The Ph.D. in linguistics is an academic/professional research degree. Our program is designed to produce scholars who can carry out research on human language in any of its aspects within a contemporary theoretical framework, and which challenges, modifies, and extends contemporary theory. Our students also have the opportunity to investigate language in an interdisciplinary context, including language development and human language processing. Students are required to complete seven courses from a set of core course requirements, a course in professionalism, a workshop for preparing the written comprehensive examination, and additional courses and seminars in their areas of specialization. Following completion of the oral comprehensive examinations, students must submit a dissertation prospectus, and complete and defend a dissertation demonstrating their ability to undertake and carry out original research in linguistics. Students are encouraged to apply for and receive an MA degree in Linguistics along the way to the Ph.D.
The Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona offers undergraduate and graduate programs in linguistics and human language technology. Our faculty has research specializations in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, represented by diverse interests in a variety of languages. We also offer unique programs in Native American linguistics. The department trains students for careers in teaching, research, and industry, and is equipped with a variety of laboratory facilities.
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
Prospective applicants must have a 3.0 or higher GPA in order to qualify for admission.
Statement of Intent
Applicants must submit a concise statement of intent demonstrating their academic goals, career goals, and why a graduate degree in linguistics would help him/her pursue these goals.
Applicants must provide a writing sample to demonstrate their level and proficiency of writing.
The GRE is optional, not required for application to the PhD Program.
English proficiency is one of the requirements for admission for all applicants whose native language is not English. Applicants must submit a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 on the paper-based test (PB), 79 on the internet-based test (iBT), or a IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 7 (no subject area below a score of 6). International students seeking graduate teaching assistantships must attain the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score listed above, and in addition must attain a score of 26 or higher on the speak portion of the TOEFL IBT.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from letter writers who know the student’s work, specifically assessing student’s ability to carry out graduate work in linguistics. Applicants are encouraged to submit letters of recommendation from professors who are familiar with the applicant's recent academic work.
Minimum TOEFL: Score of 550 on the paper-based test (PB) or 79 on the internet-based test (iBT)
Minimum IELTS: Composite score of 7 (no subject area below a score of 6)
While we are not able to guarantee funding for all graduate students, the Department of Linguistics endeavors to fund all PhD students for four years, through a combination of fellowships, teaching positions, and research positions. Other sources of funding are available, and graduate students are expected to familiarize themselves early on with these opportunities. These include funding sources here at the University of Arizona (such as the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute and the ConfluenCenter) and elsewhere (such as the National Science Foundation, The National Institutes of Health, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and other funding agencies).
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
NRC Taxon(a) for this program:
A. Core Curriculum
Required of all students (without exception; courses taken outside the department or at other universities may not be substituted):
a. Syntax I (LING503), Phonology I (LING510), taken in the first semester
b. Five courses out of the following six areas (one out of each group, with one group not treated).
 Underlying assumption: students with TA/RA duties are expected to take, except by petition, three courses per semester until the end of the sixth semester. Students without TA/RA duties may wish to take 4 courses.
LING 508 Computational Techniques for Linguists
LING 538 Computational Linguistics
LING 539 Statistical NLP
LING 578 Speech Technology
LING 501 Foundation of Linguistic Theory
LING 507 Statistical Analysis for Linguists
LING 588 Linguistic Elicitation and Documentation
LING 518 Analysis and Argumentation
LING 514 Phonology II
LING 515 Phonological Phonetics
LING 516 History of Phonology
LING 532 Psychology of Language
LING 533 Theories of Language Development
LING 543 Advanced Language Development (syntax/lexicon)
LING 504 Advanced Syntactic Theory
LING 505 Theories of Grammar
LING 506 Major Works in Syntactic Theory
LING 564 Formal Semantics
LING 522 Lexical Semantics
LING 535 Morphology
LING 544 Typology and Universals
LING 545 Structure of Non-Western Language
LING 554 Structure of A Near-Eastern Language
Students who have completed any of the core courses at the undergraduate level in the linguistics department, and have counted that course as part of their BA degree in Linguistics, must retake that course at the graduate level when they enter the graduate program. If the course was not used for the BA degree in Linguistics, and was taken at the graduate level, the student may waive the relevant course in the graduate program, based on the course and advisor’s agreement. In that case, the course must be replaced by another core course.
