School of Interdisciplinary Studies Linguistics

Degree Information

The Purdue University Linguistics Program prepares students in the scholarly study of language as the most important human faculty. The Program awards the master's and doctoral degrees in linguistics to students who successfully complete the requirements for each degree.

Master's Program Requirements:
  • The candidate must complete 24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis research. The course work includes a set of 6 core courses (Phonology I, Phonology II, Syntax I, Syntax II, Historical Linguistics, Semantics), a 3-hour sub-concentration, and electives. At least one of the courses must be a seminar.

Doctoral Program Requirements:
  • At least 30 hours of course work beyond the master's degree (at least 60 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree) must be completed, plus 30 hours of research. For a student from a program other than Purdue's, this course work includes the 6 core courses mentioned in the Master's Program Requirements, a 5-course sub-concentration, and electives.
  • The above requirements must be satisfied in a manner approved by the student's Advisory Committee: research, non-Western language, and computer literacy. Individual Advisory Committees may recommend that students satisfy additional requirements, such as phonetics, statistics, or symbolic language.
  • A comprehensive preliminary examination must be taken and passed and the doctoral thesis completed and defended. The date of the prelim exam must be at least one calendar year prior to the final exam. For example, if you complete prelims in Spring 2012, you cannot defend your final dissertation until Spring 2013.  At least 3 of the courses must be seminars. Two Preliminary Projects are required. These are Individually-directed Seminars and they are taken with one professor. Students should register for 3 credits of LING 69000 for each of these projects. Material from them can be used to satisfy the Prelim Exam. Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary Examination is required in which mastery of the literature, methodological competence, and academic creativity (analysis) must be demonstrated. Material from the LING 69000 seminars may be submitted to demonstrate mastery in the designated areas, either individually or collectively. The Ph.D. Thesis Proposal may be submitted at the same time as the preliminary exam, but no more than one year after preliminary examination is completed. The 5-course sub-concentrations can be taken in any one of the 4 areas above or another area of Linguistics, if approved by the student's Advisory Committee.

Core Courses 
Core courses (as defined in the M.A. curriculum) may not be taken as directed/independent study/research except by approval of a petition to the Graduate Committee. Such permission will be granted only in exceptional circumstances.
Language Requirements
A. Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement:
  1. Students in the M.A. program must demonstrate proficiency in one natural language other than English. The language should be one which is of use in the student's program and must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee.
  2. Students in the Ph.D. program must demonstrate proficiency in three natural languages other than English. Proficiency in two of these languages may be demonstrated by the means described below in (3). The third language must be a 'less commonly taught language'; this requirement is described below in (b). To the greatest extent possible, all three languages should be ones which are pertinent to the student's program or projected area of research and must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee.
  3. Proficiency may be established in any of the ways approved by the Graduate School:
    • a. by passing the fourth semester course of a regular language sequence at Purdue with a grade of C or higher or the equivalent transferred from another institution of higher education.
    • b. by passing the appropriate 60300 or 60500 course at Purdue with a grade of C or higher (for those languages in which these courses are available).
    • c. by satisfying the foreign language requirement at another graduate school and transferring the record to Purdue.
    • d. by examination (for those languages in which an examination is available).
    • e. by scoring 600 or more on an Educational Testing Service Graduate School Foreign Language Test (for languages where these tests are available).
    • f. by being a native speaker of the language (with appropriate documentation as required by the Graduate School).
    • g. Courses taken in the process of satisfying options (a) and (b) above cannot be used on the Plan of Study.
B. Less-Commonly-Taught Language Requirement
  1. Students in the Ph.D. program must demonstrate knowledge of a less-commonly-taught natural language. The language must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee.
  2. Knowlege may be established by passing a course on the language (including a field methods course) with a grade of B or higher at Purdue or the equivalent transferred from another institution of higher education, by examination (for those languages in which an examination is available), or by being a native speaker of the language.
  3. Courses taken to satisfy this requirement can be used on the Plan of Study if they otherwise meet the criteria of the Graduate School. The language used to satisfy this requirement must be different from the language(s) used to satisfy requirement A above.

Progress in the M.A. Program
A student's progress is monitored regularly by the Linguistics Graduate Committee until the student has filed the Plan of Study, after which the student's Advisory Committee becomes the primary monitor of the student's progress, with oversight by the Linguistics Graduate Committee.
To make satisfactory progress in Linguistics, an M.A. student must successfully complete the M.A. core program on schedule and must be on schedule for completion of the overall M.A. requirements. Normally, in year one a student completes the Linguistics M.A. core requirements and in year two satisfies the remaining courses on the M.A. Plan of Study and completes the thesis.
A. Course Work
  1. Students must complete at least 6 credits per semester.
  2. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  3. Courses with a grade of 'C' or lower cannot be used on the M.A. Plan of Study.
  4. Courses taken 'pass/no pass' cannot be used on the M.A. Plan of Study.
  5. Courses taken to satisfy the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirements cannot be used on the M.A. Plan of Study.
  6. The Plan of Study must be filed on schedule.

Progress in the Ph.D. Program
A student's progress is monitored regularly by the Linguistics Graduate Committee until the student has filed the Plan of Study, after which the student's Advisory Committee becomes the primary monitor of the student's progress, with oversight by the Linguistics Graduate Committee.
A. Course Work
  1. Students must complete at least 6 credits per semester.
  2. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  3. Courses with a grade of 'C' or lower cannot be used on the Ph.D. Plan of Study.
  4. Students must complete 90 hours of course credit beyond the bachelor's degree. Credits applied to the M.A. constitute 30 hours; the remaining 60 hours are to consist of appropriate committee-approved coursework and research.
  5. One third of the coursework must be taken during continuous residence at Purdue University.
  6. At least nine hours of coursework must be at the 600 level.
  7. The following do not count for credit toward the degree or toward the requirement in (6) and cannot be used on the Plan of Study: bibliographic skills courses, proseminars, teaching assistant training courses, courses taken to satisfy the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement, and audited courses.
  8. The Plan of Study must be filed on schedule.
B. All required coursework must be completed before taking the Preliminary Examination.
C. The Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement must be satisfied before taking the Preliminary Examination.
D. Preliminary Examination - Two Preliminary Projects are required. These are Individually-directed Seminars and they are taken with one professor. Students should register for 3 credits of LING 69000 for each of these projects. Material from them can be used to satisfy the Preliminary Examination. Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary Examination is required in which mastery of the literature, methodological competence, and academic creativity (analysis) must be demonstrated. Material from the LING 69000 seminars may be submitted to demonstrate mastery in the designated areas, either individually or collectively. The Ph.D. Thesis Proposal may be submitted at the same time as the preliminary exam, but no more than one year after preliminary examination is completed.  The date of the prelim exam must be at least one calendar year prior to the final exam. For example, if you complete prelims in Spring 2012, you cannot defend your final dissertation until Spring 2013.
E. Upon successful completion of the Preliminary Examination and all other requirements for the degree (except the dissertation), the student will be admitted to doctoral candidacy and must then form a dissertation committee following the Graduate School requirements. The prospectus/proposal for the Ph.D. dissertation must be submitted and approved not later than the end of the second semester after completion of the Preliminary Examination.
F. Dissertation Prospectus
  1. Written Document
  2. Oral Defense
G. Dissertation
  1. Written Document
  2. Doctoral Final Examination, including dissertation defense

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