About the Program
The Department of Linguistics takes a broad approach to the study of language. The department covers not only the standard core areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, but also historical linguistics, field linguistics and language documentation, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, and language in society. The Graduate Program trains students to do the kind of research that seeks to discover and provide explanations for general properties of linguistic form, meaning, and usage. The department has a strong commitment to language documentation as well as cutting edge theoretical training.
Berkeley's graduate program is a PhD program in which students earn an MA along the way.
Admission to the University
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant has completed a basic degree from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
courses in English as a Second Language,
courses conducted in a language other than English,
courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
In additional to the general materials required by the University we ask that you include:
Writing Sample: A writing sample is required of all applicants. Ideally, this sample would be a research paper on a linguistic topic, but it should in any event demonstrate the applicant's competence in writing analytic expository prose. The writing sample is to be submitted/uploaded with your online application.
For detailed information as to what we are looking for please go to our website at Linguistics.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
|LINGUIS 200||Graduate Proseminar in Linguistics||1|
|LINGUIS 211A||Advanced Phonology I||3|
|LINGUIS 220A||Advanced Syntax I||3|
|LINGUIS 230||Advanced Comparative and Historical Linguistics||3|
|Language & Cognition: Select one of the following:||3|
|LINGUIS 205||Advanced Cognitive Linguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 208||Advanced Psycholinguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 225||Construction Grammar: The Relationship Between Thought and Language||3|
|LINGUIS 242||Course Not Available||3|
|LINGUIS 243||Language, Computation, and Cognition||3|
|Language & Social Context: Select one of the following:||3-4|
|LINGUIS 245||Anthropological Linguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 250B||Sociolinguistic Analysis: Language Contact||3|
|LINGUIS 250C||Sociolinguistic Analysis: Language and Gender||3|
|LINGUIS 250D||Sociolinguistic Analysis: Conversation/Discourse Analysis||3|
|LINGUIS 250E||Sociolinguistic Analysis: Endangered Languages||3|
|LINGUIS 255||Advanced Sociolinguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 210||Advanced Phonetics||3|
|LINGUIS 211B||Advanced Phonology II||3|
|LINGUIS 215||Advanced Morphology||3|
|LINGUIS 220B||Advanced Syntax II||3|
|LINGUIS 221||Advanced Formal Semantics I||3|
|LINGUIS 222||Advanced Linguistic Typology||3|
|LINGUIS 234||Indo-European Linguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 270||Structure of a Particular Language||3|
|LINGUIS 290A||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Syntax||3|
|LINGUIS 290B||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Semantics||3|
|LINGUIS 290D||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Pragmatics||3|
|LINGUIS 290E||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Phonology||3|
|LINGUIS 290F||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Diachronic Linguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 290H||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Linguistic Reconstruction||3|
|LINGUIS 290L||Additional Seminar on Special Topics to Be Announced||3|
|LINGUIS 290M||Topics in Linguistic Theory: Psycholinguistics||3|
|LINGUIS 240A||Advanced Field Methods||4|
|LINGUIS 240B||Advanced Field Methods||4|
|LINGUIS C160||Quantitative Methods in Linguistics||4|
|LINGUIS 213||Advanced Experimental Phonetics||3|
|LINGUIS 243||Language, Computation, and Cognition||3|
|LINGUIS 201||Advanced Graduate Proseminar in Linguistics||2|
Faculty and Instructors
+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Gasper Begus, Assistant Professor. Phonology, phonetics, computational linguistics, historical linguistics, Indo-European.
Christine Beier, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Language endangerment, documentation, and revitalization, Amazonian languages.
Isaac L. Bleaman, Assistant Professor. Sociolinguistic variation, language contact, language maintenance, and language change.
Amy Rose Deal, Associate Professor. Syntax, semantics, fieldwork, Nez Perce.
Susanne Gahl, Professor. Psycholinguistics; language production and comprehension; aphasia.
+ Andrew Garrett, Professor. Historical linguistics; Indo-European; Karuk, Yurok, and California Indian languages.
Larry M. Hyman, Professor. Linguistics, phonological theory, typology, African languages, the Niger-Congo family, especially the comparative and historical study of the Bantu language family.
Sharon Inkelas, Professor. Morphology, phonology, reduplication, child phonology.
Peter S. E. Jenks, Associate Professor. Syntax, semantics, phonology, fieldwork; Moro and other Niger-Congo languages; Thai, Mandarin, and other East and Southeast Asian languages.
Keith Johnson, Professor. Linguistic phonetics, phonetic neuroscience, psycholinguistics.
Susan S. Lin, Assistant Professor. Articulatory phonetics, speech perception, sound change.
+ Lev D. Michael, Professor. Anthropological linguistics, language typology, Amazonian documentary, descriptive, and comparative linguistics, language contact, grammar and interaction, prosodic systems and verbal art, language endangerment and revitalization.
+ Line Mikkelsen, Associate Professor. Syntax, semantics, morphology, Danish and other Germanic languages, Karuk and other languages of California, philosophy of language.
Terry Regier, Professor. Language and cognition; semantic variation and universals; computational linguistics.
Richard Rhodes, Associate Professor. American Indian languages, lexical semantics, lexicography, Algonquian languages, Ojibwe, Mixe-Zoquean languages, mixed languages, Michif, Sayula Popoluca.
Hannah Sande, Assistant Professor. Phonology, morphology, and their interface; prosody; language documentation and description; African languages, especially languages of CÃ´te d'Ivoire.
Eve E. Sweetser, Professor. Semantics, syntax, historical linguistics, Celtic languages, speech act theory, metaphor theory, semantic change, grammaticalization, grammatical meaning, gesture.
Sherry L. Hicks, Lecturer. American Sign Language.
Leanne Hinton, Professor Emeritus. Language revitalization of Native American languages.
Paul Kay, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, pragmatics, syntax, semantics, lexicon, grammar, color naming, lexical semantics, grammatical variation, cross-language color naming, the encoding of contextual relations in rules of grammar.
George P. Lakoff, Professor Emeritus. Mathematics, literature, philosophy, cognitive linguistics, the neural theory of language, conceptual systems, conceptual metaphor, syntax-semantics-pragmatics, the application of cognitive linguistics to politics.
Robin T. Lakoff, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, comparative syntax of Latin and English, the relation between linguistic form, social and psychological context, language gender, discourse strategies, discourse genres, politics of language.
Ian Maddieson, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, phonetic and phonological universals, articulatory and acoustic phonetics, African, Austronesian, South-East Asian and Sino-Tibetan languages.
+ James A. Matisoff, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, Japanese, Southeast Asian languages, Tibeto-Burman, Thai, Chinese, field linguistics, Yiddish studies, historical semantics, psychosemantics, language typology, areal linguistics.
William S-Y. Wang, Professor Emeritus. Evolution, psycholinguistics, language change, phonology, Chinese linguistics, language engineering, experimental phonetics.
Department of Linguistics
1203 Dwinelle Hall