Course Requirements

Students must take a total of 12 courses prior to admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. (typically, by the end of the fourth year). These twelve courses are to be distributed as specified below, and 6 of them must be taken during the student’s first year in the program. Only courses taught by faculty count toward these course requirements.

During the first two years in the program, students must take eight foundational courses (typically, 4 in the first year, and 4 in the second year), to be chosen among the following (a graduate introduction is a 3-level course):

- Phonological Analysis 1 (LING 30101)

- Phonological Analysis 2 (LING 30102)

- Syntactic Analysis 1 (LING 30201)

- Syntactic Analysis 2 (LING 30202)

- Semantics and Pragmatics 1 (LING 30301)

- Semantics and Pragmatics 2 (LING 30302)

- Morphology (LING 31000)

- A graduate introduction to Historical Linguistics (AY 17-18: Seminar in Historical Linguistics, LING 51300)

- Language in Culture 1 (LING 31100)

- Language in Culture 2 (LING 31200)

- A graduate introduction to Contact Linguistics 

- Psycholinguistics: Language Processing (LING 30401)

- A graduate introduction to Computational Linguistics (AY 17-18: Computational Linguistics, LING 38600)

In addition to the foundational courses, students must also take:

-      A methods course, such as Field Methods, Experimental Methods, Computational Methods, etc. Typically, this requirement should be satisfied by a course offered by the linguistics department; approval by the DGS is required if the course is offered by another department.

-      Three other graduate-level courses in linguistics or in a related field (subject to approval by the DGS).

No class can be used to meet two different course requirements. For instance, while a quarter of Field Methods can be used to either meet the methods or the additional graduate-level course requirement, it can’t be used to meet both at the same time.

The program also includes the following additional course requirements:

-      In their second and third years and in conjunction with writing their qualifying papers, students must take the Research Seminar (47900) in the autumn and winter quarters.

-      Attendance to department colloquia is mandatory for first year students, who must register for Linguistic Proseminar (LING 47800); grading is P/F; attendance and grading is done by the colloquium organizer.

Although attendance to all department colloquia is mandatory only for first year students, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in the intellectual life of the department by attending colloquia, being part of department workshops and reading groups, auditing additional classes, etc. Participation in these activities is an important part of becoming a successful academic in linguistics.

Although these course requirements are relatively flexible and can be met in many different ways, students should fulfill the requirements with courses that will help them train and develop as scholars in the field, instead of seeing course requirements as something to get over with as soon as possible. In thinking about what courses to take a student should consider, for instance, what background (in terms of field and methodology) they need in order to complete their qualifying papers and their dissertation. To this effect, students should work closely with advisers and the DGS in developing a course of study that best fits their academic objectives. See the section on advising for more information on advisers.

The 8 required foundational courses are intended as courses on which to build the rest of a student’s course of study. In most cases, the 3 additional class requirements will be met with advanced seminars (4 or 5-level), but the DGS can approve other classes on a case-by-case basis (for instance, an additional methods course). All advanced seminars have specific foundational courses as prerequisites. For instance, a student cannot take an advanced syntax seminar without having taken the Syntactic Analysis sequence.

No credit will be granted for courses taken outside the University of Chicago before the start of the program.