Graduate Admissions

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all graduate applicants whose language of secondary or post-secondary education was English, and it is recommended for all applicants. Visit the Educational Testing Service GRE website for information about the format of the GRE, exam dates and locations, registering for the exam and ordering score reports. Applicants whose language of secondary or post-secondary education was not English must show evidence of English proficiency by earning a score of 550 or higher on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a score of 79 or higher on the web-based version of the test. Each application must include results from either the GRE or the TOEFL, as appropriate.

Master’s Degree Program

Admission requirements are not rigid, and the Department encourages applicants with varying backgrounds. A BA in linguistics is not the most usual preparation for the MA program in Linguistics, nor is it necessarily more desirable than other possible preparations. Linguists traditionally have identified their interest in the field relatively late; successful linguists have come from areas as diverse as teaching, English literature, foreign languages, law, anthropology, history, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. Applicants who have not taken at least one general linguistics course should work through a modern introductory text on their own before beginning the application.

Upon entry into the MA program, native speakers of English are required to have proficiency equivalent to three years of college-level study in a language other than English; MA students who lack this level of proficiency will need to acquire it in addition to their linguistics training.

Doctoral Program

The ideal background for a student entering the doctoral program includes substantial preparation in linguistics. In order to be considered for admission to the PhD program you must have taken four of the following courses: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and diachronic linguistics. Courses that study mostly one language are not adequate. If you think you have satisfied these prerequisites, please append a statement to that effect to your Statement of Purpose, and please send syllabi or short course-descriptions for four of the courses to the Department at the time you submit your application. In addition, you must show that you have knowledge and experience in the use of at least one language not native to you, or another skill that is useful in linguistic research. Applicants with preparation in related areas, but with less background in linguistics and/or little knowledge of other languages, or who have not taken enough of the prerequisite courses, may be considered for admission to the MA program rather than the PhD. Such admission to the MA program does not guarantee eventual admission to the PhD program. If you have questions about these policies, please contact the Department.

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