Forensic Linguistics Degree

Forensic Linguistics Degree Master of Arts (M.A.) in Criminal Justice Studies: Forensic Linguistics

About the Forensic Linguistics Degree

Find your future at the intersection of language and law.

Every person has a unique way of communicating – a fact that can prove useful to law enforcement, intelligence and security personnel as they solve crimes and build legal cases.

The forensic linguistics concentration at California University of Pennsylvania – part of Cal U’s graduate degree program in criminal justice studies – focuses on oral and written communication as an element of contemporary crime analysis.

Students in the online forensic linguistics program build a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge and research skills as they learn to examine and assess threatening communications, fraudulent documents and other writings associated with serious criminal, civil and national security matters. Then they apply that theoretical framework to real-world situations requiring forensic linguistic training and skills.

Study with recognized experts in this emerging criminal justice specialty.

Faculty in the forensic linguistics master’s degree concentration at Cal U are criminal justice practitioners with real-world experience in this emerging field. Under their guidance, students develop skills in critical areas of forensic linguistics, including language structure, author profiling and threat assessment, sociolinguistics, and legal and ethical issues.

Cal U faculty build their instruction around actual criminal cases, as well as literature and research in linguistics, criminology and related fields. Through online presentations and discussions, hands-on projects and a capstone experience, students develop a knowledge base and practical skills they can apply to their careers in criminal justice.

Program Highlights: Forensic Linguistics

Make a Difference: Cal U’s forensic linguistics graduate program prepares you to contribute specialized knowledge in areas such as threat assessment, violent crime analysis, criminal or civil investigation, and corporate security. It also introduces you to a network of professionals who value the perspective that a trained forensic linguist can offer.

Look Ahead:  For the program's capstone experience, students may select the option that best supports their career goals and aspirations (depending on availability):

Learn more about applying

 

$62K 
Median annual salary earned by linguists, according to PayScale.com.
36 
Number of credits required to complete the online forensic linguistics concentration.
Degree Icon

Degree Benefits

 

Courses in this program delve into intriguing topics such as language policy and planning in a multi-lingual society; producing, reading and interpreting spectrograms (often mislabeled as “voiceprints”); author profiling and identification based on linguistic cues; and legal and ethical issues, including relevant U.S. court decisions. Students also learn to prepare an analytical report suitable for delivery in a courtroom.

Graduate Cap Icon

Graduate Outcomes

 

Cal U's forensic linguistics master’s degree concentration builds knowledge, skills and abilities in a specialized field. Forensic linguists primarily work as consultants, bringing their expertise to criminal and civil investigations, corporate and national security matters, legal proceedings, and investigations of evidence such as emergency phone calls, suicide notes, ransom demands and fraudulent documents.

 

Forensic Linguistics Concentration (M.A. in Criminal Justice Studies)

 

A forensics team studies handwritten note.

Rich Curriculum

Cal U’s forensic linguistics program was developed with input from pioneers in the field, including a former criminal profiler and forensic linguist for the FBI. Program director Dr. John Cencich is a retired U.S. federal agent and former senior international war crimes investigatorwith the United Nations; he holds a Doctor of Juridical Science, the highest degree in law, from Notre Dame and an advanced law degree from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England. 

A students its in a classroom.

Convenient Schedule

Coursework in forensic linguistics is delivered online, which allows criminal justice practitioners and other working professionals to earn a master’s degree while continuing to meet their work and family obligations. Courses begin in fall 2019. Most students are expected to complete the 36-credit program in about two years of part-time study.

M.A., Criminal Justice Studies: Forensic Linguistics Courses

The forensic linguistics master’s degree concentration gives students a base of theoretical knowledge and research skills, which they learn apply to real-world situations.

Curriculum

 

Course Credits
Required Core - 9 credits  
CRM 700 Advanced Criminological Theories 3
CRM 720 Research Methods in Criminology 3
CRM 855 Applied Research in Criminology 3
   
Concentration Courses - 21 credits  
CRM 600 Seminar in Forensic Linguistics 3
CRM 610 Forensic Sociolinguistics 3
CRM 620 Forensic Language Structure I 3
CRM 640 Forensic Language Structure II 3
CRM 650 Author Profiling and Threat Assessment  3
CRM 670 Authorial Attribution and Speaker Identification  3
CRM 690 Legal and Ethical Issues in Forensic Linguistics 3
   
Capstone Experience - 6 credits (select ONE of these):  
CRM 880* Criminology Thesis OR CRM 885 Criminology Internship OR CRM 890* Criminology Studies Abroad OR 6 credit hours of prior learning (FBI Academy, FLETC, CFE Certification and similar academies and programs) 6
Total 36

 

*Depending on availability


 

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher in any discipline. (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission.)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution.
  • International Global Online Applicants: A satisfactory viva voce interview with a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice may be considered in lieu of the minimum English language test score.


Conditional Admission Requirements

  • If GPA is below 3.0 and the applicant has substantial work experience in a related field, a 500 word essay and resume supporting the application may be submitted.
  • Those admitted conditionally based on missing document/s have up to a maximum of two semesters to satisfy these requirements:
    • GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Unofficial transcripts
    • Resume
    • 500-word essay supporting application

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email (gradschool@calu.edu) or fax (724-938-5712)

For additional information:
Email: cencich@calu.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

M.A., Criminal Justice Studies : Forensic Linguistics

Related Programs

Forensic Linguistics Faculty

Dr. John R. Cencich
Professor and Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences and Director of Criminal Justice Graduate Programs

cencich@calu.edu

View profile