Ph.D. in Linguistics

Overview

Dr. Risa Shaw, Graduate Program Coordinator
Sorenson Language and Communication Center, Room 3222 

Gallaudet's Ph.D. program in linguistics, with a focus on ASL and other signed languages, gives students the opportunity to specialize in a range of theoretical and applied areas related to signed languages, including phonology, syntax, morphology, cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, first and second language acquisition, applied and engaged linguistics, language documentation, linguistic anthropology, and semiotics.

Students who have completed an M.A. degree from another program or university may apply to the LIN Ph.D. program.  Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program with a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 33 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D., followed by dissertation proposal development and dissertation research.  Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program without a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 59 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D., followed by dissertation proposal development and dissertation research.

Admissions Procedures

Ph.D. application requirements for GU M.A. Linguistics students/graduates:

  1. Letter of interest in which the student describes their topic of interest for dissertation research and identifies a faculty member who will serve as dissertation advisor. The student should meet with and get agreement from this faculty member to discuss research plans before listing them as a potential dissertation advisor.
  2. CV listing academic background and relevant extra-curricular activities such as participation in linguistics conferences, involvement in student or faculty research projects, linguistics teaching, and receipt of any awards or research.
  3. Graduate-level paper, in either ASL or English (25-45 minutes ASL or 10-20-page English) of the student's work. This should be a paper from a previous linguistics course, including academic citations and references. The paper should be the final version submitted in class for a grade; no revisions are necessary.
  4. LIN Ph.D. entrance exam
  5. Successful completion of the GU M.A. Linguistics program
  6. Official transcripts of all graduate study

Ph.D. application requirements for applicants not in or graduated from the GU M.A. Linguistics program:

  1. Letter of interest in which the applicant describes their topic of interest for dissertation research and identifies a faculty member who will serve as dissertation advisor. The applicant should meet with and get agreement from this faculty member to discuss research plans before listing them as a potential dissertation advisor.
  2. CV listing academic background and relevant extra-curricular activities such as participation in linguistics conferences, involvement in student or faculty research projects, linguistics teaching, and receipt of any awards or research.
  3. Successful completion of an M.A. degree
  4. Graduate-level paper in English - A 10-20-page graduate-level (English) writing sample of the student's work. This should be a paper from a previous linguistics course, or published paper that includes academic citations and references. The paper should be the final version submitted in class for a grade; no revisions are necessary.
  5. Official transcripts of all graduate study
  6. 3 letters of recommendation
  7. Goal Statements in ASL (https://youtu.be/pntB6omta7Y)
  8. Graduate-level paper in ASL - this may be a paper from a previous linguistics course or a published graduate-level ASL video, including academic citations and references. The paper should be the final version submitted in class for a grade; no revisions are necessary. In the case of no graduate-level paper in ASL, the applicant may submit an ASL sample by following the instructions at: https://youtu.be/ygEHREI2jPU

DEADLINEDATE
First Date for Best Consideration of Application: January 15
Last Date for Completed Application: April 15 if final deadline or until all positions are filled


Program Specific Requirements

Successful completion of the Gallaudet M.A. in Linguistics
Ph.D. Application Portfolio

Program of Study

Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program with a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 36 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D. followed by dissertation research. For these students, the doctoral curriculum consists of a total of 77 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 36 credits of advanced linguistics courses.

Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program without a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 62 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D., followed by dissertation research. This includes 22 credits of core courses to be taken in the first year, plus 4 credits to be taken in the second year. These students must also successfully complete the Qualifying Exam and Compendium, in addition to other Ph.D. program requirements.

All students must complete the following advanced courses, totaling 24 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 883) and Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890). An additional 12 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.

Guided Research Project (LIN 883) and GRP Presentation

Guided Research Project (GRP) LIN 880, 2 semesters. Students design and conduct an independent research project under the guidance of their dissertation advisor. Course requirements include a final paper and the following components, as applicable: development of an appropriate research plan, completion of the IRB human subjects review, and collection and analysis of data. The GRP typically is related to the student's dissertation topic, but is not required to be. The work done in the GRP is intended to lead to the independence necessary to complete dissertation research. Successful completion of LIN 880 is a prerequisite for LIN 883: Concept Paper. LIN 880 is typically taken during the first and second semesters of the first year.

Students are required to give a presentation on their GRP research. This is a formal presentation, similar to what would be given at a professional conference. It is to be 20 minutes in length with 10 minutes for discussion and/or Q/A. Faculty evaluate the presentation in areas of content, presentation, and language use. Students will receive feedback from the faculty. This is one of three presentations required. Successful completion of the GRP presentation is required to continue in the Ph.D. program.

Qualifying Paper and Presentation

Students will prepare a qualifying paper, the product of a substantial data-based research project on a topic of relevance to sign languages, that is distinct from the student's anticipated dissertation research topic. The paper should be of publishable quality, as determined by two faculty readers (to be selected by the student, in conjunction with their dissertation advisor and the potential readers). Successful completion of the Qualifying Paper is a prerequisite for enrollment in LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development. Students should work closely with their dissertation advisor to plan for and carry out the Qualifying Paper and presentation as this work is to be completed outside of coursework.

