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Admission Information

Welcome to the Department of Linguistics at Purdue University! We are delighted with your interest.

To hear about grad student life from the perspective of our current grad students, you will want to watch these two videos on our YouTube page.

Detailed instructions for applications are available under Application Procedures

If you have been admitted to another Purdue graduate program/department and wish to change your degree objective, here are instructions

Should you apply to the Department of Linguistics? 

    • If you are applying to the PhD department, we encourage you to identify one or two faculty members who could supervise your research and serve as your advisor. You may wish to email them to ask whether they are taking new students and if so, to find out if your interests are compatible.
    • Please keep in mind that admission decisions are made by the admissions committee in consultation with department faculty. Individual faculty members cannot make admission decisions. 

Are you applying for your first post-baccalaureate degree in Linguistics (i.e. you currently have only a bachelor’s degree in any field, or your higher degrees are in other fields)?

  • You have the option to apply for either the M.A. or Ph.D.
  • If your final degree goal is a Ph.D. you should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. 
    • This ensures that you will be considered for five-year fellowship funding packages. 
    • If admitted to the Ph.D. program, you can complete an M.A. along the way. 
    • If the admissions committee feels that your application is promising, but you are not competitive for the Ph.D., you may still be admitted to the M.A. program.
  • Applying for the M.A. program makes the most sense if:
    • You have a degree from Purdue and are sure you would like to pursue a Ph.D. elsewhere. You feel that completing your M.A. here will allow you to continue with a line of research already started at Purdue and/or help you develop a more competitive Ph.D. application elsewhere.
    • You are sure you are not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. but would like an M.A. in linguistics to enhance your professional development in your field, such as language teaching, language technology, or professional translating. You are planning to continue on the same career path after earning your M.A.
    • You are sure you are not interested in a Ph.D. but would like to further your education in linguistics.

Admissions Checklist

Contact Professor of Interest: Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to contact the professor they are interested in working with before submitting their applications. Some professors might not be taking new students.

Application Fee Waiver Request: Students interested in applying for an application fee waiver should contact the Graduate School directly.

Applications for admission that include requests for financial support must be completed and in our office by December 15.

  1. Department: Application for admission and $60 (domestic)/$75 (international) application fee submitted directly to the Graduate School. 

    The Graduate School requires an electronic application. This electronic application is at 

    Degree or Enrollment Objective: Indicate "Linguistics". 

    Select your degree goal based on your final objective (M.A. or Ph.D.). Most entering students, regardless of preparation, are required to enroll in 6 core courses in linguistics. We welcome applications of qualified individuals from other fields (computer science, psychology, foreign languages, etc.).  

  2. Statement of Purpose: In this statement be sure to describe your academic and professional goals, your preparation in linguistics, and your background in research and writing. If you are applying for an M.A., please indicate if you expect to terminate your studies with the M.A. or hope to continue to a Ph.D. You may also wish to describe your prior work experiences and cite any published works.  (Approximately 500 words.) Please name the professors you are interested in working with and explain why you would like to work with them.  It is important that you expand on the extend to which the professors' research interests match your own.  This document can be submitted with your online application. 

  3. Transcripts: You must upload to the online application transcripts and/or academic documents for every institution of higher education you attended.  If a transcript is not in English, you must upload an English translation certified by the college or university that issued it.  This includes both the transcript and diploma. The uploaded transcripts and/or academic documents must be from the official version of the document.  An official transcript bears the original signature of the registrar and/or the original seal of the issuing institution.  All transcripts and/or academic documents uploaded to the online application system are considered unofficial.  You will need to provide official transcripts and/or academic records at the request of the graduate program or if you are admitted and enroll.  These materials must be sent to: Graduate Studies Office, Department of Linguistics , Purdue University, Beering Hall of Liberal Arts and Education, Room 6180, 100 North University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098. 

  4. TOEFL Scores: Required if your native language is not English (score of at least 620 on the paper-based test and 80 on the internet-based test [iBT] or its equivalent on the IELTS or PTE). A score of 27 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT or its equivalent on another test, or certification of oral English ability by the Oral English Proficiency Program is required for teaching assistantships. Even if the application says they are not required, international students must submit scores demonstrating proficiency in spoken English to be considered for funding. As students without funding are usually not offered positions, it is essential that international students include their scores so that they can recieve fellowships and assistantships.

  5. Letters of Recommendation Three (3) letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic ability. There is a form on the electronic application to submit reviewer names.  An email request will be sent to them directly.  Electronic copies may also be sent to

  6. Writing Sample: An academic paper written in English, consisting of at least 2,500 words (4-5 pages, no binding).  This document can be submitted with your online application

  7. Students wishing to concentrate in Spanish, French, German or Japanese linguistics, should provide a writing sample in their language of concentration as well as an audio recording in that language.  The writing sample in the foreign language is in addition to the writing sample in English.  

    INSTRUCTIONS: Please upload an audio file to your application containing speaking sample in English and int he language you wish to study.  PLEASE USE SPONTANEIOUS SPEECH, DO NOT READ FROM A TEXT OR WRITTEN SPEACH!
    Speak for 2 to 3 minutes in each language on a topic of your choice (e.g. self-introducction, your purpose and motivations for continuing with graduate studies).  UPLOADING can be done by editing the "Portfolio" section of your Slate Application, directly under the "Application Checklist."  Clicking on "Edit Portfolio" takes you to the "Upload Instructions."  There is a list of what audio files will be accepted.  Reading the instructions should answer any questions you have have.  

  8. Deadline: December 15 for anyone seeking financial support. Applications for admission that include requests for financial support must be completed and in our office by December 15. 
We look forward to reviewing your completed application for admission to our department.