Linguistics

University of California, Berkeley

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 to cutting edge theoretical training.

Berkeley's graduate program is a PhD program in which students earn an MA along the way.

Visit Department Website

Admissions

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:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes 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
  4. 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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants 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 mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Departmental Requirements

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

MA Curriculum

LINGUIS 200Graduate Proseminar in Linguistics1
LINGUIS 201Advanced Graduate Proseminar in Linguistics2
LINGUIS 211AAdvanced Phonology I3
LINGUIS 220AAdvanced Syntax I3
LINGUIS 230Advanced Comparative and Historical Linguistics3
Language & Cognition: Select one of the following:3
LINGUIS 205Advanced Cognitive Linguistics3
LINGUIS 208Advanced Psycholinguistics3
LINGUIS 225Construction Grammar: The Relationship Between Thought and Language3
LINGUIS 242Language, Cognition, and Communication3
LINGUIS 243Language, Computation, and Cognition3
Language & Social Context: Select one of the following:3-4
LINGUIS 123Pragmatics3
LINGUIS 150Sociolinguistics3
LINGUIS 245Anthropological Linguistics3
LINGUIS 250BSociolinguistic Analysis: Language Contact3
LINGUIS 250CSociolinguistic Analysis: Language and Gender3
LINGUIS 250DSociolinguistic Analysis: Conversation/Discourse Analysis3
LINGUIS 250ESociolinguistic Analysis: Endangered Languages3
LINGUIS 255Introduction to Sociocultural Linguistics3
Electives:
LINGUIS 210Advanced Phonetics3
LINGUIS 211BAdvanced Phonology II3
LINGUIS 215Advanced Morphology3
LINGUIS 220BAdvanced Syntax II3
LINGUIS 221Advanced Logical Semantics3
LINGUIS 222Advanced Linguistic Typology3
LINGUIS 234Indo-European Linguistics3
LINGUIS 270Structure of a Particular Language3
LINGUIS 290ATopics in Linguistic Theory: Syntax3
LINGUIS 290BTopics in Linguistic Theory: Semantics3
LINGUIS 290DTopics in Linguistic Theory: Pragmatics3
LINGUIS 290ETopics in Linguistic Theory: Phonology3
LINGUIS 290FTopics in Linguistic Theory: Diachronic Linguistics3
LINGUIS 290HTopics in Linguistic Theory: Linguistic Reconstruction3
LINGUIS 290LAdditional Seminar on Special Topics to Be Announced3
LINGUIS 290MTopics in Linguistic Theory: Psycholinguistics3

PhD Curriculum

LINGUIS 201Advanced Graduate Proseminar in Linguistics (repeatable)2
LINGUIS 240AAdvanced Field Methods4
LINGUIS 240BAdvanced Field Methods4

Courses

Linguistics

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Christine Beier, Assistant Adjunct Professor. Language endangerment, documentation, and revitalization; Amazonian languages.

Amy Rose Deal, Associate Professor. Meaning, grammar, endangered languages, Native American languages, semantics, syntax, word structure, language universals, language variation, Nez Perce language.
Research Profile

Susanne Gahl, Associate Professor. Linguistics, psycholinguistics, linguistic structure, language production, aphasia and related language disorders.
Research Profile

+ Andrew Garrett, Professor. Linguistics, English, California, language change, Indo-European languages, historical linguistics, northern California Indian languages, linguistic structure, typology, ancient Greek, Latin, Irish, Oceanic languages.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

Sharon Inkelas, Professor. Morphology, phonology, reduplication, child phonology.
Research Profile

Peter S. E. Jenks, Assistant Professor. Syntax, semantics, linguistics, linguistic theory, Thai, sudanese languages, African languages, Southeast Asian languages.
Research Profile

Keith Johnson, Professor. Phonetics.
Research Profile

Susan S. Lin, Assistant Professor. Phonetics, articulatory phonetics, ultrasound speech research.
Research Profile

+ Lev D. Michael, Associate Professor. Linguistic typology, Amazonian languages, anthropological linguistics, language contact and areal typology, language documentation and description.
Research Profile

+ Line Mikkelsen, Associate Professor. Morphology, syntax, semantics, Germanic and California languages.
Research Profile

Terry Regier, Professor. Computational methods, language and thought, semantic universals.
Research Profile

Richard Rhodes, Associate Professor. American Indian languages, lexical semantics, lexicography, Algonquian languages, Ojibwe, Mixe-Zoquean languages, mixed languages, Michif, Sayula Popoluca.
Research Profile

Eve E. Sweetser, Professor. Subjectivity, syntax, semantics, cognitive linguistics, historical linguistics, Celtic languages, speech act theory, semantic change, grammaticalization, gesture, metaphor, iconicity, viewpoint, construction grammar, semantics of grammatical constructions.

Lecturers

Sherry L. Hicks, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Leanne Hinton, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, sociolinguistics, American Indian languages, language loss, language revival.
Research Profile

Gary B. Holland, Professor Emeritus. Historical linguistics, Indo-European linguistics, poetics, early Indo-European languages, linguistic typology, historical syntax, history of linguistics.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

Ian Maddieson, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, phonetic and phonological universals, articulatory and acoustic phonetics, African, Austronesian, South-East Asian and Sino-Tibetan languages.
Research Profile

+ 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.
Research Profile

John J. Ohala, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, experimental phonology, phonetics, historical phonology, ethological aspects of communication, speech technology, automatic recognition of speech, diverse behavioral phenomena.
Research Profile

William S-Y. Wang, Professor Emeritus. Evolution, psycholinguistics, language change, phonology, Chinese linguistics, language engineering, experimental phonetics.
Research Profile

Karl E. Zimmer, Professor Emeritus. Linguistics, history of linguistics, Turkish, word formation.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Linguistics

1203 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2757

linginfo@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Keith Johnson

1222 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-664-4087

Fax: 510-643-5688

keithjohnson@berkeley.edu

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Belén Flores

1207 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-643-7224

ling-gsao@berkeley.edu.

Head Graduate Adviser

Lev D. Michael

1212 Dwinelle Hall

levmichael@berkeley.edu

Back to Top