Applying to the Graduate Program

Application deadline: Friday, December 1st, 2023, 8:59pm PST. (strict)

We welcome applications from students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. degree. To apply, use the On-line application form.

We provide full financial support to all successful applicants.  Funding packages include tuition, fees, health insurance, and a salary or stipend. Funding packages normally involve a combination of fellowship money (i.e. a stipend) and teaching assistantships, for a period of five years.  

Materials you will need to upload:

  • Letters of recommendation from people who know you
  • Academic transcripts from all university/college level institutions attended. Upload unofficial transcripts with your application. Official transcripts or academic records for all university/college-level studies you have completed, at U.S. institutions and abroad, will be required if you are admitted and decide to attend. Academic records issued in a language other than English should be included in the original language and accompanied by English translations.
  • Writing sample (preferably relevant to your aims in our program)
  • Admissions essays, i.e. the statement of purpose and the personal statement

The GRE is not required. Please do *not* submit GRE scores.

What we look for in your application

Our main questions are: What are your professional goals? How do you see getting a PhD in Linguistics here at Berkeley fitting into your goals? What academic and other experiences prepare you for these goals?

The statement of purpose

In your statement of purpose, focus on your professional interests and your immediate and long-range goals. Autobiographical information can be useful where it is clearly relevant to your goals.  Admissions decisions are made by a committee composed of department faculty. It is helpful if you include the names of particular faculty members whose work seems to match your own interests and briefly discuss the connections you see.

The personal statement

With your personal statement, you can help us understand the context of your achievements so far. For example, tell us what opportunities have or have not been available to you, and what experiences and perspectives you bring to the department and to the field of linguistics. Whether you intend to pursue an academic career, i.e. research and teaching at a college or university, or other career opportunities, highlight your motivation and potential contributions.

The graduate division provides additional helpful advice about writing the statement of purpose and the personal statement.

English proficiency

If you completed your basic degree (i.e. the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree) in a country or region in which the official language is a language other than English, you will need to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. If this applies to you, take the TOEFL or IELTS English Proficiency test by November 2023.  See the admissions requirements web page for further details.