Home < Degrees < Linguistics


Administrative Unit:Linguistics
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.A., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Enc, Li, Macaulay (chair), Macken, Valentine; Assistant Professor Purnell


The Department of Linguistics admits students for the Ph.D. degree in linguistics, and awards a master of arts degree to students in a UW Ph.D. program upon the completion of the M.A. requirements. Students admitted to the linguistics Ph.D. program must attend the department orientation and must consult with the chair in person by the beginning of classes. All students proposing to minor in linguistics must also consult with the chair, who is the minor advisor.

The department focuses on research in formal theories of language (encompassing cross-linguistic studies in syntax, semantics, phonology, and morphology), articulatory and experimental phonetics, and American Indian languages. Other specializations, including historical-comparative linguistics, may be created by means of interdepartmental study. Students consult with their graduate advisors in establishing their areas of specialization and in working out a coherent program. Applied linguistic studies such as the theory and practice of language teaching or the history and structure of a particular language or language family are handled in other departments, or may be assembled as a program of individual study.

The department maintains a phonetics laboratory for teaching and research in experimental and acoustic phonetics, and also maintains a specialized library collection in the Graduate Reading Room, 1151 Van Hise Hall.

Doctoral Minor 

The doctoral minor consists of 12 credits chosen in consultation with the minor advisor. The minor in linguistics will normally include Linguistics 301, 303, 310, and 330.

Financial Aid 

The department currently supports three teaching assistantships for Linguistics 101, usually awarded to graduate students after their first year of study. Project assistantships are often available. Advanced Opportunity Fellowships are possible for targeted students who are US citizens or Permanent Residents. A small number of fellowships are available and are administered through the Graduate School. TA appointments in other departments, for instance in language departments or in the English as a second language program, are sometimes possible, since being a student in those departments is not a condition of employment.


The department admits only students whose goal is the Ph.D. degree in linguistics. Admission to the Ph.D. program does not require an undergraduate degree in linguistics. Admission is based on the applicant's personal statement, three letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, TOEFL scores if applicable, and transcripts of prior academic work. The personal statement is considered carefully to ensure that the applicant's goals are compatible with the program offered by the department.

For more information: Department of Linguistics, 1168 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2292; fax 608-265-3193; jjdrummy@wisc.edu; ling.wisc.edu
Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook: vanhise.lss.wisc.edu/ling/?q=node/15.