SIL-UND has a lot to offer! It can be overwhelming at first.
But, all you need to get started is a minimum 2.75 GPA in two years of post-high-school study (with exceptions granted in some cases) and college-level ability in English.
Then, you need to decide on the right package of courses:
Most first-time students start off with package a courses. These courses have no special prerequisites, and introduce you to the field of linguistics. Phonetics. Grammar. Language Learning. Sociolinguistics.
Other students start with the literacy megacourse, which is offered in odd-numbered years. (If you don’t have any prior linguistics courses, you should have some background in education.) The package trains you to help a minority language community develop its own literacy or multilingual education program. Some people can use it to earn a graduate certificate at UND.
After package a, you’re ready for package b courses. These courses further build your preparation to do fieldwork on a language that’s never been described and interact with its speakers: Phonology. Field Methods. Media Technology. Ethnographic Methods.
Seasoned SILers and MA students take advanced courses. Each summer we offer a different selection of these courses on a rotating basis. The courses allow each student to specialize in the areas of linguistics that they love most.
We are one of very few linguistics programs that include sign languages alongside spoken languages in our courses. The phonetics, phonology, grammar and translation of signed languages each get their own class. Students can choose to learn a new sign language in Second Language Acquisition, and analyze one in Linguistic Field Methods. Most of our other classes pay attention to them too!
We recommend you take courses in the standard packages—it avoids problems with prerequisites, schedule conflicts, piling up tests and major assignments on the same day, and transferring courses to other SIL schools. It’s sometimes possible to mix-and-match courses from different packages, but check with us first to avoid hidden gotchas.