Top 20 Best Colleges for a Degree in Linguistics Online

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Linguistics is the study of language and several aspects of language including the structure, history, and many others. Language is one thing that impacts close to every other part of human life. That makes a degree in linguistics a great foundation for many different graduate courses of study. Linguistics is already incredibly interdisciplinary by nature.

Are you looking to earn a linguist degree online? If you are looking for an online degree program centered around linguistics, a degree in English, linguistics, or really any other language is going to lay a strong foundation for whatever you’d like to do next. That may be to:

  • teach
  • practice law
  • work in psychology
  • public relations
  • marketing
  • business
  • journalism
  • many other career fields

In this college ranking, we’ve collected a diverse range of programs that cover linguistics, some aspect of language, English as a whole, and even some foreign languages in order to present to you the top 20 best online degrees in linguistics programs available online that are related to a degree in linguistics.

Because classes covered in linguistics and peripherally-related subjects center on a lot of reading and writing, it is a great degree to choose to earn as an online degree for linguistics. Video lectures, discussion boards, virtual classrooms, and several other technological features are used to deliver these courses. That puts the power to earn your degree in linguistics right at your fingertips.

Linguistics students can study areas such as:

  • foreign language
  • native languages
  • human languages
  • English as a second language
  • linguistic analysis
  • computational linguistics
  • creative writing
  • language processing

Online courses can be self-paced or follow a particular schedule and have regular meetings the same way that traditional courses might. Some programs offer accelerated formats. That way you can earn your degree in linguistics faster. Some will have part-time formats for those who may not have the same amount of time to dedicate to their studies each day.

Other things you may encounter in your search for a distance learning experience are degree tracks that offer most or some of their courses over the computer. There are still some things that require you to travel to campus. Fully online and hybrid programs related to linguistics and language were all included in the research process for this college ranking. The 20 best-scoring schools are presented below according to the following.


All different types of linguistics online programs were taken into account in the creation of this article. This includes related subjects and various levels of degrees. All schools were scored out of a possible 200 points. All of the schools considered must be fully accredited, based in the United States, and any type of institution that is not-for-profit. We have scored all of the schools in the United States that offer fully online or hybrid degree programs in linguistics and language according to the following:

  • 50% Freshman Retention Rate
  • 50% Graduation Rate

After these two rates were collected, the summary was used to determine the final score. The top twenty highest scoring schools were compiled into a list. They are now presented in the article below. All of the information used in creating this article was gathered from sources such as:

  • the school’s and program’s websites (whenever it was provided)
  • U.S. News & World Report
  • the database of the National Center for Education Statistics

Due to incomplete data, there may some schools that are not represented here that otherwise would have ranked if the information we required was available. It is important to note that OnlineCollegePlan does not receive any compensation based on the rank a school is awarded. Additionally, no schools are given any preferential treatment in the creation of our rankings. The methodology outlined above would allow anyone to draw the same conclusion.

If any two schools received the same score, the alphabetical ordering of their names was used to determine their final standing in the list. If you like this ranking but are not sure you’re interested in online linguistics degrees or exactly what area of study you’re interested in, you can check out our Top 100 Best Online Colleges ranking to explore some more options.

20: Arizona State University

ASU, Online Degree Programs, Online College, Online courses, online masters, online master degrees, online bachelor's degree

Arizona State University is a public research university that spreads out over the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona. It was originally established as the Territorial Normal School in 1885. The name changed a number of times. The institution operated as a teacher-training school until 1945. Then it became Arizona State College, a title that was better-suited to the new direction the college was taking. University status followed shortly in 1958. This led to the final shift in the name of the university to its current title. It is typically abbreviated to just ASU. The university today is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is one of the largest public universities in the country based on student population. It currently serves an impressive 79,232 students on campus and 61,572 students online. ASU offers over 800 programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels through its 16 colleges and schools. The Carnegie Foundation has classified the school as an R1 institution. That is the highest distinction they award to research universities. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Arizona State as the most innovative school in America for the past three years.

