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Graduate Admissions

New students are admitted to the doctoral program once each year to begin in the Fall term. Application materials for all potential students must be submitted no later than December 1. The materials that students submit to Rackham are final. The Department of Linguistics will not add, switch, or modify application materials. 

Application materials must include:

  1. Completed Rackham School of Graduate Studies application
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Personal Statement
  4. Official transcripts of previous study
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Sample of written work
  7. English Proficiency Exam (TOEFLImportant: Please read the following paragraph regarding Department of Linguistics test score requirements. 

Department of Linguistics test score requirements:

Generally, students who are not native speakers of English must submit scores on the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the “Michigan Assessment Battery” (MELAB). A  minimum score of 84 on the MELAB, of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL, of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, or of 7.5 on the IELTS is normally necessary for admission to the Linguistics graduate program. Please note: These required scores are higher than the Rackham Graduate School's requirements for English proficiency exam scores.
Both Rackham and the Linguistics Department will waive this requirement for students who have earned or will earn before matriculation a bachelor’s degree from a university where English is the primary language of instruction, as determined by the Rackham Graduate School. Students who believe the university from which they have a bachelor’s degree may qualify them for an exemption should email for confirmation.

Additionally, Rackham exempts students with certain graduate degrees, usually from a master’s program with extensive English-language instruction. The Linguistics Department, however, still requires students with such graduate degrees to submit test scores conforming to the minimums above, but will accept expired scores from up to four years before the application deadline, provided the graduate degree was also earned within the same period. If you believe you qualify for this exemption, please email to confirm and to discuss the next steps.

Information about the process of submitting an application is available from Rackham Graduate School Admissions

Prospective students should be sure to consult the Graduate Program RequirementsFaculty, and Research sections for information about fields of study at Michigan and/or faculty specializations. 

Additional questions? 

Financial Assistance

Students in the graduate program are offered a funding package for up to five years of support. The financial package includes stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance. For students admitted for the coming academic year, funding is expected to include a first-year fellowship and four subsequent years of a combination of teaching, research and fellowship support. The department also offers Rackham Merit Fellowships to students from culturally, geographically or educationally underrepresented groups in our discipline or at the University. Provision of each year of the funding package is conditional on satisfactory progress toward the degree, timely advancement to doctoral candidacy, and fulfillment of teaching responsibilities.

Although financial support is guaranteed for five years (pending satisfactory performance), students are required to apply for other sources of support for which they are eligible. Many of our students have been successful in competitions for university-wide and external fellowships.

Prospective students with outstanding records are also encouraged to investigate sources of financial support external to the University. Exceptional applicants who are U.S. citizens or nationals or permanent residents should particularly consider applying for a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship. Be aware that both fellowships have early application deadlines.


Dual PhD Program for PhD Students from other Departments

The Individual-Initiated Doctoral Program (IIDP) is available to students who are already enrolled as PhD students in other  programs at the University of Michigan and would like to simultaneously pursue a doctoral degree in Linguistics as well. 

The Linguistics Department IIDP Application Process is specified here.