Language Requirements

The program has two separate language requirements: a non-Indo-European language, and an additional language. The main objective of the language requirements is that, as linguists, all graduate students should be familiar with at least three languages: English (advanced proficiency in English is a requirement for admission into the program), a language that is typologically different from English, and at least one more language. The two language requirements must be met with two different languages.

An understanding of the structure of a non-Indo-European language is a requirement for the Ph.D. Native speakers of a non-Indo-European language will be considered to have fulfilled this requirement. Others can demonstrate this understanding in any of the following ways:

  • Successful completion of the equivalent of one year’s coursework in a non-Indo-European language.
  • Successful completion of the Field Methods sequence (LING 40301 & 40302), when this course sequence uses a non-Indo-European language.
  • Successful completion of one quarter of a “structure of language x” course taught by a faculty member of the Department of Linguistics or of a similar course pre-approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Examination credit of at least one year's study based on a university placement exam.

Students are required to pass a reading examination in one additional language other than English. This requirement must be met with a language that it would be useful for the student to know in order to conduct research in their area(s) of interest, such as a language with a significant body of linguistic literature in a particular field (e.g. German in Historical Linguistics), or a language to use as a medium when doing fieldwork (e.g. Spanish or French for work on Basque). A student’s particular choice of a language must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. The language exam consists either of a University’s language exam or of a Departmental language exam. The latter may consist of a written translation of a passage of approximately 750-1000 words in length selected by a faculty member, or a comprehension exam (answers to questions in English) based on such a passage, or a combination thereof; the student has two hours to complete the exam and may use a dictionary. A student will be considered to have passed the language examination in a language approved for this category if they have received a university degree from an institution whose normal language of instruction is the language in question. (NB: Majoring in a language does not satisfy this requirement.)

For a list of the languages currently taught at the University:

For a list of the languages offered through the Department of Linguistics: