We regret to announce that the University of Chicago will not accept applications for the PhD program in Linguistics during the 2021 admissions cycle. As we focus our resources on supporting students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will pause on bringing new students into the program until Autumn 2022. This was a difficult decision, but we are prioritizing supporting students who have already matriculated in the department. We encourage you to consider applying in the Autumn of 2021 for the Autumn 2022 cohort. If you have any questions, please contact






Completed applications for admission and aid, along with all supporting materials, are due December 15th. Three parts of the application are critically important:

  • The student's academic record. 
  • Letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe the student's achievements and promise. 
  • Most importantly, the student's statement of purpose, which describes the intellectual issues and subjects that they hope to explore at Chicago.

In addition, applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores which are not more than five years old. It is advisable to take the GRE no later than October so that scores will arrive on time. Students whose first language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The Office of International Affairs has more information about these tests and the University's English language requirements. Applications and all supporting materials should be submitted online. We no longer accept materials sent on paper.

Applicants to Linguistics should also prepare and upload a document that lists all courses the applicant has taken or will have taken by the time of enrollment which have relevance to graduate study in linguistics (in particular, language courses and courses in linguistics, mathematics/statistics, computer science, psychology, anthropology, and language of philosophy). This list should include the complete title of each course, the instructor's full name, the grade earned (if available), and a brief (at most a paragraph) description of the contents of the course (a list of topics covered, for example), along with the titles and authors of any texts used or papers read.

When completing the application form, it is of benefit to the applicant to be as specific as possible in describing their research interests. General comments are of relatively little use. Applicants are encouraged to discuss specific linguistic subject matters that they are interested in. We have received in years past interesting discussions of, for instance, the relationship of signed languages to spoken languages; the status of the Specified Subject Condition; evidence that English is creole-like with a Celtic substratum; grammatical tone in Twi; and the semantics of idiomatic expressions. The department looks forward to broadening the list of topics of interest to our applicants.

If an applicant knows faculty members with whom they might work, the latter's names should be given as well. If available, a sample of pertinent written work that demonstrates the applicant's research interests or capabilities should be sent with the application. The sample may consist of published essays, class term papers, or an MA thesis. The faculty of the Linguistics Department would be happy to answer any questions that prospective students may have. Please contact them individually regarding their research or classes, or contact the Chair for more general and/or administrative questions.

The program statistics, compiled by the Humanities Division, provide information about PhD academic success from previous years. 

In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago, in admission, employment, and access to programs, considers students on the basis of individual merit and without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, handicap, or other factors irrelevant to fruitful participation in the programs of the University.