Students in the Linguistics Ph.D. program are required to give a presentation on their qualifying paper. This is a formal presentation, similar to what would be given at a professional conference. It is to be 20 minutes in length with 10 minutes for discussion and/or Q/A. Faculty evaluate the presentation in areas of content, presentation, and language use. Students will receive feedback from the faculty. This is one of three presentations required. Successful completion of the Qualifying Paper Presentation is required to continue in the Ph.D. program.

Concept Paper (LIN 883), Field Exam, and Concept Paper Presentation

LIN 883: Concept Paper serves as a transition from students' preparatory coursework to their dissertation proposal. Students will complete a concept paper on their proposed dissertation topic. This paper will include a statement of the research question(s) and a review of relevant literature, while it will focus primarily on (a) defining the key concepts relevant to the student's anticipated research plans and (b) making explicit any underlying theoretical assumptions.

LIN 883 is typically taken during the first semester of the second year. The concept paper must be completed in the first 10 weeks of the semester in order to provide time for the Field Exam and Concept Paper Presentation to occur. Students may register for a second semester of LIN 883 at the discretion of the Linguistics faculty (e.g. in cases where the student has selected a particularly complex topic and is making steady progress, or scores an Unsatisfactory on their Field Exam and is required to revisit and strengthen their Concept Paper).

The Field Exam is administered after the first 10 weeks of LIN 883 and prior to the end of the semester. Content of the exam will be determined by the student's Concept Paper. Three examiners (the LIN dissertation advisor who led the student's Concept Paper, a second LIN faculty member with expertise in some area relevant to the student's Concept Paper, and a third LIN faculty member who does not work in the area of the student's Concept Paper) will conduct in-depth questioning in areas pertinent to the student's Concept Paper topic. Student responses will be evaluated by all three examiners together as a Pass with Distinction, Pass, Unsatisfactory or Fail. Students who receive an Unsatisfactory score on the Field Exam will be required to retake the exam; students who Fail the Field Exam will be terminated from the program. Students who retake the Field Exam and receive either a score of Unsatisfactory or Fail will be terminated from the program.

After successful completion of the Field Exam the student will give a presentation on their Concept Paper. This is a formal presentation, similar to what would be given at a professional conference. It is to be 20 minutes in length with 10 minutes for discussion and/or Q/A. Faculty evaluate the presentation in areas of content, presentation, and language use. Students will receive feedback from the faculty. This is one of three presentations required. Successful completion of the Concept Paper Presentation is required to continue in the Ph.D. program. Students must successfully complete the Field Exam and Concept Paper Presentation before taking in LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development.

Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890) and Proposal Defense

Each student seeking a Ph.D. will be required to complete a research-based dissertation on a topic acceptable to his or her doctoral committee. Students are expected to complete their dissertation proposal in one semester (LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development). However, those who fail to do so will be permitted to register for additional semesters of LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development, provided they maintain a passing grade each semester.

LIN 890 is the course in which students will develop their dissertation proposal, producing a research plan for answering the research questions posed in their Concept Paper. Emphasis will be on defining a project of appropriate scope, extending the literature review and selecting an appropriate research design and methodology. Students will meet regularly with their dissertation advisor for guidance and discussion, but are expected to pursue the bulk of the work independently. They may receive input from doctoral committee members. Once the full committee deems the proposal defendable, a defense date is set. The dissertation proposal defense is expected to happen at the end of the semester in which LIN 890 is taken. Students may not register for LIN 900: Dissertation Research until the proposal is successfully defended. All Ph.D. coursework must be completed or be on track to be completed by the semester the proposal defense occurs.

Successful defense of one's dissertation proposal is the candidacy examination for the LIN PhD program.

Dissertation (LIN 900) and Dissertation Defense

Once students have successfully completed and defended their dissertation proposal, they advance to LIN 900 Dissertation Research. LIN 900 may be taken multiple times, provided students earn a passing grade each semester.

Each Ph.D. student is required to prepare a research-based dissertation in an area acceptable to their Doctoral Committee. The dissertation is based on the proposal accepted by the committee, typically in the spring of the second year of Ph.D. study, and work on the dissertation proper typically begins in the fall of the third year. The dissertation is expected to be a research project designed to provide new understanding of the topic, and must include a thorough and thoughtful review of the relevant literature, description of methodology, analysis, and discussion and conclusion elucidating the significance of the findings. The dissertation process is discussed in detail in the Gallaudet University Dissertation and Thesis Handbook (on the intranet GU website and the LIN website). Students will also receive this handbook when they take LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development. The maximum time allowed for completion of the dissertation is seven years from the start of the LIN M.A. degree or six years from entrance into the Ph.D. program for those without a LIN M.A. degree. Any extension beyond this deadline will require the approval of the doctoral committee, the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School.