2023-24 Edition

Language Science, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. program in Language Science provides interdisciplinary training across a broad range of topics relating to the scientific study of language that spans fields such as linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, computer science, philosophy, logic, neuroscience, speech, hearing, education, and engineering.

This integrative approach to the science of language explores interfaces between traditional frameworks, fostering a more complete understanding of the human communication system. Emphasis is placed on modern techniques of theory construction and empirical investigation, and students are prepared for research and teaching careers in academia, industry, and government. Special attention is given to providing hands-on research experience and equipping students with sophisticated quantitative methods and technical communication skills.

While undergraduate training in linguistics is desirable, applications are also welcomed from students with backgrounds in other areas, including cognitive science, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, logic, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, hearing, speech, language studies, education, and anthropology. Decisions on admissions are based on official transcripts of all college coursework, a statement of purpose, at least three letters of recommendation, and at least one sample of technical writing. Applicants whose primary language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English for admission consideration. Information about this requirement is available here.

Course Requirements

A. Complete:
LSCI 202A- 202B- 202C- 202D- 202E- 202F Skills for Language Science I
and Skills for Language Science II
and Skills for Language Science III
and Advanced Skills for Language Science
and Advanced Skills for Language Science II
and Advanced Skills for Language Science III
B. Complete five content-focused courses. Eligible courses include, but are not limited to, the following:
Computational Models of Language Learning
Special Topics in Computational Linguistics
Special Topics in Morphology
Heritage Language Acquistion
Language Acquisition
Atypical Acquisition
Special Topics in Psycholinguistics
Language Change, Acquisition, and Complexity
Language Learning with Digital Media
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
C. Complete three methods-focused courses. Other courses currently considered Language Science methods-focused courses that are taught in other departments are available at the Language Science graduate website.
Modal Logic
Experimental Methods for Language Research
D. Complete:
LSCI 201A- 201B- 201C Language Science Research
and Language Science Research
and Language Science Research
E. Complete the foreign language requirement. 1

Students must complete 12 courses distributed as follows: five content-focused courses (including theoretical, psycholinguistic, computational, or neurolinguistic areas), three methods courses (including computational, corpus, experimental, neuroscience, or logical methods), and the four course Language Science technical and professional skills sequence. (LSCI 202A-D).

Students must also attend Language Science seminars (LSCI 201A-B-C) and fulfill the Ph.D. program’s foreign language requirement.

All requirements for the Ph.D. must be fulfilled within three years after advancement to candidacy. The normative time for advancement to candidacy is three and a half years. The normative time for completion is five years, and the maximum time permitted is six years.

Master's Degree

Although the Department does not have a terminal Master’s program, students may earn an optional Master’s degree as part of the Ph.D. program.

Research Proposal

Students are required to complete a research proposal by the fall of their second year (fourth quarter).

Concentration Examination

Students are required to complete a targeted literature review in the area of their concentration by the winter of their second year (sixth quarter), orally presented to a committee of three faculty members.

Qualifying Research Talk and Paper

Students are required to submit and orally present a research paper of publishable quality by the spring of their third year (ninth quarter).

Advancement (CADA)

In lieu of a formal admission to candidacy examination, students are required to complete a conceptual analysis of the dissertation area (CADA) by the winter of their fourth year (10th quarter), defended orally to a committee of five faculty members. The CADA provides the opportunity for the student to develop a perspective on a body of literature relevant to the dissertation research. This perspective may include discussion of research conducted by the student and potential future research, as it relates to the larger body of literature.

A written document describing the student's CADA must be submitted to the committee prior to advancement. Students are required to advance to candidacy by the end of the winter quarter of their fourth year in the program.


Students must submit a dissertation describing original publishable research and present a public defense of the dissertation to a committee of three faculty members as the final requirement of the Ph.D. program.