Arizona State University offers two graduate online linguistics degree programs. They are the Master of Arts in Linguistics and a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics. Both degree in linguistics options are available entirely online and asynchronously. You can complete your coursework at a time that’s convenient to you while earning your degree in linguistics. They both require students to take the core classes of American English and Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis. Apart from that, the online degrees in linguistics are quite different. The general linguistics curriculum covers topics like:

  • syntax
  • approaches to research
  • semantics
  • phonetics
  • phonology

In addition, you will take several advanced studies courses in topics relevant to your interests. Some of these options include:

  • Historical Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Discourse Analysis

The Applied Linguistics program draws courses from other areas within the field like:

  • World Englishes
  • English Language Policy
  • Second Language Acquisition

The core curriculum includes:

  • Methods for Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Language Testing and Assessment
  • Curriculum Design

The Applied Linguistics track is a great prerequisite to a teaching career or doctorate-level degree in education. Students can choose to complete a thesis, or an applied project in the non-thesis track for a degree in linguistics online.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 86.2%
Graduation Rate: 66.9%
Final Score: 88/200

19: University of New Orleans

University of New Orleans

The University of New Orleans is among the best colleges for linguistics. UNO is a public research university and member of the University of Louisiana System. It sits on a lakefront campus in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1956, New Orleans was the largest metropolitan area in the country that had yet to establish a public university. Senator Theodore Hickey created the institution that would become UNO. Louisiana State University in New Orleans was officially founded in 1956. It didn’t begin admitting students until 1958. When the LSU System was established in 1962, the university became part of that system. It continued to expand its academic offerings. It was also the first racially integrated public university in the South. After several decades it became the University of New Orleans. It remained part of the LSU System until it transferred to its current system. UNO is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. A degree level of bachelors, masters, and doctorates are offered through its constituents. Those include:

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Human Development
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Sciences

Nearly 7,000 students are pursuing an education at UNO.

The University of New Orleans offers an online Master of Arts in English with optional concentrations in Literary Studies or Rhetoric and Professional Writing. While that is a related degree, the university is ranked here for its Master of Arts in Romance Languages. The MA in Romance Languages offers students the choice to focus on Spanish or French, and has two concentrations:

  • Literature
  • Language, Culture, and Civilization

The thesis option consists of 30 credit hours and the non-thesis option consists of 33. Classes are delivered asynchronously. There are no on-campus requirements in this degree program. There are three start dates throughout the year, in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Some courses you will have the opportunity to take based on your chosen language, concentration, or area of personal interest include:

  • Spanish or French Linguistics
  • Studies in French Literature
  • Contemporary Hispanic Society
  • Introduction to Translation and Interpreting
  • Romance Linguistics
  • Romance Literatures and Film

Not every course is offered by the department each semester. You’re also allowed to take courses from another department as long as they’re at the appropriate level.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 36%
Final Score: 100/200

18: University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a land-, sea-, and space-grant public research university in Fairbanks, Alaska. The university was established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. It can trace its roots back to 1906 when a federal agricultural experiment station opened in Fairbanks. When classes began in 1922, there were 16 different courses and just six students. It became the University of Alaska in 1935. It tacked Fairbanks to the end of its name a few decades later. It is a flagship campus of the University of Alaska System. It also houses nine colleges and schools. These are the:

  • College of Engineering and Mines
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Natural Science and Mathematics
  • College of Rural and Community Development
  • Graduate School
  • School of Education
  • School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
  • School of Management
  • School of Natural Resources and Extension

There are close to 200 different programs of study in 120 different disciplines. UAF confers degrees at all academic levels. It serves a student body of roughly 7,400. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is home to the system’s eLearning and Distance Education initiative. For the field of linguistics, there isn’t a particularly extensive offering. One of the minors that is available entirely online is a Minor in Spanish, which you can apply to any one of the several degrees offered. There is also a Bachelor’s Degree Completion program online in Interdisciplinary General Studies. This allows students to choose the courses that are going to make the most sense for their goals whether they include a graduate degree or going straight into their professional life. This program would allow you to sort of create your own linguistics online degree major based on course offerings. Relevant courses that are currently available online that you could explore include:

  • Individual, Society, and Culture
  • French
  • Latin
  • German
  • World Literature

If you’d be comfortable taking some of your classes face-to-face, UAF offers hybrid programs in:

  • foreign languages
  • native languages
  • linguistics
  • applied linguistics
  • native language education

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 34%
Final Score: 100/200

17: Texas A&M University–Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce is typically referred to as Commerce. It is a public research university in Commerce, Texas. It is part of the Texas A&M University System. Like many universities in the public sector, Commerce first opened as a teacher-training institution or normal school. In 1889 it was established as East Texas Normal College. The state of Texas acquired the school and changed the name to East Texas State Normal College to reflect its newfound status as a public college in 1917. The name would change three more times before it was admitted into the TAMU System under its current name. Graduate programs were introduced in 1935 and the first doctorate in 1962. Now, bachelors, masters, and doctorates are part of the curriculum. There are over 100 different areas of study available through five academic colleges. Commerce has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges since 1925. Even though it only holds one programmatic accreditation, several of its programs are highly regarded in the state and across America.

