Forensic Linguistics Graduate Programs

Forensic linguists use language, including dialect, diction and syntax, to solve crimes. Keep reading to learn about available degree programs, common courses, if this degree is available online and possible careers. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is Forensic Linguistics?

Forensic linguistics is the application of language and linguistics in solving crimes. Professionals use diction, syntax, voice identification and dialect to identify people. This can be used to solve crimes, find the person culpable, declare someone innocent, and make sure the law is obeyed when interacting with people whose native language is not English. Through degree programs in forensic linguistics, you will learn how to identify people based on their speech patterns, determine someone's demographic background, and learn whether a threat is serious based on their voice and speech mannerisms. You will also study real-life applications for forensic linguistics.

Forensic linguistic programs are rare and available only at the graduate level. Typically, you must have a background in linguistics and fluency in the English language. Some programs are also available through distance learning, but they are extremely rare.

Degree Programs Master of Arts in Linguistics
Common Courses Legal terminology, authorship attribution, forensic phonetics
Online Availability Not available in any online formats
Possible Careers Forensic linguist

What Courses Will I Take?

Through the graduate programs in forensic linguistics, you will take a variety of courses involving the legal system and language. You will study topics pertaining to the language spoken during an arrest and at the trial. Other courses will cover how linguistics can be used to gather evidence, procedures for collecting it and ways to present it. Additional courses and topics of study could include:

  • Legal terminology
  • Forensic phonetics
  • Authorship attribution
  • Genre, language and ideology
  • Applied linguistics
  • Solving crime in the real world with forensic linguistics
  • Forensic linguistics case studies
  • Using forensic linguistics

How Can I Use this Degree?

With a master's in forensic linguistics, you can become a forensic linguist, helping to solve crimes and protect people who have been accused of crimes and do not speak the native language. You will use author identification techniques to determine who wrote something and voice identification to determine and identify who said something, usually over a phone or on a tape.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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