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Program of Study: Ph.D. in Linguistics

Program of Study

The doctoral curriculum consists of a total of 78 credits of coursework plus dissertation research. This means that those who have taken the 41 credits required by the M.A. curriculum must complete another 37 credits of advanced linguistics courses. All students must complete the following advanced courses, totaling 22 credit hours: 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) and Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890) An additional 15 credits of elective courses must also be completed, to be chosen by the student in consultation with the student's advisor. These courses should focus on aspects of linguistic theory, application, or research related to the student's professional or academic goals. Some electives may also be taken through the Consortium of Colleges and Universities.

Comprehensive Examination

All students must pass a comprehensive examination designed to evaluate their grasp of the major principles and important content of the program of study. This examination is administered in the spring semester of the third year of coursework, i.e., the first year of the Ph.D. program.

Qualifying Papers

During the first two years of the Ph.D. program, students will typically prepare two qualifying papers.  These papers will be the products of substantial data-based research projects on topics of relevance to sign languages. Students will prepare a thorough review of the literature, collect and analyze data, and report on the analysis. Successful completion of these papers qualifies students to begin work on their dissertation proposal.

Concept Paper

During the second year of the Ph.D. program, students will prepare a concept paper on their proposed dissertation topic. This paper will include a statement of the research question, a review of the literature and a research plan. Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, the student will have identified a faculty member with expertise in their research area to serve as chair of their dissertation committee and will have obtained the faculty member's agreement. The dissertation chair must approve the concept paper before the student may begin work on the dissertation proposal.


Each student seeking a Ph.D. will be required to complete a research-based dissertation in an area acceptable to his or her doctoral committee. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student will defend it before the doctoral committee.

Core Courses  (Ph.D. )

(assuming prior completion of the Gallaudet MA in Linguistics)
LIN 741 Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities (3)

LIN 801 Phonology III (3)

LIN 802 Generative Linguistics III (3)
LIN 803 Concept Paper (1)

LIN 827 Cognitive Linguistics III (3)
LIN 880 Guided Research Project (3+3)

Elective Courses in Linguistics (selected sample)

LIN 510 Language Acquisition (3)

LIN 543 Bilingualism (3)

LIN 585 Prosody in Spoken and Signed Languages (3)
LIN 745 Language and Culture (3)

LIN 811 First Language Acquisition (3)

LIN 812 Second Language Acquisition (3)
841 Discourse Analysis (3)
860 Language Variation (3)

Core Courses in Statistics (Ph.D.)**
EDF 801 Principles of Statistics I (3)
EDF 802 Principles of Statistics II (3)
**Note: These courses are required for students whose Ph.D. specialization requires statistical work. If taken, they replace two elective courses.

Typical Program of Study (Ph.D.)

(assuming prior completion of Linguistics M.A. curriculum)

Year III - Fall

LIN 802 Generative Linguistics III (3)
LIN 880 Guided Research Project (3)
(Qualifying Paper #2)
LIN 741 Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities (3)
Complete Qualifying Paper #1 (Field Methods)

Year III - Spring

LIN 827 Cognitive Linguistics III (3)
LIN 801 Phonology III (3)
LIN 880 Guided Research Project (3)
Oral Comprehensive Examination

Year IV - Fall

Elective #1 (3)
Elective #2 (3)
Elective #3 (3)
Complete Qualifying Paper # 2 (LIN 880)
LIN 803 Concept Paper (1)

Year IV

LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development (3)
Elective #4 (3)
Elective #5 (3)

Year V - Fall (and onward)

LIN 900 Dissertation Research (1-9)

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