Ph.D. in Linguistics

Gallaudet's Ph.D. program in linguistics, with a focus on sign language, opened its doors in the fall semester of 2002. Students may specialize in a range of theoretical and applied areas related to sign language, including phonology, syntax, morphology, cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, first language acquisition, and second language acquisition. Because of the unique sign language focus of the Gallaudet M.A. curriculum in Linguistics, successful completion of this degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program. Additionally, students wishing to apply to the Ph.D. program must submit an application portfolio to the Linguistics faculty for review during their fourth semester in the M.A. program. Successful applicants advance to Ph.D. candidacy and are required to complete 37 credits of coursework beyond those completed for the M.A. degree, followed by dissertation research. Ph.D. level coursework includes the following required courses, plus 15 credits of elective coursework: Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities (LIN 741), Guided Research Project (LIN 880, taken twice), Phonology III (LIN 801), Generative Linguistics III (LIN 802), Cognitive Linguistics III (LIN 827), Concept Paper (LIN 803), Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890), and Dissertation Research (LIN 900).

For the program of study and requirements for the Ph.D. in Linguistics, click the link "Program of Study" in the right-side menu.

Admissions Procedures

Any student in the final semester of the Linguistics M.A. curriculum and in good academic standing may apply to the Ph.D. program. Admission to the Ph.D. program following the M.A. program is not automatic or guaranteed. All students wishing to enter the Ph.D. program must submit an application. Admission is determined by faculty assessment of the student's performance and application portfolio. The application portfolio consists of the following items:

  • A letter of interest, in which the student describes his/her topic of interest for dissertation research and identifies a faculty member who would potentially serve as dissertation advisor.
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) listing academic background, relevant extracurricular activities such as participation in linguistics conferences, involvement in student or faculty research projects, linguistics teaching, receipt of any awards or research grants.
  • A 10-20 page sample of the student's written work. This should be a paper from a previous linguistics course, including references. The paper should be the final version submitted in class for a grade; no revisions are necessary.

If the faculty determines that the student has exhibited excellent academic and research performance appropriate for doctoral work, the student will be admitted into the Linguistics Ph.D. program for the subsequent academic year.



First Date for Consideration of Application: February 15
Last Date for Completed Application: April 15

Program Specific Requirements

Successful completion of the Gallaudet  M.A. in Linguistics

Ph.D. Application Portfolio

Recommended Undergraduate Major


Recommended Prior Coursework

Gallaudet M.A. in Linguistics (Required)
Foreign Language

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