One of the world’s top PhD programs in theoretical linguistics, UMass linguistics prepares a small number of students to become high-quality researchers and teachers.

The program normally lasts five years, and students may concentrate their work in any of the following areas: syntax, semantics, phonology, phonetics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, morphology, and optimality theory. Additionally, students often work with other UMass programs offering courses related to the study of natural language, such as philosophy, computer science, communication disorders, psychology, foreign languages, and mathematics.

Our students conduct individual creative research early in their graduate careers, working very closely with faculty. They must successfully write and defend two general papers and a “breadth” paper before beginning dissertation work. Additionally, every student must acquire some teaching experience, either through faculty/student team teaching or by being responsible for teaching a section of one of our introductory courses.

Upon graduation, our students are well-prepared to become professors in theoretical linguistics at universities around the world.