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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  Apr 19, 2024
 
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Linguistics, MA/PhD


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The PhD programs in linguistics (also referred to as the MA/PhD program) combine a solid foundation in the core areas of linguistic theory (phonetics, phonology, syntax) with courses in specialized fields of applied linguistics, Hispanic linguistics and sociolinguistics/sociology of language. Within applied linguistics, students may choose from topics such as second language acquisition, language teaching methodology, and the development of teaching materials/tests. The department also offers a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). In sociolinguistics, students may focus on discourse analysis, variation and change, and socio-phonetics. In Hispanic linguistics, students may focus on phonetics, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition.

Required Core Courses for the PhD (all concentrations)


The following courses are required of all students in the PhD program. Students entering with an MA degree from another institution may petition to have coursework from that MA degree apply to the PhD degree at Pitt (see also the Preliminary exam requirement for students with an existing MA).

Required courses that can be taken any time:


One course in sociolinguistics/language change.

Required upper level course:


Choose one advanced level core course approved by the student’s advisor and DGS or Chair.

Applied Linguistics PhD Course Requirements:


In addition to core requirements above.

Required Courses:


Hispanic Linguistics PhD Requirements:


In addition to core requirements above.

Required Courses:


Other Hispanic Linguistics requirements:


Entrance requirement: Advanced Low Proficiency in Spanish as measured by an OPI or equivalent. Students are also interviewed by faculty in Spanish during the admissions process.

In core courses, students are encouraged to work on topics in Hispanic linguistics and to use Spanish sources.

Further specialization within Hispanic Linguistics:


Students may wish to focus on Applied Spanish Linguistics or Spanish Sociolinguistics, but these are not official ARCOs. The following are suggested courses.

Applied Spanish Linguistics:
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Approaches and Methods of TESOL
  • Techniques and Procedures of TESOL
Spanish Sociolinguistics:
  • Language Contact
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Variation Analysis

Sociolinguistics PhD Course Requirements:


In addition to core requirements above.

Required Courses:


Other MA/PhD Requirements:


Language requirement:


Native speakers of English: 
  1. three semesters of a language taught at the college level plus
  2. at least one semester with a grade of B or better in a language that is not Germanic, Greek, Italic (Romance, including Latin), or Slavic.
Non-native speakers of English: 
  1. English-language proficiency
  2. At least one semester with a grade of B or better in a language that is not Germanic, Greek, Italic (Romance, including Latin), or Slavic.
Candidates for the Hispanic Linguistics ARCO: 
  1. English-language proficiency
  2. At least one semester with a grade of B or better in a language that is not Germanic, Greek, Italic (Romance, including Latin), or Slavic,
  3. Satisfactorily completing the Spanish language proficiency required of candidates.  See the DGS to set up a language exam.

Preliminary exam:


Students entering without an MA:

The preliminary exam is fulfilled by attaining a grade of B+ or better on the final exam of all core courses with a B+ grade or better, and by submitting a portfolio of written work from coursework. See the Graduate Handbook for procedures.

Students entering with an MA:

Students entering with an MA degree may petition to have core courses waived. In order to waive phonetics, phonology, morphology or syntax, a student must demonstrate knowledge by providing course syllabi and passing an oral interview. In order to fulfill the portfolio requirement when entering with an MA, a student must submit an identical portfolio as outlined above from their MA coursework by the end of their first semester of study. Students will be notified of the outcome by the end of the next semester.

Comprehensive exam:


Two comprehensive papers are required to fulfill the comprehensive exam requirement for the Linguistics PhD.  The topics of the two papers must be substantially different. Although the topics can be in the same specialty of linguistics, at least one paper should involve linguistic form or structure (for example, by analyzing the acquisition of a particular syntactic construction, by investigating variation of a phonological variable, or by doing a theoretical analysis in syntax or phonology). Both papers have a paper and presentation portion, but only one of the presentations must be public in department colloquium. The second paper can be presented to the readers only, but it is possible to present it publicly.

Dissertation proposal:


When the student has successfully completed the PhD comprehensive examination, they must prepare a dissertation proposal and present it in a formal dissertation proposal defense. A dissertation proposal must have at least two main elements: a knowledge essay and a proposal. The dissertation advisor will determine exactly the format for these two elements. See the Graduate Handbook for procedures.

Dissertation:


After being admitted to candidacy, the student will conduct dissertation research and write a dissertation primarily in consultation with the main advisor, with secondary consultation with committee members when needed. A dissertation defense should be scheduled at least six months in advance. The dissertation draft should be submitted to the committee at least one month before the defense, and the defense draft must be approved by the advisor. See the Graduate Handbook for specific procedures and further advice.

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