Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, PhD
Prepare yourself for entrance into academia as well as a variety of careers, through internships and professional development opportunities and an innovative mentoring program. This doctoral program boasts an internationally recognized faculty with expertise in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, second-language writing, world Englishes, semantics, syntax, phonology and more.
Degree Awarded: Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, PhD
The PhD program in linguistics and applied linguistics focuses on the scientific study of human language and the application of that study to the human condition.
Students in this program select a research specialization in formal linguistics, applied linguistics or some combination within these fields of study.
The curriculum provides professional training in linguistics and applied linguistics with focused research in several linguistic subfields, including discourse analysis, Indigenous American linguistics, language contact and change, language planning, language revitalization, critical studies, phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, second language acquisition, second language teaching and learning, semantics, sociolinguistics, syntax, teaching English to speakers of other languages, World Englishes, and computer-assisted language learning.
The doctoral program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics focuses on the study of human language and the application of that study to the human condition. Students in this program will choose a research specialization which can be formal linguistics, applied linguistics, or some combination of these areas. The curriculum will provide training in linguistics and applied linguistics with focused research in several areas such as phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Second language acquisition and second language teaching and learning, TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), language contact and change, including World Englishes, are also research possibilities in addition to sociolinguistics, language planning, discourse analysis, language and cognition.
Matthew Prior, Director
Sheila Luna, Program Manager
Faculty in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Doctoral Procedures and Timeline
Courses and electives
The Doctor of Philosophy is a total of 84 hours. In general, a student with an appropriate master's degree must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of approved graduate work, which includes 12 hours of dissertation. A student without an appropriate master's degree usually must complete 84 hours of work at ASU. At the advisor’s discretion, students may include up to 12 hours of appropriate, graduate-level course work undertaken at another university, and not previously counted towards any other degree.
Required Core Courses for the Degree
- LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology
- LIN 514 Syntax
- LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis
- APL 555 Disciplinary Discourses
- APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics
- LIN 655 Disciplinary Discourses
- LIN 501 Approaches to Research
Research Specialization (21 hours): Students choose a research specialization which can be formal linguistics, applied linguistics or a combination. Students can focus their elective and research coursework, including APL/LIN 790 on a specific area. Possible specializations in Linguistics are phonology, formal syntax and semantics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and pragmatics. Possible specializations in Applied Linguistics are SLA theory and pedagogy, ESOL, second language writing, bilingualism, language policy, and issues in educational research. Students may choose to take other 500 or equivalent and advanced (600 and above or equivalent) courses in their area of specialization. Advanced LIN 600 level courses may be repeated for credit when topics vary. All students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary perspectives which may be done by taking courses from other related programs or units to enhance their area of specialization. For example, students with interests in second language writing would expect to take related ENG courses in addition to LIN or APL offerings, and students interested in languages taught in SILC (School of International Letters and Cultures) could take courses in that unit. Students must consult with an advisor when selecting additional courses for their focus area as these courses provide the depth of training needed for dissertation research.
PhD Examinations: Essay, oral exam, colloquy on the dissertation prospectus.
Dissertation: Students must take 12 credit hours of ENG 799.
Language Requirement: PhD students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the doctoral exams. This requirement may be met by
- Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.
- Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
- Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
- Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent.
- Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
- Having fulfilled a foreign language requirement towards a previously awarded master’s degree that has been completed within five years of the semester for which the student has been admitted to the doctoral program. This foreign language must be in a language approved by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
- For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.
Miscellaneous: Students may take research (ENG 792) for the purpose of working independently in preparation for the doctoral examination. This is an alternative to be elected by the student at the discretion and with the approval of the advisor and supervisory committee and can count towards course work. Satisfactory completion of ENG 792 is indicated by the grade of "Y." Individual interim segments of ENG 792 will be graded "Z" (course in progress), and changed to "Y" (successful completion) after the dissertation defense. No conventional letter grades are awarded for ENG 792 or 799.
