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Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements


M.A. in linguistics with a thesis. A student entering the Ph.D. program without courses equivalent to these must take them as soon as they are offered.

Degree Requirements


2 semesters, which may include 1 summer session, must be spent in full-time resident study at KU. Normally, an enrollment of 9 credit hours is considered full-time during the semester. See Doctoral Degree Requirements, 2. Program Time Constraints, in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Research Skills

  1. Language requirement: Reading ability in a foreign language (not English) demonstrated through one of the following ways: (1) Pass a language examination devised and administered by the Linguistics Department. (2) Complete DANE 101, DTCH 101, FREN 100, GERM 101, ITAL 100, RUSS 101, or SPAN 100 with a grade of C or higher, or LAT 101 with a grade of B or higher. (3) Have a KU professor qualified in a given language certify that the student has the fourth level of competence in reading, comprehension, and speaking. (4) Complete 16 hours (or 4 semesters) in a single language at KU or another university as a graduate or undergraduate student.
  2. Research skills requirement: 1 of the following:
    • A course in statistics with a grade of B or above.
    • A course in a computer programming language with a grade of B or above.
    LING 783 Computational Linguistics with a grade of B or above.

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

Minimum Course Requirements

24 credit hours, consisting of

  • Methods requirement: LING 741 Field Methods in Linguistic Description
    If already taken for M.A., replace with 1 of the following:
    LING 720 Research Methods in Linguistics
    LING 740 Linguistic Data Processing
    LING 782 Research Methods in Child Language
  • 3 of the following second-level courses:
    LING 707 Phonetics II
    LING 714 Phonology II
    LING 716 Second Language Acquisition II
    LING 726 Syntax II
    LING 727 Morphology
    LING 737 Topics in Psycholinguistics
    LING 822 Seminar on Acquisition of Language
  • 4 elective courses in linguistics (12 credit hours). A total of 3 hours, but not more, from the following courses can count towards the elective requirement: LING 998 Independent Study; LING 850 Empirical Research in Linguistics: Phonetics, Phonology, Psycholinguistics; LING 851 Empirical Research in Linguistics: Acquisition and Processing; and LING 852 Empirical Research in Linguistics: Syntax.


Within 1 year of completing all course requirements and fulfilling the foreign language requirements, the student must write 2 papers (major and minor) and a dissertation proposal. The major paper must be in the area of specialization, the minor paper in a second area of linguistics.

Final Oral Examination

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Plan of Study

A plan of study should be developed in consultation with the student’s adviser and committee.

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