Two required colloquium courses, LING595A, are to be taken in the 1st and 2nd semesters, one unit each. These are important parts of graduate education. All other students are strongly encouraged to enroll in these courses.
A minimum of two seminars is required. However, students are encouraged to attend all seminars that meet their curricular goals throughout their graduate career, and should consult with their advisor on the number and type of additional seminars to consider.
D. Professionalism in Linguistics Requirement
There is a required one-credit course on professionalism, LING689, (separate from the comprehensive exam courses) to be taken by the 6th semester. This class is required of all students. In addition, the graduate advisor will be responsible to meet with students in order to cover issues such as students’ survival skills, meetings with professors, planning graduate career, library resources, etc.
The core requirements, specialization requirements, and minor requirements leave little or no space in the student's schedule for electives. Where there is an opportunity for an elective, the student may select among LING courses not used for the requirements, as well as courses outside the LING department.
Each student will select a specialization within linguistics. Specialization courses are listed below.
Where existing specializations do not meet a specific person's needs, that student is encouraged to design their own specialization in consultation with their advisor.
The requirements for these specializations will overlap with the core course requirements. However, Major and Minor course requirements may not overlap with each other on the Plan of Study.
LISTING OF SPECIALIZATIONS (pp 11-14 of Lingusitics Graduate Handbook)
Total of 36 units: A) Required: LING 521 Language Revitalization, Maintenance, and Documentation LING 535 Morphology LING 588 Elicitation and Documentation LING 597a Descriptive Linguistics for Native American Languages (Must be taken Fall semester) LING 699 (2 units) Internship* 1 semester of Navajo, Tohono O'odham, Hopi, or another indigenous or endangered language** 2 courses taken at AILDI (can overlap with other requirements) B) At least one of: LING 544 Typology LING 545 Structure of a Non-Western Language
Total of 36 units:
A) All of the following: LING 510 Phonology 1 LING 514 Phonology II LING 515 Phonological Phonetics* Either one of the courses listed in group C below, or a third instance of Ling 696B *Exception: if the student is doing a phonetics minor, then LING 515 will count towards the minor, and a course from groups B or C can replace this course.
B) Two instances of LING 696B (These seminars may be taken after advancement to candidacy if 36 appropriate LING units are otherwise provided)
C) Strongly recommended: LING 507 Statistics For Linguists LING 516 History of Phonology LING 535 Morphology (when taught with a phonology focus) ANTH 580 Historical Linguistics
PSYCHOLINGUISTICS The specialization in Psycholinguistics consists of an emphasis in either adult or developmental psycholinguistics.
The requirements for the developmental emphasis are as follows.