Texas A&M University-Commerce has a really flexible linguistics degree online program available. There is a Master of Arts and a Master of Science option in Applied Linguistics with an emphasis in TESOL. It is available 100% online to students worldwide. The classes are presented asynchronously. You can complete your practicum hours remotely. However, if you live near the campus, you can opt to take any number of your courses at the brick-and-mortar location with the option to change your modality every semester. There is both a thesis and non-thesis option and you can apply to the program even if your undergraduate degree is not in linguistics. Some of your core classes as a student of the program would be:

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Structures of the English Language
  • Curriculum Development

You can also choose three elective courses tailored to your area of interest. Some options for electives include:

  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Language and Culture in the Classroom

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 66%
Graduation Rate: 61%
Final Score: 106/200

16: Georgia Southern University-Armstrong

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong is a public university in Savannah, Georgia. It is part of the University System of Georgia. It was founded as a junior college in 1935. Under a different name, the school became a community college in 1959 and joined the University System of Georgia. It continued to grow, becoming a four-year college in 1964 and becoming a university in 1996. Armstrong is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It has around 6,500 students. The university houses four distinct colleges through which it offers more than 100 academic programs. These colleges are the:

  • College of Education
  • College of Health Professions
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Science and Technology

Armstrong offers one of the top linguistic programs. It offers a Bachelor of Arts in French through its Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy. This bachelors degree is completely online, giving students the chance to expand their knowledge about the French language and culture in an innovative and flexible way. In addition, you have the option to minor in the following areas of study:

  • English
  • Communication
  • Film
  • Foreign Languages
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy

Courses in an additional foreign language are also required as part of the program. That is currently under revision so some of the requirements are subject to change. In addition to all of the language courses you’ll take, you have the choice of several different electives to help tailor the degree to fit your purpose. Some of these electives are:

  • Minor in Spanish or German
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Certificate in Spanish for Professionals

Any of those electives are a great way to bolster this bachelor’s degree as the foundation for a career in translation or teaching.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 79%
Graduation Rate: 50%
Final Score: 107/200

15: Troy University

Troy University

Troy University is a public university in Troy, Alabama. It was founded in 1887 as a normal school. At that time, it was part of the Alabama State University System. It is the flagship institution of the Troy University System. The university is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and offers around 70 different degree programs. Troy enrolls 17,855 students across its constituents, which are the:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Communication & Fine Arts
  • College of Education
  • College of Health & Human Services
  • Sorrell College of Business
  • Graduate School
  • Division of General Studies

Troy is also one of just 400 American universities that offers a Confucius Institute, which offers lectures on Chinese culture, language, and more. U.S. News & World Report ranks Troy among the top 25 public schools. It has been recognized several other times as well. The Radio Television Digital News Association even ranked its journalism school as #6 nationwide.

Troy University has ranked here for its Interpreter Training Program. That is a Bachelor of Science presented in a distance-learning format and according to your schedule. It is a unique program designed to prepare educators, administrators, counselors, ASL interpreters, and other professionals to interact with people that rely on sign language to communicate. In addition, this program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Upon completion, you may be prepared to receive your license as an interpreter depending on the requirements of your state. The core curriculum covers topics such as:

  • American Sign Language
  • Transliteration
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology

Electives offered as part of the Interpreter Training Program include a course in ASL Fingerspelling, Deaf Culture and Community, and more. Other electives draw from outside the department and explore topics like rehabilitation or secondary education. You can also earn an undergraduate degree in Anthropology, or graduate degree in Second Language Instruction through Troy Online.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Final Score: 111/200

14: Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a private nonsectarian university in Manchester, New Hampshire. While Southern New Hampshire University did begin as a for-profit institution in 1932, it has been a nonprofit school since 1968. Over the course of the next several years after the shift, Southern New Hampshire University expanded significantly and began adding masters degrees to the curriculum. Doctorates came later. The first two were offered in 1998. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are offered through the following colleges and schools that compriseSouthern New Hampshire University. These include the:

  • College for America
  • College of Engineering, Technology, & Aeronautics
  • College of Online & Continuing Education
  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Business
  • School of Education

Southern New Hampshire University first offered online degree programs in 1995. It has one of the largest selections of distance-education degrees among American universities. There are over 138,000 students enrolled and only about 3,000 of them are on campus.

