The Stanford Department of Linguistics considers graduate admissions applications once a year. The online application opens in late September and the deadline to apply to the Ph.D. program is November 29, 2022 for study beginning in the 2023-24 academic year.
In addition, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars become part of a supportive family of fellow scholars. Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars will broaden knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen character; this platform provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars and separately apply to the Department of Linguistics by the application deadlines. Apply at https://kh.stanford.edu/apply.
Applicants must meet one of the following conditions:
- Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or
- Completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Please see the minimum international education requirements.
In addition, most of our students have a B.A. or an M.A. in Linguistics. We occasionally admit applicants whose B.A. or M.A. is in a related area, but only if they give evidence of having carried out considerable coursework and/or research in Linguistics.
The following materials are required components of the admission application. The entire application and supplemental materials must be submitted online and are due by the deadline stated above (please note that we will not upload documents sent to us via email to your online application).
1. Application Form
The application form is completed online through the University Graduate Admissions website.
2. Application Fee
There is an application fee of $125. The Department is not able to provide fee waivers. Please see Fee Waivers for more information and instructions on how to request an application fee waiver.
3. Statement of Purpose
Submitted as part of the online application, the statement of purpose should be designed as a narrative presentation of yourself. Your statement should thoughtfully and clearly convey the following:
- What you have accomplished thus far in linguistics or in related fields
- Why you are applying for a Ph.D. program in Linguistics (i.e. why you want to study linguistics and why you need a Ph.D. to achieve your goals)
- Why Stanford is the place you want to carry out your studies
- What your research interests in linguistics are, or if they are not yet defined, what the possibilities might be
4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is no longer required for admission to the Department of Linguistics. In the spirit of fairness, we also ask applicants who have taken the GRE to refrain from self-reporting scores in the application.
5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Official scores from a test taken within the last 18 months must be sent from ETS to Stanford using the Institution Code 4704. The University sets the minimum TOEFL score requirements which can be found on the University Graduate Admissions website.
The Department of Linguistics does not require the Test of Spoken English (TSE). For more information about these required tests and minimum scores for admission, please visit the University Graduate Admissions website.
6. Official Transcripts
Transcripts are required from all prior college level schools attended for at least one year. A scanned copy of the official transcript is submitted as part of the online application. Please do not mail hard copy transcripts to the department at the time of application. We will contact you at a later date if we need an official transcript; if you are contacted, you will be asked to provide two hard copies of your official transcript or to have an electronic transcript sent directly to linguistics [at] stanford.edu by your degree granting institution.
7. Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required. Recommenders must submit their letters through the online system and paper lettes will not be accepted. In deciding whom to ask for letters of recommendation, give preference to people who have taught you and/or directed your research activities, people who know you and your work well, and/or people who know what linguistics is and who understand what you’re getting into. Please remind your recommenders to submit the letters by the deadline noted above. Late letters may be submitted but we cannot guarantee review of materials received after the deadline.
8. Writing Sample
A writing sample is required, preferably on a linguistics topic, but in any case something that displays your research abilities and writing skills. The writing sample is also submitted with the online application and we do not accept any paper application materials. The purpose of the writing sample is to give us a sense of your ability to do independent research: how you might approach a problem and work through it. That is, it should convey not only the way you write but the way you work and think. Send a paper that you are proud of. If possible, this should be a paper in Linguistics or in a related discipline (such as logic or anthropology). The paper does not need to be lengthy; approximately 10 to 15 pages is standard. If you have a B.A. or M.A. thesis, this also would be appropriate, but please submit only one writing sample and designate no more than 25 pages that the Admissions Committee should focus on.