Why study linguistics?

Because language is a window into the mind. Linguistics provides an understanding of the human capacity to acquire, perceive, and produce language and of language’s role in contemporary society.

Ph.D. Overview

Our Ph.D. program in Linguistics requires the student to develop a solid understanding of the core areas of the discipline in addition to an in-depth specialty in one of the many areas available through the research interests of the faculty. Areas of special strength in the graduate program include phonetics, phonology, syntax, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, first language acquisition, second language acquisition, semantics, and the study of indigenous languages.

The student will work with their academic advisor to devise a course of study that best suits the student's research interests.

The Ph.D. program usually takes five years which includes completing an M.A. degree en route to the Ph.D. All Ph.D. students receive a five-year funding package.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Applicants must submit a curriculum vitae, a statement of purpose, an official copy of transcript from the baccalaureate granting institution and any transcripts from institutions attended post-baccalaureate, 3 letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examination scores. Non-native speakers of English must meet English proficiency requirements as described here

Students originally admitted to the M.A. program who are completing the M.A. degree (research project option) and want to continue toward the Ph.D. must submit the following to the Director of Graduate Studies by January 1st: a 5-7 page summary of the M.A. research project, a timeline for completing the M.A. which has been approved by the M.A. advisor, and a 1-2 page statement that outlines the type of research that the student would like to conduct at the Ph.D. level and the student’s ultimate goals upon completing the Ph.D. Any decision to apply for the Ph.D. program must be taken in consultation with the advisor or Director of Graduate Studies. Acceptance into the Ph.D. program will be contingent on two criteria: (1) a grade of ‘2’ on the M.A. research project (2) approval of the Linguistics faculty that the student should be allowed to continue in the program based on strength of the student’s application. The M.A. research project is graded on the following scale: '0' - fail; '1' - pass without consideration for admission to the Ph.D. program; '2' - pass with consideration for admission to the Ph.D. program. The admissions decision will be made at a faculty meeting following the student’s defense of the M.A. research project.

Submit your graduate application online. Send all other requested application materials to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of Linguistics
Blake Hall
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 427
Lawrence, KS 66045

 

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. is structured as a five year program. Students will earn an M.A. en route to the Ph.D.

Research Skills

The university requires that every doctoral student have training in research skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the comprehensive oral exam. One of the following courses with a grade of B or above fulfills the requirements for research skills:

  1. A graduate-level (500 or above) course in statistics
  2. A graduate-level (500 or above) course in a computer programming language
  3. LING 720 Research Methods in Linguistics
  4. LING 741 Field Methods in Linguistic Description
  5. LING 782 Research Methods in Child Language
     

Responsible Scholarship

The university requires that every doctoral student have training in responsible scholarship pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the comprehensive oral exam. LING 794 Proseminar fulfills the requirements for responsible scholarship.
 

Minimum Course Requirements

57 credit hours consisting of 33 credit hours at the M.A. level and 24 hours at the Ph.D. level.

M.A. Level Course Requirements
LING 794Proseminar3
LING 705Phonetics I3
LING 712Phonology I3
LING 725Syntax I3
Select 1 course3
First Language Acquisition I (or)
Second Language Acquisition I
Select 1 course3
Psycholinguistics I
Neurolinguistics I
Select 1 of the following research methods courses:3
Research Methods in Linguistics (or)
Field Methods in Linguistic Description (or)
Research Methods in Child Language
ELECTIVES (2 courses - 6 credit hours) to be determinded by the student and the student's advisor. One elective course (3 credit hours) must be taken from the Advanced II-Level course list or Linguistics Seminar course list. Electives are NOT to include LING 850, LING 851, LING 852, or LING 998.6
Research Seminar course (1 course - 3 credit hours) to be determined by the student and the student's advisor. The course will include completion of a written research proposal and oral presentations.3
Topics in Research in Experimental Linguistics: _____
Research in Language Acquisition and Processing
Research in Field and Formal Linguistics
M.A. Research Project course (1 course - 3 credit hours) 3
Master's Research Project
Advanced II-Level Courses:
Phonetics II
Phonology II
Second Language Acquisition II
Syntax II
Morphology
Semantics
Psycholinguistics II
First Language Acquisition II
Neurolinguistics II
Linguistics Seminars:
Seminar in Phonetics
Seminar in Phonology
Seminar in First Language Acquisition
Seminar in Syntax
Seminar in Semantics
Seminar in Psycholinguistics
Seminar in Neurolinguistics
Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
Seminar in Amerindian Linguistics
or
Linguistic Seminar: _____
Ph.D. Level Course Requirements
Select 4 Advanced II-Level courses or any Seminar (12 credit hours)12
Phonetics II
Phonology II
Second Language Acquisition II
Syntax II
Morphology
Semantics
Psycholinguistics II
First Language Acquisition II
Neurolinguistics II
Seminar in Phonetics
Seminar in Phonology
Seminar in First Language Acquisition
Seminar in Syntax
Seminar in Semantics
Seminar in Psycholinguistics
Seminar in Neurolinguistics
Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
Seminar in Amerindian Linguistics
Linguistic Seminar: _____
Select 2 Elective courses (6 credit hours) May included LING 850, LING 851, LING 852, LING 998. Select in conjunction with student's Linguistic advisor.6
Select 2 Research Seminars (6 credit hours) LING 850, LING 851, LING 852 are repeatable for credit.6
Topics in Research in Experimental Linguistics: _____
Research in Language Acquisition and Processing
Research in Field and Formal Linguistics

