Home / Admission / Graduate Admission / PhD Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

PhD in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

Matthew Prior, Director

Sheila Luna, Program Manager

Doctoral Examinations

Doctoral Procedures and Timeline


Program Overview

The doctoral program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics focuses on the study of human language and the application of that study to the human condition.  Students in this program will choose a research specialization which can be formal linguistics, applied linguistics, or some combination of these areas.  The curriculum will provide training in linguistics and applied linguistics with focused research in several areas such as phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.  Second language acquisition and second language teaching and learning, TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), language contact and change, including World Englishes, are also research possibilities in addition to sociolinguistics, language planning, discourse analysis, language and cognition.

All applications for admission to the program must be approved by the doctoral admissions committee in the Department of English and by Graduate College. There are several requirements for admission, none of which will be arbitrarily disregarded, and the best applicants will meet or exceed all of these criteria. However, the Admissions Committee will consider the individual aspects of each application.

For more information on how to apply, see the Department of English Application Procedures.

Apply Online!

Deadline: January 1st for fall admission
Note: The committee reviews applications shortly after the deadline. The application must be complete with all supporting documents before review. This is the applicant's responsibility. Please plan accordingly when submitting an application.

Undergraduate and graduate majors: Given the interdisciplinary nature of work in this program, faculty will consider applicants with bachelor's or master's degrees in fields such as anthropology, applied linguistics, cognitive science, communication, comparative languages and literatures, English literature, education, history, law, linguistics, modern languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, rhetoric, composition, sociology and speech and hearing science.

  1. Cumulative grade point average: Graduate College requires a GPA of 3.00 or better in the last two years of work leading to the bachelor's degree and the recommendation of the academic unit in which the applicant plans to study. In addition, the Department of English requires that applicants have at least a 3.50 GPA in all previous graduate work.
  2. Letters of recommendation: At least three letters of recommendation from professors familiar with the applicant's academic performance.
  3. Statement of Purpose: A well considered, one to two-page, single spaced statement of purpose in which candidates explain how their experience and training—either in school, out of school, or both—have prepared them for the program. Candidates should indicate their career goals and explain how these goals relate to our graduate program in linguistics and applied linguistics..
  4. Sample of scholarly work: Applicants should submit a critical paper or research paper prepared in a recent course.
  5. Vitae: A CV that outlines educational background, relevant work experience, honors and publications.
  6. Official Transcripts:   Official Transcripts should be sent to ASU Graduate Admissions.
  7. A Graduate online application. An application fee is required.

*The GRE is not required for admission.

International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. Please refer to the English Proficiency Score requirements.

The Doctor of Philosophy is a total of 84 hours. In general, a student with an appropriate master's degree must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of approved graduate work, which includes 12 hours of dissertation. Research hours may be used towards course work in consultation with the advisor. A student without an appropriate master's degree usually must complete 84 hours of work at ASU. At the advisor’s discretion, students may include up to 12 hours of appropriate, graduate-level course work undertaken at another university, and not previously counted towards any other degree.

Required Core Courses for the Degree

LIN 511 Phonetics and Phonology
LIN 514 Syntax
LIN 515 American English or LIN 516 Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis
APL 555 Disciplinary Discourses
APL 601  Introduction to Applied Linguistics
LIN 655 Disciplinary Discourses

Elective/Research Courses

LIN 501 Approaches to Research

Research Specialization (21 hours):  Students choose a research specialization which can be formal linguistics, applied linguistics or a combination. Students can focus their elective and research coursework, including APL/LIN 790 and 792 on a specific area. Possible specializations in Linguistics are phonology, formal syntax and semantics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and pragmatics.  Possible specializations in Applied Linguistics are SLA theory and pedagogy, ESOL, second language writing, bilingualism, language policy, and issues in educational research.  Students may choose to take other 500 or equivalent and advanced (600 and above or equivalent) courses in their area of specialization.  Advanced LIN 600 level courses may be repeated for credit when topics vary. All students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary perspectives which may be done by taking courses from other related programs or units to enhance their area of specialization. For example, students with interests in second language writing would expect to take related ENG courses in addition to LIN or APL offerings, and students interested in languages taught in  SILC (School of International Letters and Cultures) could take courses in that unit. Students must consult with an advisor when selecting additional courses for their focus area as these courses provide the depth of training needed for dissertation research.  It is expected that continuing research courses will include APL or LIN 790 and 792's used in preparation for the doctoral examination.

PhD Examinations:  Portfolio, written or oral exam, colloquy on the dissertation prospectus.

Dissertation:  LIN or APL 799 Dissertation: Students must take 12 (and only 12) hours of dissertation on their doctoral plan of study.

Language: Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the doctoral examinations. This requirement may be met by any of the following:

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Demonstrating native speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
  • Having fulfilled a foreign language requirement towards a previously awarded master’s degree that has been completed within five years of the semester for which the student has been admitted to the doctoral program. This foreign language must be in a language approved by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

Miscellaneous: Students have the option of taking APL/LIN 792 Research, on an individual basis, for the purpose of working independently in preparation for the doctoral examination. This is an alternative to be selected by the student with the approval of the advisor and supervisory committee. Satisfactory completion of APL/LIN 792 is indicated by the grade of "Y."

Graduate Education requires that students be enrolled every semester, excluding summer sessions, until they have completed all requirements for the degree. Continuous enrollment may be satisfied by registration for one hour of ENG 799, or, in cases where dissertation or other credit hours are not needed, continuous registration (ENG 595 or 795). If students wish to interrupt their programs of study for one or more semesters, they may apply for leave status, not to exceed one year. Failure to obtain leave status for the semesters in which they are not enrolled may result in dismissal from the program.

Doctoral Supervisory Committee

The doctoral supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three members from the graduate faculty selected at the time the student files a program of study. In consultation with the director of the doctoral program, the student will select the committee chair, who also serves as the student's advisor. Once a graduate faculty member has agreed to serve as the student's chair, the student and chair will then consult before recommending two other members to the director of the doctoral program. Ideally another member of the supervisory committee in addition to the chair should be in the area of specialization. It is the responsibility of each student to form a supervisory committee very early in the program so that the chair and members of the committee may be involved in shaping the course of study, for example, in determining such matters as the choice of foreign language(s) and in specifying courses that will be required for the student's particular area of concentration.

Important Notice to Current International Students: In order for international students to maintain good standing for their VISAs, they must take a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester (i.e., 3 classes), 6 of which should be face-to-face classes.

Karen L. Adams - Sociolinguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, language and politics, language and gender, Southeast Asian languages.

Mark A. James - Curriculum, teaching, and learning in second language education, second language acquisition.

Aya Matsuda - World Englishes/English as an international language, applied linguistics, TESOL.

Tyler Peterson - Documentation, revitalization, and maintenance of endangered Indigenous languages, primarily in the Southwest, Canada, and Oceania.

Matthew Prior - Second language acquisition, language and emotion, socio-psychological dimensions of language use, multilingualism and identity, discourse analysis (narrative, discursive constructionism, talk-in-interaction, conversation analysis, discursive psychology), qualitative methodologies, and sociolinguistic belonging, particularly for immigrant, transcultural, and LGBTQ communities.

Kathryn Pruitt - Phonology and Morphology.

Elly van Gelderen - Theoretical syntax, Historical syntax, Grammar and history of English, Typology.

COVID-19 information

Latest updates  |  Coronavirus FAQ page  |  Vaccine FAQ page