Southern New Hampshire University is one of the top colleges for linguistics. If you are interested in human languages, foreign languages, language teaching, language acquisition, second language acquisition, English language, or any other number of topics, SNHU has you covered. Southern New Hampshire University offers quite a variety of degree programs that fall under the linguistics umbrella. However, it has been ranked here for its Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature. This program is available entirely online and asynchronously, making it one of the most flexible options for any student. The curriculum of this program will lead you to explore topics such as:

  • the history of the English language
  • etymology
  • syntax
  • dialects
  • language acquisition
  • phonology
  • discourse analysis

Literary Theory and Shakespearean Literature are also components of the core curriculum. You can build on what you’ve learned with a workshop in fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, or poetry as well as select additional electives that will allow you to add a secondary focus to your bachelors degree that fits into your career or higher education goals. This program is one that has diverse application opportunities in:

  • teaching
  • law
  • politics
  • marketing and communications
  • social work
  • history

You can choose to use the skills in current research, communication, writing, and critical thinking however you’d like.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 33%
Final Score: 111/200

13: University of Louisiana at Monroe

University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is a public university that is located in Monroe, Louisiana. It is typically shortened to ULM. It opened its doors in 1931 as Ouachita Parish Junior College. It quickly evolved to the Northeast Center of Louisiana State University three short years later. It was then named Northeast Junior College of Louisiana State University in 1949. It finally became its own four-year institution in 1950, which was called the Northeast Louisiana State College. When doctorate degrees were implemented in 1969, the institution received university status and became Northeast Louisiana University. It finally adopted its present-day title in 1999. ULM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and serves roughly 9,000 students. Degrees are offered at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels. While ULM is a smaller university, it is still quite notable. It offers one of less than 10 toxicology degree programs available in the country. It has produced several politicians and athletes, as well as country musician Tim McGraw.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a highly flexible Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages with a concentration in French. Courses are presented in eight-week accelerated formats. Students have the opportunity to focus on fewer subjects at a time while still completing their degree over a shorter period of time. There are five start dates throughout the year. The tuition per credit hour is only $400, which is drastically lower than the national average. Online students also have the benefit of minimal fees and entirely self-paced classes. This degree is a flexible, affordable, and fast. This degree program is a great opportunity for a determined student. The best thing about the degree is the customizable aspect. You can select what courses you’d like to take in order to fill your requirements in Spanish, literature, humanities, advanced language courses, and so on. On top of that, there are a total of 26 hours of electives that are included. For those electives, you can choose courses in areas such as:

Whether you’re interested in travel, hospitality, teaching, proofreading, or international business, ULM’s program has something for you.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Final Score: 117/200

12: Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University is a public university in Thibodaux, Louisiana. It was founded as the Francis T. Nicholls Junior College of Louisiana State University in 1948. It was named after a former governor and member of the supreme court in Louisiana. It separated from Louisiana State University and developed into a four-year institution in 1956 under the name Francis T. Nicholls State College. The first degrees were conferred in 1958. The final name change to Nicholls State University occurred in 1970 when the institution received its university status. It is now a member of the University of Louisiana System and offers degrees from the associates to masters level to more than 6,000 students. It was one of the first universities that added a bachelors program for Culinary Arts to its list of available degrees. The main academic divisions at Nicholls include the:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education
  • College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • University College
  • University Graduate Studies

Nicholls is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Nicholls State University offers one of the most affordable online degrees in linguistics options in the country. Tuition is only $275 per credit hour for undergraduate-level courses regardless of what state you may live in. The linguistics-related degree program that Nicholls has available is a Bachelor of Arts in English, which is 100% online and presented in an accelerated asynchronous format. Courses are only eight weeks in length and are taught by the same faculty and held to the same standards as the ones offered face-to-face. There are start dates in January, March, June, August, and October so that you can start whenever you’re ready. If you are unable to complete your coursework in such a condensed format, for an additional fee, you can take more time if you need to. Some courses may require proctored exams but you will be allowed to take them at an approved proctoring site that is close to where you’re staying. The BA in English can be taken in its general presentation, or you can specialize in one of four concentrations:

  • Creative Writing
  • Film Studies
  • Literary Studies
  • Writing and Rhetoric

You can minor in one of the subjects that suits your purpose:

  • Creative Writing
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • Literary Studies
  • Professional Writing
  • Spanish

