PhD in Linguistics

Entry to the Ph.D. program in Linguistics is normally restricted to students whose area of intended specialization reflects both the theoretical interests of the department and the language families in which the department possesses particular expertise. These include both the European and indigenous languages of Eastern North America, as well as a range of Indo-European languages. Applications in the areas of theoretical (generative), socio-historical, variationist linguistics and language acquisition are particularly encouraged, although entry is by no means limited to these areas.

In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, a student will normally hold a Master’s degree in linguistics.

The program of study for the Ph.D. degree involves coursework, two (written and oral) comprehensive examinations, and a thesis. Students are also required to complete at least 15 credit hours of graduate courses (five one-semester courses), including the graduate seminars, Linguistics 7000 (Analytical Issues in Linguistics) and Linguistics 7001 (Seminar in Research Methods). Students who do not already possess the equivalents of Linguistics 6001 (Issues in Morphosyntax) or Linguistics 6110 (Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar) and Linguistics 6200 (Generative Phonology) will be expected to complete these courses as part of their program. Students whose background is judged to be insufficient in certain areas may be assigned extra graduate and undergraduate coursework in addition to the five required graduate courses. Required courses will reflect the student’s intended area of specialization.

As to language requirements, Ph.D. candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in a second language, whether by a minimum B grade in the equivalent of a second-year university-level language course, or performance satisfactory to the department in an arranged reading proficiency test. A structural knowledge of a non-Indo-European language is also required for the Ph.D. program, as demonstrated by a minimum B grade in a field methods/language structure course, or other performance satisfactory to the department. Depending on the particular Ph.D. program, a reading knowledge of one or more additional languages may be required.

Both comprehensive examinations must be complete by the end of the 7th semester. Each comprehensive is expected to take no more than 6 months to research, write and submit.

Students whose language requirement involves a reading knowledge of German should note that German 2030 (Reading German I) is currently offered only every third year; as well the Department of French often offers a course in preparation for reading French.

Recommended Schedule: Ph.D. students who do not require extra courses will normally complete their coursework, including any language requirements, in the first three semesters of their program, insofar as departmental teaching resources permit.

The second year of the Ph.D. program is normally devoted to the completion of the comprehensive papers, as well as to the selection and formal approval of the thesis topic via written and oral presentation of this to the department. The topic of the first Comprehensive paper must be approved before the end of the third semester. The third and fourth years of the Ph.D. program are normally devoted to the writing of the thesis.


Department of Linguistics

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000