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.
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).
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.
|Application Acceptance Rate||17%|
|Med. Time-to-degree (years)||5.75|
|Enrollment Percent Male||59%|
|Enrollment Percent Female||41%|
|Enrollment Percent International||24%|
|Enrollment Percent URM||19%|