Total of 36 units:
A. All of the following: LING 533 Theories of Language Development LING 543 Advanced Language Development(syntax/lexicon) LING 543 Advanced Language Development (phon/morph) LING 532 Psychology of Language LING 507 Statistical Analysis for Linguistics (where appropriate another statistics course may be substituted - for example, a Psyc, Educational Psyc, or Math stats course - if approved by the student's own advisor and the DGS). LING 699 (six units of lab rotation)* LING 696 (one advanced seminar)
B. Strongly recommended: LING 595 B – Cognitive Science colloquium LING 595A – Linguistics Department colloquium The requirements for the adult psycholinguistics emphasis are as follows: Total of 36 units: A. Required: LING 532 (Psycholing.) LING 517 (CogSci) LING 507 (Statistics) 14 LING 533 (Developmental Psycholing.) LING 548 Auditory and Visual Word Recognition and Lexical Processing LING 699 (6 units) lab experience, structured in consultation with the advisor* B. Plus 1 out of the following 4: LING 509 (Writingsystems) LING 540 (Bilingual Mind) LING 542 (Topics in Psycholing.) LING 549A (Bioling.) C. Plus 1 out of the following: LING 696E (seminar) LING 696F (seminar) LING 596F (if language-oriented that semester; Cog. Psych. SYNTACTIC THEORY: Total of 36 units in LING classes: A) All of the following LING 503 Syntax I LING 504 Advanced Syntax LING 505 Theories of Grammar LING 506 Major Works in Syntax B) And at least two of the following LING 501 Formal Foundations LING 518 Analysis and Argumentation LING 522 Lexical Semantics LING 535 Morphology LING 538 ComputationalLinguistics LING 544 Typology and Universals LING 564 Formal Semantics
C) and two seminars in either LING 696A or LING 696D (These seminars may be taken after advancement to candidacy if 36 appropriate LING units are otherwiseprovided)
(List from pp 14-16 of Lingusitics Graduate Handbook)
Options in the Linguistics Minor (for students in the Linguistics Ph.D. program
A) Required LING 538 Computational Linguistics
B) Two of the following LING 501 Formal Foundations ,LING 578 Speech Technology, LING 539 Statistical NLP, LING 581 Advanced Computational Linguistics 15
*LING508 Programming for Linguists (required only if student does not have prior programming experience)
MORPHOLOGICAL THEORY: (Minor option only) Morphology figures in many of our courses. You should work closely with your advisor in selecting courses that include coverage of morphological themes in a way that broadens your understanding of morphology and advances your general research interests.
A) Required: LING535 Morphology
B) Two of the following courses: LING 535 Morphology*, LING 544 Typologies and Universals, LING 522 Lexical Semantics, LING 588 Documentation and Elicitation (with approval of the student's advisor, depending on type of language) LING 596D, Linguistics and Philosophy (when it has a morphology focus) LING 696H Seminar in Morphology
*535 may be repeated for credit if the student's advisor agrees that the content of the second offering is sufficiently different from the first.
NATIVE AMERICAN LINGUISTICS: (Minor option only)
A) Two semesters of Navajo, Tohono O’odham, Hopi or other indigenouslanguage. (1 semester from each of two languages is acceptable)
B) One of the following courses: LING 583 Sociolinguistics ANTH 589 Areal Survey of Native North AmericanLanguages LING 521 Language Revitalization and Maintenance LING 588 Field Methods LING 545 Structure of a Non Western Language (if taught on a Native American language) One course taken at AILDI (available in the summer only1 )
C) A paper on the structure of an indigenous language (to be submitted to thestudent’s advisor. This could be a paper written for another class.).
PHONETICS: (Minor option only)
A. LING 515 Phonological Phonetics, LING 507 Statistics for Linguists B.
One of the following: 1 Note that students enrolling in AILDI must take a minimum of two classes. 16 LING 578 Speech Technology, LING 696B
Phonological Theory (with a phonetics focus) PHONOLOGICAL THEORY: LING514 Phonology II LING516 History ofPhonology LING696B (with a phonology focus)
PSYCHOLINGUISTICS: (Adult) LING 532 (Psycholing.) LING 517 (CogSci) LING 533 (developmental psycholing.) LING 540 (Bilingual Mind)
PSYCHOLINGUISTICS: (developmental) LING 533 Theories of Language Development LING 543 Advanced Language Development(syntax/lexicon) LING 543 Advanced Language Development (phon/morph)
SEMANTICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE: (Minor option only)
A) Required: LING 564 Semantics LING 522 Lexical Semantics
B) One of the following: LING 565 Pragmatics LING 563 Philosophy of Language LING 596D Topics in Philosophy and Linguistics LING 696A Seminar in Syntax and Semantics (when a semantics focusis given) LING 696E Master Seminar in Cognitive Science
SYNTACTIC THEORY LING 504 Advanced Syntax LING 505 Theories of Grammar OR LING506 Major Works LING 696A Seminar in Syntax and Semantics
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.
|Application Acceptance Rate||19.51%|
|Med. Time-to-degree (years)||5.50|
|Enrollment Percent Male||54.72%|
|Enrollment Percent Female||45.28%|
|Enrollment Percent International||22.64%|
|Enrollment Percent URM||30.19%|