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Master of Arts in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics

Master of Arts in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics


Professor Leonard, Director of Linguistics Programs


Linguistics is the systematic, scientific study of language. "Forensic" linguistics refers to linguistics applied to any use of language with legal relevance. The MA in Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics is designed to meet a growing demand for advanced training in scientific language analysis.

At Hofstra, a student trains first and foremost to become a linguist and learn the core tools and competencies—including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics—that serve as the base of linguistics. Unlike other linguistics programs, real life illustrations and teaching examples are, wherever possible, drawn from forensic applications—often from the extensive array of law cases originally consulted on by the Hofstra faculty.

Advanced courses explore the specific application of linguistic science to cases involving criminal activity of all kinds, including extortion, bribery, murder, espionage, weapons of mass destruction, as well as to civil cases of trademark protection, the meaning of contracts and statutes, and defamation. Students learn to critique common interrogation procedures from a linguistic point of view and learn how to perform analyses that investigate the authorship of different sets of documents. In short, while they learn the science of linguistics, they also learn how to apply it to a multiplicity of issues in the real world—in this case, the legal arena.

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There are no spaces available for the Fall 2017 semester. We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2018.

Press queries please contact Mrs. Mary Milana at Mary.K.Milana[at]hofstra.edu tel (516) 463-3834.

Regarding the Forensic Linguistics Capital Case Innocence Project, please be aware that internships with the Project are reserved for enrolled internship students. We appreciate very much that people are kind enough to want to volunteer; however, we are unfortunately required to limit the spaces to enrolled Hofstra students.

Read About Forensic Linguistics and Dr. Rob Leonard in the July 23, 2012 Issue of The New Yorker

Program Director

Hear from a Student

Working as a Forensic Linguistics Expert