Linguistics, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Students pursuing the Ph.D. take at least 33 graduate-level credits of course-work, of which at least 9 credits are at the 800-level (seminars) and 6 credits correspond to the Minor area of specialization, possibly in another department. These minimum requirements are usually fulfilled by formal classes and not by independent studies, although the latter may be used to supplement a student's program of study. The student's first year is normally devoted to the 'core', foundational coursework in the department's three primary research areas:

  1. theoretical linguistics (syntax, semantics, phonology),
  2. psycholinguistics/neurolinguistics/language acquisition,
  3. computational linguistics.

In addition to satisfying (part of) the 9 credit requirement for seminars, the next two years are devoted to satisfying 6 credits (beyond any core courses) in the Minor, as approved by the Graduate Director. Some students choose to pursue the Certificate in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, which may count as the minor area. To help ensure satisfactory progress towards the degree, students are required to submit to the Graduate Director a Ph.D. Roadmap once each semester, completed in consultation with their advisor.
Advance to Candidacy: By their fifth semester, students write a substantial paper LING888, under the supervision of a faculty member. This paper enables students to demonstrate a capacity for productive research and to make an original contribution to the literature, often forming the basis for the dissertation research. It is submitted to a three member examining committee, is defended publicly two weeks later, and must be approved by the committee after the defense. The student must then upload the completed paper to the folder in the department PDF locker, and inform the Graduate Director that this has been done.
In addition, by their seventh semester students must also write a paper in their Minor area of specialization (or some other area that is not their major area). The paper must be prepared under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Once the paper is completed to the satisfaction of the supervising faculty member, it must be uploaded to the 896 folder in the department PDF locker, and the Minor Area Paper approval form presented to the Graduate Director. [Under special circumstances, upon the written recommendation of the student's advisor and with the approval of the faculty of the department, a student may satisfy the Minor area paper requirement by instead taking a third course in the Minor area.]

LING888 and the Minor area paper replace the 'comprehensive examinations' held in some departments.

Post-Candidacy: After satisfactory completion of the 895 paper, students are admitted to candidacy and write a proposal for a dissertation, which a faculty member agrees to supervise. Students enroll in LING899 while working on the dissertation, and must take at least 12 credits of this course. The dissertation must make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge. The supervisor, in consultation with other committee members (selected by the student and the supervisor), determines when there is a draft which will be defended publicly at an oral examination. The dissertation is approved by a five member examining committee. On completion of the approved dissertation, a hard copy will be submitted to the department, along with a 2nd hard copy or else an electronic version for the department web page.

Course Title Credits
Required coursework:
LING800-level electives9
Minor area courses6
LING888Doctoral Research Paper6
Select one of the following sequences:6
Syntactic Theory
and Issues in Syntax
Phonological Theory
and Issues in Phonology
Introduction to Semantics
and Issues in Semantics
Select one additional sequence from the following:6
and Issues in Psycholinguistics
Computational Linguistics:
Natural Language Processing
and Computational Linguistics II
Select two additional courses from any unselected sequence6
Dissertation Research Requirements
LING899Doctoral Dissertation Research12
Total Credits51