Graduate Program

Advising Services During Return to In-Person Instruction Period

With the return to in-person instruction, and in response to the continuously evolving health situation, Linguistics is now offering hybrid advising. We remain committed to serving our undergraduates and graduate students, offering a combination of in-person and online advising services.  Please contact Martine Alexander for questions about the undergraduate program at or Johnny Morales Arellano for questions about the graduate program at for questions about graduate admissions.

The Berkeley Linguistics Graduate Program

  • 5 or 6 year, full-time Ph.D. program (no M.A. admissions).
  • Admissions is competitive - only about 10% of all applicants are offered admissions.
  • There is one admissions cycle per year (apply in the fall (Dec. 3 deadline) to start the following August).
  • The aim of the training program is to lead you to a career in research and/or teaching.

Outline of a graduate career in Berkeley Linguistics

  • Year 1. Foundation coursework in 5 key areas of linguistics (Phonology, Syntax, Historical Linguistics, Language & Cognition, Language & Society). Capped by the M.A. oral exam.
  • Year 2. Research training I - elective advanced coursework on topics of interest, and methods training. Capped by Qualifying Paper 1.
  • Year 3. Research training II - more elective courses and close work with adviser. Capped by Qualifying Paper 2 and the Qualifying Exam.
  • Years 4 & 5 (& 6). Ph.D. dissertation years. Close work with the dissertation committee. The period opens with the defense of your dissertation prospectus and is capped by filing your Ph.D. dissertation.

Detailed description

The particulars of this program, describing the exact course requirements, details about the exams and required research papers are available in the Linguistics Graduate Program description. This document changes from year to year. Get previous versions of the program description for 20192018, and 2017.

Student Services Mission Statement

The Student Services Unit of the Department of Linguistics guides and supports students in achieving their academic, career, and personal goals by providing personalized, comprehensive advising and by facilitating activities and opportunities that enhance and encourage student success.  The dedicated, professional staff strives to provide excellent service to prospective and current students, faculty, alumni, and university colleagues.  While upholding University and Departmental policies, the staff focuses on student needs, respecting differences and appreciating commonalities, and endeavors to work efficiently and effectively to continually improve the services and programs that are offered.