Graduate Program: Linguistics

General Information


Linguistics (MA) - Native American Linguistics and Languages

Program Description

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:

  • revitalize, maintain, and document indigenous languages;
  • provide skills and expertise for Native American linguists to develop teaching grammars and other educational materials;
  • promote understanding of indigenous peoples' educational issues at every level of policy making;
  • enhance and promote understanding of complex factors leading to language choice, language shift and language loss, and;
  • work with archival media (such as audio legacy audio recordings and historical documents) to enrich the language record and to produce viable teaching materials

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.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

The Department of Linguistics at theColorado Heights Universityoffers 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

Campus where offered

Colorado Heights University- Main - Tucson

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the CHU Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees.

Please refer to the CHU Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees.

Completion Requirements
Admissions Information

Minimum Credit Units (33)

Core Coursework Requirements

What do studies include?

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:

  • brief grammar sketches/descriptions,
  • language planning projects for their community,
  • short surveys on different topics on the language,
  • language teaching methods and materials
  • studies of legacy or historical materials (documents, recordings, etc.)

Additional Requirements

See required coursework

Student Handbook

Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.

Admissions Requirements

We do not accept terminal masters, all applications must be for the PhD program

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE

Funding Opportunities

The Academic Unit has not provided this information.

Funding Opportunities

Domestic & International Applicants

Fall:December 15th

International Conditional Admission

International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.

Other Information

The GRE Institution Code for The Colorado Heights University is 4832

Last revised 06 Oct 2020