Ph.D. Program

The main components of the Linguistics Ph.D. program are as follows:

  1. Course Requirements
  2. Language Requirement
  3. Generals Papers
  4. Dissertation
  5. Extra Funding Availability

All requirements, including two generals papers, should ideally be completed by the end of the third year, but in no case later than the end of the fourth. The dissertation prospectus is due on October 15 of the fall term of the fourth year. Failure to meet program requirements in a timely fashion may result in termination of candidacy. 


First-year students are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) until they select a major field from the regular departmental faculty. Thereafter, progress toward completion of the Ph.D. requirements continues to be monitored by the DGS, but primary responsibility for overseeing study shifts to the major advisor. Students are free to change their major advisor at any time. By the end of the second year they should also select a co-advisor, who serves as a secondary advisor and faculty mentor.

Progress to the Degree (updated 7/1/2015)

A B+ average must be maintained in each year of graduate study. Grades below B- cannot be counted toward departmental requirements; two grades below B- in required courses will result in termination of candidacy. Ordinarily, a grade of Incomplete can only be converted into a letter grade if the work is made up before the end of the following term. No grade of Incomplete can be used to satisfy a departmental requirement.
No two programs of study are alike, but students should typically plan to complete the requirements for the degree according to the timetable below. Departures from this schedule must be approved by the main advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Years G1 and G2: Course requirements are satisfied. By the end of the G2 year, the first generals paper should be well underway.
Year G3: Teaching duties begin. The first generals paper should be defended before the end of the fall term, and the second generals paper by the end of the spring term.
Year G4: Teaching duties continue. A thesis prospectus, naming a dissertation committee, is due on October 15 of the fall term; the committee must be chaired or co-chaired by a member of the Department of Linguistics and must include at least two members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dissertation Completion Fellowship applications are due at midyear.
Year G5: The thesis is completed and defended in the spring.

A.M. Degree  (updated 7/1/2015)

Graduate students who have completed two years of residence, who have fulfilled all the course requirements and language requirements for the Ph.D., and who have successfully defended one Generals paper, are eligible to petition for a Master’s (A.M.) degree.  

Note that there is no master’s program in Linguistics.