|The Linguistics Graduate Program|
The department has a strong theoretical orientation committed to research in formal linguistic theory, addressing questions in the fields of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, and at the interfaces of these fields with the fields of psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, computational linguistics, mathematical linguistics, historical linguistics, and the linguistic study of particular language areas (especially African languages and American Indian languages). A number of factors distinguish the UCLA linguistics department from other departments with similar emphases.
Graduate Student Career Development
The UCLA Linguistics Department emphasizes the development of professional skills among its graduate students, particularly in presenting their own research at conferences and for publication. The present department budget offers travel funding for students to present papers whose work has been accepted for presentation at regional, national, and international conferences. The department also offers some funding to its graduate students to pay for native speaker consultants and experimental subjects.
The Linguistics Department undertakes to provide support packages for all the students that it admits, with support commitments lasting for up to five years, subject to maintenance of satisfactory academic standing. All support packages include the cost of tuition, fees, and a salary or living stipend; consult the department for current stipend levels. Almost all support packages involve a mixture of fellowship, Research Apprenticeship (RA), and Teaching Apprenticeship (TA) positions, spread out over the 5 year period.
We admit only as many students as can be supported. Prospective applicants should apply for an extramural fellowship (such as a Mellon Fellowship, Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, or National Science Foundation Fellowships (NSF); or an equivalent type of fellowship from another country, such as the Canadian SSHRC fellowship) where possible. Prospective applicants who have been granted such fellowships generally have an excellent chance of admission.
Available financial awards vary from year to year. The following outlines the principal sources:
UCLA Fellowships – Chancellor's Fellowships, President's Fellowships, Dean's Fellowships, Pauley Fellowships, Cota-Robles Fellowships, and Departmental Fellowships are combined with a mixture of TA and RA appointments to make up the full support package. All students who have been advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. are also eligible to apply for Dissertation-year Fellowships for their fifth year; these are awarded on a competitive (university-wide) basis. In recent years UCLA Linguistics graduate students have had considerable success in winning these fellowships.
National Resource Fellowships (Title VI)--for language and area studies: e.g. Africa, the Near East, Latin America, East Asia. Applications are selected by the relevant area studies centers and the department. (For information see the admissions packet.) Title VI fellowships require students to enroll for one 4-unit course per quarter in the relevant language area and include a stipend which is supplemented by additional departmental support (RAship, TAship, etc.) to bring them up to the general annual support level.
These are awarded to students on the basis of admissions fellowship commitments, timely progress in graduate work, student specialization, and need. They are normally available only to students in the second year of graduate study and beyond, and sometimes to first years during Spring quarter.
Seminars are informal talk series, meeting once per week, in which faculty and students present their current research to colleagues for comment and discussion. There are active seminars in Native American languages, phonetics, phonology, psycholinguistics, and syntax/semantics.
Additional courses in various topics, including thesis preparation, college teaching practicum and practical phonetics, are also regularly offered.
Although the department offers both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, each with its own set of requirements, completion of the M.A. degree is normally just a milestone towards the completion of the Ph.D. requirements. We normally admit students to the graduate program only if they have the Ph.D. as their ultimate degree objective, and new graduate students are normally admitted directly into the Ph.D. program, regardless of whether they have already completed an M.A. elsewhere.
The Ph.D. requirements involve taking a few additional courses, including our two-quarter sequence in Field Methods and various seminar and proseminar courses selected by the student. Other requirements include delivering a department colloquium, and completion of the Ph.D. dissertation.
Typical Progress Most of our students take about five years to complete the full graduate program. Of course, students' backgrounds and work patterns are diverse; some take less time and others take more. A few students have completed all our requirements in just three years, though such students typically have had a strong background before coming here.
Since the normal course load for graduate students is three courses per quarter, it is usually possible for students to complete all or most of the M.A. course requirements within the first year of the program. Students who enter the program with deficiencies in certain areas may need to take longer to satisfy the M.A. course requirements, since they may have to enroll in certain upper-division undergraduate courses during their first year.
During the second year, students take the Field Methods course, sample a variety of advanced seminar courses, take additional survey courses, and complete their M.A. thesis. Second year students normally enroll in an M.A. thesis preparation course during the fall quarter of their second year, in which they make class presentations outlining their progress. They usually focus on writing their M.A. thesis during the winter and spring quarters of the second year.
Click here for a list of current Linguistics faculty, with links to their Web pages.
The library system at UCLA, with over seven million volumes, is ranked in the top ten university libraries in the United States, and has strong collections in linguistics and language description.
For information about applying to our graduate program, please visit our Graduate Admissions Information page.