Research Presentation Requirement

Students must give 1 research presentation each semester beginning in their second year of the program. For students who are just beginning their independent research projects, this presentation may involve the discussion of published research relevant to the student’s research interests. This requirement may be satisfied through a presentation in one of the empirical research seminars (LING 850, LING 851, LING 852), a presentation at a local, regional, or international conference, a presentation in the Linguistics colloquy series, or a presentation at any other relevant forum as determined by the faculty adviser. Students must include the titles and dates of these presentations in their annual report each year.

M.A. Research Project for PhD Students

The Master’s research project should consist of a detailed research proposal and include pilot results and/or preliminary analyses. Students in the Ph.D. program should be able to continue working on the project with the aim of submitting it as a qualifying paper for the Ph.D. program.

An M.A. candidate in residence who has begun work on a research project must enroll for at least 1 credit hour of LING 899 Master's Research Project each semester (summer session excluded) until the thesis is completed.

The research project must be defended successfully in an oral examination. The oral exam is scheduled when all 3 committee members have indicated in writing their approval or disapproval of the research project for defense and at least 2 (including the chair) have approved scheduling the exam. The oral examination will typically last 1-2 hours.

Following the oral examination, the student's performance will be evaluated by the project committee and reported by a Progress-to-Degree form to Graduate Studies as the outcome of the Master's oral examination. The committee will evaluate the M.A. research project with the following grades: 0-fail, 1-pass but cannot continue to the Ph.D. program, 2-pass and can continue to the Ph.D. program.

Qualifying Papers

The student needs to write 2 qualifying papers -- a major paper in the area of specialization and a minor paper in a different area. Both papers should represent original work and both papers must have different advisers. The major paper may be an expanded version of the M.A. research project and should be of publishable quality. The minimum lengths of the major and minor papers are 25 pages and 15 pages, respectively.

The major and minor papers are developed in close consultation with an Advisory Committee (3 faculty members) and the 2 papers should be supervised by different faculty members.  The adequacy of the papers is evaluated on the quality of the literature review, theoretical contribution, and research integration as well as the basis of their logical coherence and organization.  The student does not need to orally defend the qualifying papers.

Dissertation Proposal and the Oral Comprehensive Exam

When the major and minor qualifying papers have been approved by the Advisory Committee, the student may form a Ph.D. committee (4 Department of Linguistics Graduate Faculty members, 1 Graduate Studies Representative member), which helps the student work on the dissertation, starting from the dissertation proposal. The proposal should clearly identify the research questions that the dissertation will address, include a comprehensive literature review, lay out the methodology for the research, discuss preliminary data and results, if any, and present a timetable for the dissertation research. The minimum length for the dissertation proposal is 10 pages.

The Oral Comprehensive Exam is the official exam required by Graduate Studies and consists of an oral defense of the dissertation proposal and the answering of any other questions related to the fields of study of the dissertation research. It must be completed the spring semester of the 4th year (at the latest). The oral examination will typically last 2 to 3 hours.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

The dissertation is developed in consultation with the Ph.D. committee.  The dissertation must be orally defended in front of the Ph.D. committee.  The student will be asked first to summarize his/her dissertation and evidence, and then will be questioned by the committee. The dissertation defense will typically last 1 to 2 hours.

University Requirements

Throughout the course of doctoral study, the student must fulfill all relevant College and University policies, such as those concerning doctoral residency, time constraints, continuous post-comprehensive enrollment, human subjects review, electronic filing, and graduation.