PhD Program

1) Students complete at least 15 linguistics credit hours (five courses after an MA), approved by the supervisory committee. One of the five courses can be a Directed Research course. In addition, students in the first year of the program are required to take LING 890 Graduate Seminar I and LING 891 Graduate Seminar II.

2) Students are expected to complete two qualifying papers (QPs) during their second year in the program. At least one of the papers needs to be in an area outside of the student’s main area of research, and unrelated to the thesis. Students will typically enroll in the first Qualifying Paper course in the Fall of their second year, and in the second in the following Spring semester. The paper is evaluated by a committee of at least two faculty members, one of them being the senior supervisor.

3) Each student must submit a written thesis proposal to the supervisory committee. The proposal defines the intended, original research and the relationship between it and existing scholarship. After submission, the student is expected to present the proposal at a departmental colloquium no later than the end of the ninth semester of residence. The written proposal must be approved by the supervisory committee prior to the start of substantive research.

4) Students must also write and defend a dissertation.

The residency requirement for the PhD degree is five semesters. Students generally take from four to five years to complete their doctorates depending on their background and preparation.

The following table outlines a typical academic schedule for a PhD student.

  Fall Spring Summer
Year 1                           

2-3 courses

Graduate Seminar I

2-3 courses

Graduate Seminar II                   

Any remaining courses

Preliminary research


Year 2                 
(see QP regulations)
(see QP regulations)
Thesis proposal research
Year 3 Thesis proposal research Thesis proposal defence Thesis research
Year 4     
Thesis research                                             
Thesis research                                                                                        


Thesis completion and defence any time after successful thesis proposal defence, in year 4 or 5