Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in linguistics is individually tailored to the needs and professional goals of the student, drawing strong interdisciplinary support from related fields on the University campus. These may include, but are not limited to, anthropological linguistics, cognitive science, discourse and text analysis, English linguistics, first- and second-language acquisition, language-data processing, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics.

Coursework: 32 Credit Hours Total

Students must complete at least 32 credits of graduate courses at the University of Oregon after commencing the Ph.D. program.  The coursework must be approved by their doctoral advisor.  Even those students who have already earned an M.A. degree are typically expected to complete all of the M.A. degree requirements at University of Oregon as part of the normal progress toward the Ph.D.

The required courses for the Ph.D. degree are
a) LING 614, 615, and 616, together with their prerequisites (LING 511, 550, 551, and 535 if determined by the student’s advisor and the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies;
b) two of LING 507, LING 607 and/or equivalent seminar courses; and
c) the sequence of courses in either field methods, quantitative methods, or philological methods, or a combination of courses from two of these areas.

For each student, the specific course requirement in (b) and (c) are to be determined by the student’s advisor and Department’s Director of Graduate Studies, as are all other courses required for the Ph.D.  No course with a grade lower than B- may be used to satisfy degree requirements.

Language Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program must demonstrate proficiency, either by examination or through coursework, in two foreign languages. Languages which meet this requirement represent meta-languages through which a researcher gains access to subject matter in linguistics (a language for research). Traditionally, library languages, such as French, German, Russian, or Chinese, meet this requirement well. However, it is also possible to count as one of the two languages a language which is used to gain access to the field, such as Spanish would be for field work in Latin America. Knowledge of a language which is the object of study will not satisfy this requirement. A language used to satisfy the M.A. language requirement may count for the Ph.D. requirement, if that language is a research language.

Annual Review

Graduate students are required to submit an annual review statement that clearly indicates anticipated date of graduation (term/year) and progress towards degree completion; a C.V.; and an addendum that states the titles, terms and years of the courses the GE has taught in the past at UO, if any. If desired, the applicant may also indicate which courses they would like to teach in the next year. These materials will be due at the end of week 1 in the spring term.

Second-Year Review

By the end of a doctoral student's second year, they shall be given a review by members of the linguistics faculty. Materials submitted for this review must include the following:

  • A research plan for the next year’s course work, qualifying papers, and any other details worked out in consultation with the student's advisor
  • Written evidence of scholarly potential. For example, a student may provide a substantive term paper or revision of a term paper that demonstrates excellence of original research. A student's linguistics master's thesis can fulfill this requirement

Doctoral Examination

The doctoral examination in the Department consists of two qualifying papers (see below under “Advancement to Candidacy”).

Advancement to Candidacy

Students in the Ph.D. program should advance to candidacy within four years of first enrollment in the Ph.D. program. In addition to successful completion of the course requirements, advancement to candidacy requires two original publishable papers, of substantial length and quality, in different subfields of linguistics (QPs). The term “different subfields” may include two different methodological approaches to a single broad topic. A QP is considered publishable if the QP review committee deems it to provide sufficient evidence of the student’s readiness to perform PhD-level research and write a dissertation, and that it stands a reasonable chance of acceptance by a refereed venue such as a peer-reviewed journal -- although the QP itself is not required to be accepted for publication, and may be submitted to a non-refereed venue. An unmodified M.A. thesis cannot serve as one of the QPs. A QP may be, however, a publishable expansion or revision of an M.A. thesis or publishable term paper written for a course conducted by any faculty member in the Department or, where deemed reasonable, for a course conducted by a faculty member outside the Department. The QP may be written under the supervision of either (a) the student’s advisor or (b) another faculty member, in consultation with the student’s advisor, who approves the topic and the final version.

On submitting each QP to the committee, and after consultation with the student’s advisor, the student indicates in a cover note or e-mail to the QP coordinator the intended publication venue for the QP. In reviewing the QP, the QP committee takes into consideration the appropriateness of the proposed venue for the content of the QP.

Submission of both QPs to the proposed venue(s) is required before the student can advance to candidacy. Before applying to the Graduate School for advancement to candidacy, the student must submit to the QP coordinator either (a) their cover letter to the venue to which each of the two QPs was sent, or (b) in the case of invited publications, the invitation letter. The publishing venue may be a refereed journal, a refereed or non-refereed conference proceedings volume, an online publication, or another venue. While submission of each QP to a publishing venue is required for advancement to candidacy, acceptance for publication is not a requirement.

Doctoral Committee and Dissertation

The doctoral committee must include at least three Linguistics faculty members and one outside member, and must be either chaired or co-chaired by the student’s doctoral advisor in Linguistics. A dissertation prospectus must be submitted in writing to, and approved by, the doctoral committee before the writing of the dissertation commences. The Ph.D. will be granted upon completion of the preceding requirements, the writing of an original dissertation acceptable to the doctoral committee, and an oral examination on the dissertation.