Forensic Linguistics



Forensic Linguistics, the scientific study of language, is a vital investigative tool for law enforcement and intelligence experts in the United States and around the world. The Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Linguistics, the first program of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, will teach you how to use a linguist’s core tools, including phonetics, syntax, semantics and sociolinguistics, to analyze language in legal and other real-world settings. Learn from brilliant scholars who have worked with the FBI and consulted on an extensive array of criminal cases and counterterrorism efforts. Our program combines a broad-based academic experience with applied workshops and internship opportunities working on ongoing cases. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years. Scholarships are available for qualified candidates.

Most of the online courses meet synchronously, that is, in real time with the students and professors face-to-face together online, so students can benefit the most from their course experiences and interactions with professors. Schedule a one-on-one phone appointment with Lindsay Robinson, assistant dean to learn more today!

Program Highlights

Program Details

Visit the Hofstra campus or connect with the graduate admissions team. We will answer your questions and put you in touch with program faculty or degree candidates to learn more. Contact us at, or call 516-463-4723.

To be considered for the MA in Forensic Linguistics program, you must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.

Start your application online where you can upload the following documents:

  • Transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities. You may initially submit unofficial copies of your transcripts for your application review, but official transcripts will be required once you are accepted into the program.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Written statement of professional interests and goals.

An on-campus or virtual interview with the program director will be required.

International students: Please review additional admission requirements.

If you are a current Hofstra student interested in pursuing the dual BA/MA program, please contact your academic advisor and refer any additional questions to

Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Linguistics

This joint degree program allows you to obtain a JD and an MA in four years instead of five. Participate in internships and coursework that specifically link legal and forensic linguistics training. Learn More about the Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Linguistics.

Apply to the MA in Forensic Linguistics program at any time with our rolling admissions policy.

The MA in Forensic Linguistics is awarded to students who successfully complete 36 semester hours.

Visit the Forensic Linguistics program page to learn more.

Faculty Profiles

Robert A. Leonard

Dr. Robert Leonard, the Program Director, is internationally recognized as a foremost expert in this field. He has worked as a consultant for the FBI and police, counterterrorism, and intelligence agencies throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada, training agents in the use of forensic linguistics in law enforcement, threat assessment, and counterterrorism. 

Meet Dr. Leonard

Tammy Gales

Tammy Gales is Associate Professor and Director of Research at the Institute for Forensic Linguistics, Threat Assessment, and Strategic Analysis. Her primary research examines authorial stance in threatening communications and other forensic contexts. She has trained law enforcement agents from agencies across Canada and the U.S. and applied her work to criminal and civil cases for both prosecution and defense.

Meet Dr. Gales
Robert A. Leonard
Tammy Gales

Take the Next Step

How to Apply

Earn the professional recognition and personal achievement you seek with a graduate degree from Hofstra University. Whether you study online or on campus, full or part time, you will benefit from small class settings with nationally recognized faculty and a community of peers all contributing to a transformative learning experience. Questions? Call 516-463-4723 or email our graduate admission team at