Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The requirements for the Ph.D. degree listed below are subject to periodic review; students are therefore advised to check with the department for any changes in requirements.

Prerequisites for Admission

A B.A., B.S., or M.A. degree.

Program of Study

Forty-eight credits of graduate work, at least half of which consist of 700- to 800-level linguistics courses.

Language Requirement

There is no formal language requirement in the Ph.D. program, although students are generally expected to be able to read relevant journal articles in a foreign language. Students are strongly encouraged to carry out linguistic research on a foreign language as part of their graduate work.


Ph.D. candidates must satisfy the general examination requirement by submitting two papers embodying the student’s original research in two distinct areas of the discipline. A final oral examination is held after the doctoral dissertation is submitted.


A dissertation is required.

Note: The M.A. and Ph.D. programs are separate tracks with different admissions criteria. Applicants interested in obtaining a Ph.D. should not apply to the M.A. program. An M.A. is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Admission to the M.A. is limited to University of Massachusetts Amherst Linguistics majors and other students with adequate preparation who are graduates of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or Smith colleges, the other institutional members of the Five College consortium.