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 45%
Final Score: 117/200

11: New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

School Profile
New Mexico State University is a land- and space-grant public research university in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was founded in 1888. It was the first public institution of higher education in New Mexico. It was the flagship of the NMSU System. Las Cruces College was founded in 1888. New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts came a decade later as a result of an act of New Mexico legislature combined with the Morrill Act. Those two institutions merged in 1890. The inaugural class was made up of only 35 students. The academic offerings expanded over its formative years, so much so that it became New Mexico State University in 1960. Now, NMSU has 96 bachelors programs, 58 masters programs, and 28 doctoral programs that students can choose from. Across its eight schools and colleges, there are 14,852 total students. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has several research initiatives; NMSU is one of NASA’s space-grant universities and it is the only one that has reached the platinum (highest) level of service to the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program. Uniquely, there is also a chile breeding research program. Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer that discovered Pluto used to teach at the university. NMSU has also produced some notable alumni. Among the 120,000 living graduates is Alvy Ray Smith who co-founded Pixar, and Kevin Johnson, the President and CEO of Starbucks among others.

At New Mexico State University, a degree in linguistics online is a possibility through the Department of Language and Linguistics that provides students with a lot of options. There are undergraduate majors in:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • German

There are supplementary majors in:

  • Linguistics
  • Latin American Studies,
  • Chicano Studies

There is a fully-online Master of Arts in Spanish. The Master of Arts in Spanish can be completed entirely online or on-campus if you so choose. There are two specializations including Linguistics and Literature. Students are required to select one. The degree is a 36-credit program that offers a thesis and non-thesis track. In addition to your specialization, you can complete a minor in another area of study or within the department. As an example, if you are specializing in linguistics, you have the option to minor in literature or in something like communication, psychology, computer science, etc. As part of the Master of Arts in Spanish Linguistics program, you will take courses like Language Assessment, Advanced Study in Technical Translation, and several advanced Spanish courses in phonetics, language acquisition, structure, and sociolinguistics. You will also be required to take a second language requirement. NMSU has courses in:

  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Portuguese

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 46%
Final Score: 117/200

10: California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania

The California University of Pennsylvania is a public university located in California, Pennsylvania. It was originally established in 1852 with the intention of offering education from the kindergarten level through to the college level. However, it was chartered as a normal school shortly after opening. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which was granted after the school restored itself to offering a full four-year curriculum. It did not receive its status as a university until 1983. It has been steadily striving to expand itself academically. The university now provides students with the choice of close to 200 different degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 75 degree programs are also offered through the Cal U virtual campus known as Cal U Global Online. The distance learning options at the university are extremely popular; of the 7,553 students that attend the university, 73% participate in at least some of its online courses and 50% of students are earning their degree entirely online.

The California University of Pennsylvania prides itself on offering a broad range of degrees that students can complete 100% online. U.S. News & World Report ranked the university among the best in online undergraduate education overall and for veterans, as well as graduate education in business administration, nursing, criminal justice, and education. The university has held this distinction for several consecutive years. Cal U offers a Masters in Education in ESOL, a Master of Arts in Arabic Language and Linguistics, a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Language. The masters program in Arabic Language and Linguistics is a very unique offering. Students can also earn this degree alongside their bachelors degree in an accelerated option. There are three start dates throughout the year. The degree can be completed in less than 16 months. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to work in areas such as:

  • linguist
  • translator
  • educator
  • international relations
  • public policy

In order to make sure that you’re prepared for the precise field you plan to enter, 20% of your required credit hours are electives.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Graduation Rate: 55%
Final Score: 122/200

9: University of Massachusetts Boston

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The University of Massachusetts Boston is a public university located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the only public university in the Boston area and it serves almost 17,000 students. The University of Massachusetts Boston, or UMass Boston, was officially founded in1964 after a long battle to expand the university to serve the Boston area. It has its roots as much as a century further back. Boston State College was founded in 1852 and was eventually absorbed by the university in the 1880’s. The inaugural class of students was over 1,000 for UMass Boston. It only continued to expand. The university is comprised of eleven schools and colleges, through which it confers bachelors-level degrees and higher. As a whole, it is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. John Warner and Paul Anastas both graduated from UMass Boston. The two of them pioneered the field of green chemistry. Anastas was the first person to ever conduct research in the field. Warner established the field’s first PhD.

