Linguistics Department

Ph.D. Program


The program of work for the PhD in linguistics requires 54 hours of coursework, to be completed prior to advancing to candidacy in the PhD program. The PhD program is a full-time program, with most courses taking place between 8 am and 5pm on weekdays. Depending on the area of concentration, completing a PhD requires between 5 and 7 years, with 6 years being the average time to degree. An MA is not required for admission to the PhD program.

All graduate students must take the following 5 courses (15 credit hours).

LIN 381M - Phonetics 
LIN 380K - Phonology I 
LIN 380L - Syntax I
LIN 380M - Semantics I
LIN 385 – Field Methods

In addition to the courses above, PhD students must successfully complete 39 credit hours of approved coursework. Approved means that you will work out your program with your graduate advisor and your personal academic advisor, and your plan will be approved on this basis. This coursework must include:

  • Six credit hours in a minor area. The hours must represent a coherent area of study in linguistics and/or a closely related field.
  • The Forum for Doctoral Candidates (taken in the 5th semester)
  • The balance of credits will be for “research equivalencies,” mostly in the primary area of specialization. The research equivalencies include LIN 381K, LIN 381L, any LIN 389, LIN 395, any advanced course or non-core area course. Doctoral students are expected to enroll in at least one research equivalency each semester during their first three years.

An additional research is required at the end of both the first and second years.

PhD Qualifying Procedures

  • To qualify for PhD candidacy, a student must complete all specified coursework, submit research papers in each of the first two years, submit an acceptable paper in the minor area (usually written in conjunction with a seminar in the same area), and submit the Qualifying Paper in the area of primary specialization.
  • The Graduate Advisor will appoint two faculty readers to evaluate the Qualifying Paper (the student may suggest names) with appropriate areas of specialization.
  • Students are expected to submit a proposal for their Qualifying Paper at the beginning of the fall term in which they will register for the Doctoral Forum. Students are expected to finish the paper during the fall term in conjunction with the Doctoral Forum. It is expected that the paper will be submitted and accepted by the end of the third year in the program.
  • The topic must have the Graduate Advisor's approval. After a Qualifying Paper has been submitted, the student may not request a change in topic or a change in readers for that paper.
  • The Doctoral Forum (Linguistics 397) is specifically designed to give participants the opportunity to present their work in progress and receive feedback from fellow students as well as the instructor. The Forum is to be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis.
  • Students must submit at least a full draft of the Qualifying Paper to the Graduate Advisor and the two approved readers by the end of the fifth semester in residence, counting from the date when the student first entered the graduate program, whether as an MA or a PhD student.
  • Students must submit the official version of the Qualifying Paper to the Graduate Coordinator for distribution to the readers at the beginning of the sixth semester, so that there is time for revisions and approval before the end of the semester. The evaluations that the readers maker are “pass,” “pass contingent on an oral exam,” “fail,” or “revise.” The evaluation is normally made within two weeks of the date of submission. Students are given a date by which any revisions are to be made.

PhD Candidacy

  • Application to Candidacy

After completion of the requirements described above, the student is eligible to apply for PhD Candidacy with the Graduate School. This requires the submission of an approved Program of Work and an Application for PhD Candidacy, both of which must be approved by the Graduate Advisor. The candidacy application, which includes the dissertation proposal and lists the proposed committee members, must also be approved by the supervising professor. The application for Candidacy must be submitted online through UT Direct. Information can be found at the Office of Graduate Studies website.

  • Continuous Registration

Graduate Students who have been admitted to PhD candidacy are required to register continuously (every fall and spring) from the time they are admitted to candidacy through the semester in which they receive their degree. Students are responsible for maintaining their own continuous registration.

  • Second-Year Review

Unless a student completes the doctoral degree within two years from the date of admission to candidacy, the Graduate Studies Committee will review his or her dissertation progress at the end of two years and annually thereafter and will report its recommendations to the Graduate Dean. The committee may recommend an extension of candidacy or the termination of candidacy. Extensions of candidacy beyond the seventh year in the program are scrutinized carefully and strongly discouraged.

  • Department of Linguistics

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street STOP B5100
    Robert L. Patton Hall (RLP) 4.304
    Austin, TX 78712