There are two ways to start at SIL-UND if you have little or no background in linguistics: package a and the literacy megacourse. All you need 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.
First time students typically 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. This is the place to start!
Other students start with the literacy megacourse, which is offered in odd-numbered years. The package trains you to help a minority language community develop its own 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 classes. 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 heavily in our courses. The phonetics, phonology, and grammar 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!