UMass Online is how all of the University of Massachusetts System deliver their distance education programs. In linguistics, students can pursue a Master’s in Applied Linguistics at this university. The core mission of the program is to understand the complex problems in studying language so that they can conduct meaningful research and can apply that to meeting the challenges of teaching language. The program usually takes two years to complete. It can be done so 100% online. The core curriculum covers topics like:

  • Theories and Principles of Language Teaching
  • Curriculum Development in Bilingual Education
  • Structure of the English Language

Students can choose from three different concentrations, which are in Bilingual Education, ESL Instruction for English Language Learners, and Foreign Language Pedagogy. One of the most attractive features of this program is that students don’t need to have prior experience in education in order to apply. That is unique among schools offering this type of degree. Unfortunately, this program is not open to anyone residing in Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, and Minnesota.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 62%
Final Score: 124/200

8: William Woods University

William Woods University

William Woods University is a private university located in Fulton, Missouri. It was founded in 1870 as the Female Orphan School, to serve those who had lost their parents in the war. The first education programs were designed to serve aspiring teachers. They started expanding in 1962, which is when the school became a four-year college. Just a few decades later in 1993, it achieved university status and became coeducational. Even though the university is fully coeducational, the majority of its small student body is composed of women. WWU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and grants degrees at every level from associates to doctorate. There are 37 bachelors degree programs offered, as well as 28 undergraduate minors. At the graduate level, there are 13 different programs that students can choose from. There are 16 programs offered at a distance from WWU, and a broad range of individual courses. The university has ranked among the top 100 regional universities by U.S. News & World Report and is home to an internationally recognized undergraduate program in equestrian studies.

The program that William Woods University has ranked for in this article is one that has been consistently regarded as one of America’s top offerings of its kind. The degree is a Bachelor of Science in Interpretation Studies in ASL. The program was specifically designed to admit certified interpreters or those of you who completed an associates degree in preparation for this type of program and are seeking to complete your next step. The classes are each eight weeks in length, offering students optimal flexibility and lower tuition costs. There are six different starting dates throughout the year, so you have the choice to enter when you want and the expertly designed curriculum ensures that you’ll be eligible to sit for the National Interpreter Certification. The core curriculum covers:

  • ethics and theory of interpretation
  • linguistics
  • non-manual markers in American Sign Language

You will have to complete a senior project to graduate and take at least one elective in both Grammar and Social Service. Some potential choices for those required electives include:

  • Grammar and Syntax
  • Rhetorical Analysis and Criticism
  • Human Behavior
  • Social Welfare Policy

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 74%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Final Score: 128/200

7: Georgia State University

Georgia State University

Georgia State University is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the largest institution of higher education in Georgia, serving more than 30,000 students. Georgia State was founded in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology’s Evening School of Commerce, an extension for night students. Throughout its history, it operated as an extension of Georgia Tech and UGA and cycled through several different names before finally becoming autonomous and obtaining its university status. It settled on Georgia State University in 1969. Georgia State is an R1 research university that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. It holds more than 10 programmatic accreditations. There are 11 colleges and schools that make up the university. It is through them that close to 300 different fields of study are offered. Because of the sheer number of options, Georgia State is the most comprehensive institution in the state. Degrees can be earned at the associates through doctoral levels. There are many different certificate options as well.

The degree programs offered online at Georgia State University that are related to linguistics include a Master of Arts in Teaching in ESOL and an Associate in Arts in World Languages. Degrees in Applied Linguistics are offered at the bachelors, masters, and PhD levels but they are not accessible to distance-learning students. The classes at Georgia State are taught by experienced faculty, and the same applies to the online courses even though they are typically presented in an asynchronous format. You will be able to work on your classes at any time. There are even additional options for students who are particularly motivated and would like to get through the program faster. You can choose to focus in any of the following areas with the associates option:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swahili

Spanish and French are available but will include some face to face courses. This program is designed to be taken as a minor. You could choose to take it with a major relevant to your career goals.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 54%
Final Score: 136/200

6: Oregon State University

Oregon State University

Oregon State University is a public research university in Corvallis, Oregon. It is one of only three institutions of higher education in the country that has the distinction of being a land-, sea-, space-, and sun-grant university. It first opened in 1856 as the Corvallis Academy. The name would go on to be changed a total of eleven times. It settled on Oregon State University in 1961 when it was finally granted its university status. It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. OSU offers degrees at the bachelors, masters, and doctorate level through 12 colleges and schools. There are currently over 30,000 students at the university and more than 200,000 alumni worldwide. Graduates of the university have gone on to lead successful careers in sports, politics, business, and more. One of the most notable people is Stacy Allison. She is the first woman in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. OSU has an incredibly diverse academic selection. It offers more majors, minors, and special programs than any other college or university in the state.

