See also our FAQs on practical questions.
For the basic classes, it’s pretty, well, basic:
- Statement of purpose that matches what we can provide (we want to make sure we can give you what you want)
- Two years of college or other study after high school
- Minimum GPA of 2.75 for all work after high school
- College-level ability in English (for Deaf people, you need ASL and written English)
We can make exceptions in some cases, so if you’re interested, write the director and ask.
Most advanced classes, of course, have other prerequisites; see the course descriptions. Returning students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in SIL courses.
Finally, you have to be accepted by UND and continue to meet their requirements—which is usually not a problem. This includes passing a safety and security screening procedure, like all UND students.
A lot, we hope! We have a special focus on sign languages from all over the world, and we welcome Deaf people. If we know you’re coming, we’ll have ASL interpreters for classes, meetings, parties, etc. In fact, typically 20% of our community signs, so we hope you will feel very comfortable and welcome. To do well in classes, you have to have college-level ability in reading/writing English and signing ASL.
If you like languages, they are fun, engaging, and challenging. All our courses put you in the driver’s seat to the world of linguistics. Homework is challenging yet rewarding. You get to work with real data that linguists have collected through the years.
Some classes are extremely hands-on. We provide native speakers of languages from around the world for you to learn from and to show you how this actually works. In these courses, you will be collecting and analyzing the data.
For details about our courses, start here.
Want to see for yourself? Come visit us some summer.
The summer program is just that, a summer. We meet from early June to early August. (That’s 9 weeks; check our dates page for more details.)
Some people come for just one summer; others come back for more.
The M.A. program typically consists of 4 or 5 summers.
The Certificate in Community-Based Literacy can be earned in one summer.
Our schooling trains you for several different occupations, and several different organizations send their applicants and members to SIL for training.
We have many training tracks to head you in a different directions. These include, but are not limited to:
- working with minority language groups all over the world
- language learning
- language survey
- linguistic research
- teaching and consulting
- language advocacy
Plus, learning to think clearly about language will help you in any field that uses language (which is essentially all of them).
Undergraduates at UND can earn a minor in linguistics as part of a UND degree. We are working toward approval of a certificate in basic linguistics that we hope to have available by 2019 or 2020.
Several private universities (especially in the upper midwest) have undergraduate degree programs that include SIL-UND courses. To find out if yours is included, write and ask; if not, we might be able to set something up.
For graduate students, UND offers an M.A. in Linguistics and a Certificate in Community-Based Literacy, both of which are based on SIL-UND courses. We are working toward approval of graduate certificates in field linguistics and sign language linguistics that we hope to have available by 2019 or 2020.
application and registration
We need everyone to let us know each summer that they’re coming, so we can plan for you. So, we ask everyone to fill in our Step 1 “Pre-application” form. Based on that, we’ll let you know what paperwork is needed with UND. If you’re coming back in the same registration status (undergraduate vs. graduate, non-degree, degree, or certificate), there is a simple readmission form. If you want to change status, you’ll need to apply to UND in the new status. Whatever is needed, we’ll walk you through the process.
Yes! In fact, usually about 2/3 of our summer students are non-degree students. We encourage people to take classes for one or more summers as non-degree students to get to know us before signing up for a degree program.
Undergraduate students can take up to 20 credits before being required to apply to UND as a regular degree-seeking student.
Graduate students can take as many credits as they want as non-degree students, but are limited to using only 9 of those credits as part of a later degree program.
Most people register officially with UND on the day before classes start (see dates), as part of our orientation activities. That way, we can help you if you’re not familiar with UND’s registration system.
If for some reason you need to register earlier in the spring, write to our director.
See our class schedule. (Even if we haven’t posted next summer’s schedule yet, this will give you a pretty good idea, especially for classes that we offer every year.)
We post our textbook list by May 1 each summer. Last summer’s list can give you a rough idea of what will be required, but don’t rely on it, because sometimes we find better ones!
We’ll have textbooks available for sale when you arrive and register for classes. Some things you can only get from us; others are available free as electronic books. For new books, we can usually offer better prices than you can get elsewhere. If you want used copies, shop around elsewhere.
Yes. All SIL-UND courses are accredited by the University of North Dakota. UND, in turn, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. This is a regional accreditation body, the highest level of accreditation available in the United States.