The Graduate College also requires that students be enrolled every semester, excluding summer sessions, until they have completed all requirements for the degree. Continuous enrollment may be satisfied by registration for one hour of ENG 799, or, in cases where dissertation or other credit hours are not needed, Continuous Registration (ENG 595 or 795). If students wish to interrupt their programs of study for one or more semesters, they may apply for a leave of absence, not to exceed one year. Failure to enroll or obtain leave status for the semesters in which they are not enrolled will result in dismissal from the program.
Doctoral Supervisory Committee
The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three members from the graduate faculty selected at the time the student files a program of study. In consultation with the director of the Ph.D. program, the student will select the committee chair, who also serves as the student's advisor. Once a graduate faculty member has agreed to serve as the student's chair, the student and chair will then consult before recommending two other members to the director of the doctoral program. Ideally another member of the supervisory committee in addition to the chair should be in the area of specialization. It is the responsibility of each student to form a supervisory committee very early in the program so that the chair and members of the committee may be involved in shaping the course of study, for example, in determining such matters as the choice of foreign language(s) and in specifying courses that will be required for the student's particular area of concentration.
Important Notice to Current International Students
In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 credits (2 classes) should be face-to-face classes.
At a Glance: program details
- Location: Tempe campus
- Second Language Requirement: Yes
Required Core (18 credit hours)
APL 555 Disciplinary Discourses (3)
APL 601 Introduction to Applied Linguistics (3)
LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology (3)
LIN 514 Syntax (3)
LIN 515 American English (3) or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis (3)
LIN 655 Advanced Disciplinary Discourses in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (3)
Electives and Research (33 credit hours)
LIN 501 Approaches to Research (3)
Specialization (21 credit hours)
Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
LIN 799 or APL 799 Dissertation (12)
Additional Curriculum Information
When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree. If students do not have a previously awarded master's degree, then 30 credit hours is made up of additional electives and research coursework which must include LIN 510, if they have not previously taken it or its equivalent.
Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student and subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the doctoral examinations. This requirement may be met by any of the following:
- earning a "B" or higher (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language
- demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student's supervisory committee
- demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student's supervisory committee
- earning a "B" or higher (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or the equivalent of each
- holding a bachelor's degree in an approved foreign language
- having fulfilled a foreign language requirement toward a previously awarded master's degree that was completed within five years of the semester for which the student was admitted to the doctoral program
- two years (four semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework (no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program) at least at the 100 and 200 levels with a "C" or better, for languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level
The foreign language requirement must be in a language approved by the student's doctoral supervisory committee.
Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00= "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 (scale is 4.00= "A") in an applicable master's degree program.
All applicants must submit:
- graduate admission application and application fee
- official transcripts
- statement of purpose
- resume or curriculum vitae
- three letters of recommendation
- academic writing sample relevant to the field
- proof of English proficiency
Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their their current residency. Students should see the Department of English website for specific details about English proficiency requirements.
Undergraduate degrees in such related fields as anthropology, applied linguistics, communication, cognitive science, comparative languages and literatures, literature, education, history, law, linguistics, modern languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, religious studies, rhetoric, composition, sociology, or speech and hearing science are considered.
The one- to two-page, single-spaced statement of purpose should explain how the applicant's experience and training have prepared them for the program. It should also indicate career goals and explain how these goals relate to the graduate program in linguistics and applied linguistics. Applicants applying for funding must also submit a statement of teaching philosophy. Students should see the Department of English website for specific details.
Graduates with research expertise in linguistics and applied linguistics work in a variety of professional contexts, such as academia, government, business, health care, legal settings, publishing, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.
Career examples include:
- computer-assisted language learning expert
- data analyst
- forensic linguist
- language policy or documentation expert
- language program director or coordinator
- language researcher
- linguistic consultant
- program and curriculum developer
- university professor
Next Steps to attend ASU
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Program Contact Information
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