English Studies
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Meaning and Structure in English 

We also offer open-topic courses in linguistics and applied linguistics. Some of the courses offered are:

  • Linguistics and Digital Communication
  • Bilingualism and Language Contact
  • Language and Gender
  • Psycholinguistics

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

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Comprehensive Examinations

At the completion of coursework, students take a written comprehensive exam. An oral exam follows the written exam.


Candidates must complete a dissertation on an original topic under the guidance of a committee of faculty. The dissertation requires registration for 10 credits in DISS 799. On completion of the dissertation, students stand a final oral examination between one and two hours in length.

Foreign Language

Knowledge of two languages other than English is required—typically, four semesters of coursework or being a native speaker.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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