To get graduate credit at UND, you need to already have an accredited 4-year undergraduate degree, enroll as a graduate student, and register for courses that are approved for graduate credit.
If you already have such a degree, you have the choice of enrolling for either undergraduate or graduate credit.
Undergraduate students may take graduate-level courses if they meet the prerequisites, but they will get undergraduate credit for them.
All 500-level courses and above are graduate level. Some 400-level courses have also been approved for graduate credit (see individual course listings). In these courses, undergraduate and graduate students have separate requirements; grad students are expected to do work significantly greater work.
Usually, yes. But, the answer isn’t simple, so hang in there while we explain some technicalities.
Ultimately it is the school that receives the credits that makes the decisions. Here are some of the things they look at:
- It depends first of all whether you simply want to use courses at SIL-UND to satisfy prerequisites for courses or degrees at another school, or whether you truly want to transfer them—to use SIL-UND credits to satisfy degree requirements elsewhere. Usually, satisfying prerequisites is a lot easier than transferring the courses for credit.
- For true transfer credit, it also depends on whether you want to use them as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree. Graduate degrees often have stronger limits on how many transfer credits they will accept, and what types.
- It is usually easier to use courses as electives than to satisfy requirements for minors and majors.
There are several things that help SIL-UND courses be accepted elsewhere:
- All SIL-UND courses are fully-accredited by UND, which itself is regionally-accredited (the highest type of accreditation in the U.S.A.).
- We keep our courses coordinated with other SIL schools to make it easier to take classes at more than one school. If you are thinking of doing that, pay attention to the standard SIL name for courses [in square brackets]. Also, contact us for advising—most of the time this will work, but there are a few things you can’t easily transfer to another SIL school, for a variety of reasons.
- If you need a transcript for the other school, request one from UND.
- If you need copies of syllabi for courses you’ve taken, write to the SIL-UND Director.
There are several private colleges and universities that have cooperative programs with SIL-UND to accept our courses toward majors, minors, or concentrations in linguistics or related fields. Ask your school if they will let you use SIL-UND classes as part of your degree, or write to our director.
OK, that’s a long answer to a short question. But, to sum up, we can help and provide advice, but you need to talk to the other school to know for sure. For more details about what they might look for, see the next question about what we look at.
It depends on the course. First, you have to understand how transfers work, and how they are different from using courses to satisfy prerequisites. (See the previous question.)
When our courses and degrees have prerequisites, and you think you’ve taken equivalent courses elsewhere, let’s talk. Sometimes we know that courses elsewhere are the same as ours; this is true for courses at many of the other SIL schools, and especially those in North America. Pay attention to the course names in square brackets in our course listings; they are the standard SIL name for the course, which will help you match up our course names with those of other schools. For other schools, we usually need to see a syllabus from the course, and may also have to see samples of the course materials. We want to make sure that you’ve got the background to do well in our advanced courses. That’s for your benefit and as well as for the benefit of other students in the class and the instructor.
Some of our courses are similar to standard courses that you’ll find at other colleges and universities, others are unique to the SIL system or to SIL-UND. So, we have to look at each case separately.
For true transfer of credits for use in the M.A. in Linguistics, UND places some restrictions on what it will accept in transfer. For example, the credits have to be graduate credits from a regionally-accredited or equivalent foreign institution, and are limited to 9 total credits for the M.A. Your M.A. advisory committee also has to agree that it is appropriate to transfer in the course, that it “fits” with what we offer. These decisions are usually made after you’re accepted into the M.A. program, but if you want to talk about them with our Director of Graduate Studies beforehand, feel free to send him an email.
You need to request transcripts from UND, not SIL. That’s because SIL-UND courses are accredited by UND, so they are the official source for reporting grades.
If you’re a current student, you can get free unofficial grade reports through UND’s Campus Connection system (available from the LOGINS link at the top of UND’s home page).
- Use the same username and password that you use for Blackboard and the campus computer network.
- If you have trouble logging in, see UND tech support.
- If you can’t get in through Campus Connection, you will need to order an official transcript.
If you want to show your grades to another school or employer, they probably need an official transcript.
For more information, see UND’s transcript request information.
See also our FAQs on practical questions.
Still have questions? Get in touch!