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 30, 2023 for study beginning in the 2024-25 academic year.
The Department of Linguistics recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision.
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
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).
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. If TOEFL scores are required for your application, you must report your official scores directly to Stanford from ETS. Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704.
The Department of Linguistics does not require the Test of Spoken English (TSE). For more information about 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 (linguistics[at]stanford[dot]edu) by your degree granting institution.
7. Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are required. Recommenders must submit their letters through the online application system and paper letters or letters submitted via Interfolio 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.
Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS). KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford. Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment. If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023. Learn more about KHS admission.