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Checklist for Applicants

Items needed for complete application to the doctoral program

All items should arrive by December 1 for all applicants for admission in the following Autumn.

Submitted to the Admissions Office:

  • The completed application form. (Be sure to check "PhD" and "financial aid" boxes.)
  • An application fee
  • Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Brief statement of purpose of your educational goals and objectives, around one to two pages
  • A CV or resume of around two pages
  • A sample of your work (see below for more details)
  • If applicable, official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report (Duolingo and IELTS are also acceptable). If you are a non-native speaker but have a degree from an institution in an English-speaking country, then this requirement is waived.


Application Fee Waivers

There are a variety of programs offering fee waivers for domestic applicants. You can find information about how to apply here. In addition, the department offers a limited number of fee waivers for both domestic and international applicants. Email Dr. Micha Elsner, the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, to apply.


The Writing Sample

Applicants are required to submit a single writing sample. This should be primarily your own work (that is, your own writing and argumentation), though it may have been co-authored or revised in accord with recommendations from other people. Choose the piece of writing which you feel best represents your strengths as a candidate Ph.D. student in Linguistics. The admissions committee will use your writing sample as evidence of: 

  1. Your ability to write academic English
  2. Your skills in analysis, argumentation and critical thinking
  3. Your ability to present and write about topics related to language and linguistics

You may submit a writing sample from any academic field, although we would prefer one with some relevance to linguistics or to another aspect of your proposed program of study.

Alongside the writing sample, please submit a short (~4-5 sentence) paragraph statement explaining:

  • In what context you wrote it (for a class, honors thesis, etc.)
  • If the paper is co-authored, then explain the contributions of each co-author including yourself.
  • Why you chose this piece to submit
  • Optionally, whether there is anything about the piece you would want to do differently or revise

Applicants whose major relevant writings are not in English may submit a writing sample in another language, but are also required to submit a 1-page abstract of their writing sample in English.


Notes on the application

  • The Linguistics Graduate Program has discontinued the use of the GRE. Please do not send or self-report GRE scores; they will not be considered.
  • Be aware that the requests for letters won't go out to your recommenders until you submit- submit your application early to make sure that your letters are submitted on time.
  • We prefer candidates that meet one of the following standards of English proficiency: TOEFL: 600PBT, 100IBT, MELAB 86, IELTS 8.0