Of all the available programs, the Ecampus has close to fifty that students can take either entirely online or in a blended format. In the field of linguistics, undergraduate students can choose to study:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Anthropology

In addition to that, there is an ESOL Endorsement program that can be completed online at the Master’s level. All of the undergraduate programs consist of 180 credits and have a tuition of less than $300 per credit, which is among the lowest tuition rates in the country. There are four start dates throughout the year. Students benefit from the convenience of an online asynchronous program. They still have access to the university’s incredible resources like:

  • success counseling
  • library services
  • free online tutoring
  • career guidance

U.S. News & World Report ranks OSU’s online programs in liberal arts among the top 10 in the country. There are 29 available minors that you can explore as well, which gives you the opportunity to create a degree that fits into the career you desire.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 66%
Final Score: 146/200

5: St John’s University

st. john's university

St. John’s University is a private Roman-Catholic affiliated research university in New York City, New York. The Vincentian Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church established the university as a means of providing the underprivileged youth of the community with a strong intellectual and moral education. In 1870, the university first opened its doors to students. At that time it was operating as the College of St. John the Baptist. St. John’s is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It confers degrees at all academic levels, allowing students the choice of over 100 different programs of study. Six different colleges and schools make up the university. The university seems the be considered quite small. Actually, there are well over 20,000 students. Not only that, the university has been growing in notoriety as well as it has been ranked by a variety of publications over the past several years. In addition to its main campus, there are additional locations throughout the state of New York as well as in Rome, Italy, France, and Ireland. It offers programs from certificate programs through PhD. You can even earn an online PhD.

St. John’s University offers one of the few online programs like this in the nation. It is an online PhD in Literacy, with optional areas of concentration that include:

It is a 42-credit program that typically spans about two and a half years. You will take a myriad of different courses in literacy as well as research. Some of the core classes associated with the TESOL concentration track include:

  • Foundation of Bilingual Education
  • Human Development in a Cross-Cultural Perspective

It is important to point out that this program is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council but every state is going to have different regulations about what you need to do in order to obtain or maintain your teaching license. Another unique feature of the program itself, apart from the degree that it confers is that this is a truly online doctorate degree that won’t require you to complete a residency or to visit campus.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 84%
Graduation Rate: 61%
Final Score: 168/200

4: University of Texas at Austin


The University of Texas at Austin is a public space-grant research university located in Austin, Texas. UT Austin is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System and was founded in 1883. It quickly established itself as a research university. It became a member of the Association of American Universities as early as 1929. Research conducted at the institute largely deals with:

  • engineering
  • physical science
  • computer science

There are close to 300 different programs of study offered at the university, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. UT Austin comprises 18 colleges and schools and a range of research centers through which it serves its incredibly large student body. There are currently 51,331 students at the university in all. The university has produced nine astronauts, 18 Pulitzer Prize winners, 20 Marshall Scholars, 26 Truman Scholars, and 28 Rhodes Scholars. Alumni of the university have gone on to be prominent figures in areas such as:

Perhaps the most notable member of the Texas Exes is poplar astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

UT Austin is also a Public Ivy university, which is a public university with a collegiate experience that rivals that of an Ivy League university. The first list of schools categorized as such was released in 1985, and UT Austin has been consistently included. U.S. News & World Report ranked over 50 of the programs offered at the university as being among the top 25 in their focus area, with the Latin American History program and Accounting program being considered as number one. UT Austin as a whole remains among the top 100 national universities ranking and came in at 18th among American public universities. Online courses are offered at the university. There is no program that is currently available in its entirety to be completed at a distance. There are majors offered in Anthropology, Classical Languages, and Linguistics at the undergraduate level. Students can also major in nine different languages. There is also a Master of Arts in Linguistics with six unique concentrations. Because of the extensive list of online courses, many degrees can be completed partially online.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 95%
Graduation Rate: 83%
Final Score: 176/200

3: University of Washington

University of Washington

The University of Washington is a public research university headquartered in Seattle, Washington. In addition to the flagship campus, there are two additional campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. UW was established in 1861 as the Territorial University of Washington. In its early days, the school struggled with low enrollment and a shortage of funds which led it to shut down three times. However, it has nothing to worry about now. There are around 46,000 students enrolled in this Public Ivy. The university is a member of the Association of American Universities. It is classified with the highest distinction that the Carnegie Foundation places on a school, R1. The University of Washington is ranked among the best universities in the world by a variety of publications. UW is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Apart from its incredible performance in rankings, the university is also known for its high-quality and competitive computer science programs.

