44.24 Linguistics





The degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy are offered in Linguistics.

44.24.1 Program of Study

  1. The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy is offered in the following areas:

    • Theoretical issues in Core Areas of Grammar (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics), Languages in which the Department has demonstrated expertise, and Language Acquisition.

  2. In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. in Linguistics, a student shall normally hold a Master's Degree in Linguistics. In the case of a student who does not meet the above requirement but who holds a language-oriented Master's Degree, a program of additional linguistics courses, supplementary to those normally considered to be required in the Ph.D. program, may be required.

  3. The program of each student must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies upon the recommendation of the Supervisory Committee in consultation with the Head of the Department.

  4. Students who fulfill the requirement in Clause 2 and who otherwise possess the qualifications of Ph.D. students will embark on a program approved on an individual basis. This will normally include not less than 15 credit hours in graduate courses, at least 6 credit hours of which must be at the 7000-level.

  5. Where needed, each program will include appropriate courses to ensure that the student will have completed 9 credit hours from graduate courses in each of two required fields selected from the following:

    1. Phonetics and Phonology
    2. Morphology and Syntax
    3. Language Acquisition
    4. Sociolinguistics
  6. The student must research and write two comprehensive papers, each to be defended at an oral examination (see General Regulations, Ph.D. and Psy.D. Comprehensive Examination).

    1. The written examinations consist of two separate research papers. These papers will be submitted to the Examination Committee. At least one of the papers must be in one of the core areas of phonetics/phonology, morphology, syntax or semantics. The topic selected for each paper must obtain the prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department. In each of these papers, students must demonstrate knowledge of the literature on the topic selected, general mastery of the discipline of linguistics and ability to undertake independent research.

    2. The Examination Committee will examine the student orally, on each paper, within one month of submission. Questioning can be as wide-ranging as the Committee deems necessary to ensure that the student displays a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the area in question.

    3. The Examination Committee shall consist of the Head of Department (or delegate) who shall Chair the Committee, the Supervisor, the Dean of Graduate Studies (or delegate), and other members necessary to satisfy General Regulations, Ph.D. and Psy.D. Comprehensive Examination, who may normally include the members of the Supervisory Committee. If the Head of Department is also a member of the Supervisory Committee, an additional representative of the Department shall be appointed to chair the Examination Committee.

  7. Initially, students must obtain approval for their Ph.D. thesis topics from the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department, in consultation with the Supervisory Committee. The thesis topic is normally selected before the end of the second full year in the program. Once the topic is approved, a more detailed thesis proposal must be presented to the Department in both written and oral format, and must receive formal Departmental approval prior to the writing of the thesis.

  8. Proficiency in a language other than the student's first language will be required, as demonstrated by a minimum 'B' grade in a second-year 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, as demonstrated by a minimum 'B' grade in a field methods/language structure course or other performance satisfactory to the Department. Depending on the program, a reading knowledge of one or more additional languages may be required. Students must meet all language requirements before undertaking their comprehensive examinations.

  9. All Ph.D. students are advised to consult the Department's Graduate Program web page for details on program requirements and for general information relating to the graduate program.

44.24.2 Courses

A selection of the following graduate courses will be offered to meet the requirements of students, as far as the resources of the Department will allow. Full information is to be found in the Department's Graduate Course Descriptions web page.

Regularly offered:

  • 6100 Issues in Morphosyntax (credit may not be obtained for both Linguistics 6100 and the former 6001)
  • 6110 Selected Topics in Transformational Grammar
  • 6115 Topics in the Syntax of a Selected Language (prerequisite: 6001 or 6110)
  • 6150 Principles of Language Acquisition
  • 6151 Selected Topics in Language Acquisition (prerequisite: Permission of the instructor)
  • 6203 Phonological Theory (credit may not be obtained for both 6203 and the former 6200)
  • 6204 Selected Topics in Phonology (prerequisite: 6203; credit may not be obtained for both 6204 and the former 6201)
  • 6210 Sociolinguistics (credit restriction: a student may not obtain credit for both 6210 or the former 6211)
  • 6400 Comparative and Historical Linguistics
  • 6500 Field Methods
  • 6700 Experimental Phonetics 
  • 6956 Language Disorders and Linguistic Theory
  • 7000 Seminar in Research Methods
  • 7001 Analytical Issues in Linguistics

Occasionally offered:

  • 6050-54 Structure of a North American Indigenous Language (credit restriction: Except where an exemption is supplied by the Head of the Department, a student may not obtain credit for more than one course in the 6050-54 series. Students may not obtain credit for any of the previously offered 6010, 6011, 6020, 6021, 6030, 6031, 6040, 6041 in addition to a course in the 6050-54 series.)
  • 6055-59 Structure of an Uncommonly-Taught Language (credit restriction: Except where an exemption is supplied by the Head of the Department, a student may not obtain credit for more than one course in the 6055-59 series.)
  • 6212 Selected Topics in Language and Gender
  • 6220 Areal and Temporal Variations in Language
  • 6300-6309 Special Subjects
  • 6420 English Dialectology I
  • 6421 English Dialectology II
  • 6430 Selected Topics in Linguistic Variation (prerequisite: 6220 or the former 6211)
  • 6601 Modern Linguistic Theories
  • 6701 Selected Topics in Experimental Phonetics (prerequisites: 6203, 6700)
  • 6800 Selected Topics in Morphology
  • 6880 Selected Topics in Semantics
  • 6999 M.A. Research Project
  • 7100 Topics in North American Native Indigenous Languages (prerequisites: a course from series 6050-6054 or the former 6011, 6031, 6041)
  • 7200 Advanced Topics in Syntax (prerequisites: 6110, plus either 6001 or 6115)
  • 7400 Seminar in Comparative and Historical Linguistics (prerequisite: 6400 or 6410)
  • 7430 Seminar in Linguistic Variation (prerequisite: 6430)
  • 7800 Seminar in Morpho-semantics (prerequisite: 6800)
  • 7900-03 Special Topics in Linguistics

Appropriate equivalent credits may be given for courses taken at the Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, or a similar institute. Students are encouraged to attend these institutes. They should, however, consult the Head of the Department as to what courses may be appropriate for credit.

The information on this site has been extracted from the Official 2023-2024 University Calendar. While every reasonable effort has been made to duplicate the information contained in the official University Calendar, if there are differences, the official Memorial University of Newfoundland Calendar will be considered the final and accurate authority.

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