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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics

The following requirements are in addition to the basic University requirements for the degree sought; see the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. Candidates should review the department's Guidelines for the Degree of Ph.D. in Linguistics, downloadable at, for further particulars concerning these requirements.

  1. Language—candidates must demonstrate the ability to read at least one foreign language in which a substantial linguistic literature is written, with sufficient facility to understand and to interpret linguistic research published in that language. (Particular areas of specialization may require additional research languages.)

    In addition, each candidate must demonstrate an explicit in-depth knowledge of the structure of at least one language (normally neither the candidate's native language nor the language used for the reading exam). This requirement is fulfilled by writing an original research paper on a language.

  2. Courses—a minimum of 135 units of graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree, or 90 units beyond the master's degree. The course requirements detailed in the Guidelines for the Degree of Ph.D. in Linguistics guarantee that each student covers a sufficient set of subareas within the field.

    Candidates must maintain a satisfactory record in the number and distribution of units completed. The overall course work GPA must be at least 3.0 (B), and all of the basic courses should be completed with at least a 'B.'

  3. Research—the prospective Ph.D. candidate is expected to complete two substantial qualifying papers. The deadline for completion of the first qualifying paper is the end of Autumn Quarter of the second year; the deadline for completion of the second qualifying paper is the end of Autumn Quarter of the third year. The subject matter of the two papers, although it may be related (for example, same language), must be clearly distinct. The requirement is fulfilled by two quarters of LINGUIST 395, Research Workshop (1-2 units each), and by oral discussion with a committee of at least three faculty members selected by the student and the faculty.
  4. Candidacy—students must complete a prescribed portion of the basic course requirement (see item 2 above), one foreign language requirement (see item 1 above), and one qualifying paper (see item 3 above) by the end of their second year.
  5. Teaching—at least three quarters serving as a teaching assistant in Linguistics courses.
  6. Colloquia—two oral presentations exclusive of the oral presentation of the dissertation proposal (see item 7b below). This requirement is satisfied by class presentations, conference papers, or colloquium talks. Normally, both should be given during the first four years of study.
  7. Dissertation—
    1. a written dissertation proposal is required by the end of the third year.
    2. oral presentation of the dissertation proposal, preferably as a colloquium.
    3. approval of the dissertation topic and appointment of a dissertation committee.
    4. passing a University oral examination on the dissertation and related areas.
    5. dissertation (up to 15 units of LINGUIST 399).

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