The University of Washington is the only school on this list that is offering this particular type of program, which is a Master of Science in Computational Linguistics. Computational linguists are professionals that help machines process human language, which allows people to use something as simple as Siri to search something on the internet, or is used in the creation of much more complex speech recognition software. The program is flexible, allowing you to take it entirely online or in a blended format, and at a full- or part-time pace based on your schedule. The program consists of 43 credits. It ends with a capstone project. When you enroll full-time, you could finish your degree in as little as one year. The core curriculum includes Linguistic Phonetics, Language Processing Systems, and more. You can also choose electives in areas such as:

  • semantics
  • sociolinguistics
  • morphology

The program begins with a two-day orientation on campus in Seattle which you would be required to attend. Over the course of the program, it is preferred that you visit campus at least a few times for similar seminars.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Graduation Rate: 83%
Final Score: 178/200

2: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land-, sea-, and space-grant public research university that is headquartered in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, Illinois. It is one of the nation’s Public Ivy schools and produces more Microsoft employees than any other institution in the world. The university, often just called UIUC, was founded in 1867 under the Morrill Land-Grant Act as Illinois Industrial University. By 1885, the university changed its name to the University of Illinois to better reflect its curriculum that featured agricultural, mechanical, and liberal arts education. UIUC is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois System and serves close to 50,000 students. Illinois is an R1 Doctoral Research University and a member of the Association of American Universities. It is considered a world leader in science and engineering. The Higher Learning Commission-accredited university offers about 250 different programs of study, many of which have been nationally ranked for their academic excellence, and value.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is one of the 16 schools and colleges that fall under the University of Illinois, and it houses the Online Master of Arts in Translation and Interpreting. The program is available completely at a distance, allowing you to learn from anywhere. A variety of delivery formats are employed in order to keep students engaged and provide them with an individualized experience. This includes online lectures, collaborative sessions, and more, all without compromising the flexibility of self-paced classes. Students of this program can choose to specialize in:

  • Translation for the Professions
  • Literary and Applied Literary Translation
  • Conference and Community Interpreting

Core classes include:

  • Translation Methods and Ethics
  • Translation Theory and Practice
  • Terminology and Computer-Assisted Translation

The program requires 32 credits hours in total. Eight will come from your chosen concentration. Eight will come from electives. Students of this program can choose electives from a different major. They are required to complete a capstone project.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 94%
Graduation Rate: 93%
Final Score: 179/200

1: University of Florida

 University of Florida

The University of Florida is public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university located in Gainesville, Florida. It was initially established in 1853 as East Florida Seminary, which would later merge with three other institutions to form what is known today as the University of Florida. It is the only member-institution of the Association of American Universities in Florida, which is a consortium of leading research universities; UF is one of the nation’s largest research universities, operating more than 150 research centers in total and holding more than 100 patents. U.S. News & World Report has the university currently ranked among the top 10 public universities in America. UF is also among the top 10 largest universities in the country, too. There are close to 55,000 students enrolled across its immense selection of programs. There are over 100 different undergraduate majors to choose from and exactly 200 graduate-level programs. These are offered through UF’s 16 colleges and schools. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It holds programmatic accreditation from an additional 15 organizations.

The University of Florida offers both a Master of Arts in Latin as well as a Master of Latin through the Department of Classics. These programs are only open to educators that are seeking to add depth to their knowledge of the Latin language. All of the classes are online but you will be required to complete two institutes during the summer. The program admits students every summer, beginning with one such institute. Both masters programs are comprised of at least 30 credit hours. Tuition is below the national average at less than $550 per credit hour. Tuition rates are always subject to change but the university has maintained this rate for several years. Be sure to always double check tuition information on the school site. You will have the chance to take courses like Classical Research Tradition, Epigraphy, Roman Elegiac Poetry, Late Latin Literature, and more if you choose to enroll in this program. The university also offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology that you can take on its own or supplement with a second major or a minor. The anthropology program offers a concentration in linguistics, which also allows for 18 credits worth of electives so you can choose the ones that are going to advance your career the way you want from the list of almost 200 that UF has.

School Website:
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Graduation Rate: 89%
Final Score: 184/200

Related Resources:

This concludes our ranking of colleges for a linguistics degree online.

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