At the graduate level, the UCSD Department of Linguistics has only a Ph.D. program; there is no masters program, although the M.A. and C.Phil. degrees are available for students working toward the Ph.D. Because of the structured first-year curriculum, new students are admitted only for the fall quarter of any academic year. Even students with extensive prior training in linguistics normally take and benefit from the first-year courses. Since students begin graduate work in linguistics with many different backgrounds and varied degrees of preparation, no specific kind or level of previous training is required for admission. Admission is competitive, and the program of study rigorous.
Program of Study
Graduate study in Linguistics at UC San Diego represents a balance of structure and flexibility, of concentration and breadth. The first two years provide a structured introduction to the core areas of linguistic analysis: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. After the first year, a student has progressively greater flexibility in choosing both specific courses and general areas of study. In its later phases, each student's program is unique, being specially designed (in consultation with faculty advisors) to accommodate individual needs and developing research interests.
All graduate students must take twelve courses prior to taking the qualifying examination. These required courses should normally be completed early in the graduate student's program of study. There are seven required courses; the remaining five courses are electives, three of which must be taken in the Department. All required and elective courses except for LIGN 293 must be taken for a letter grade.
- One course in Phonetics (LIGN 210)
- One course in Phonology (LIGN 211)
- One course in Morphology (LIGN 220)
- One course in Syntax (LIGN 221)
- One course in Semantics (LIGN 230)
- One course in Field Methods (LIGN 240)
- One course in Research Paper Writing (LIGN 293)
For a typical student, the program of study runs approximately as follows (for well-prepared students, the time frame may be shortened). The first year is primarily occupied by required sequences in the core areas of linguistic analysis. In addition to continuing course work, a student in the second year of study writes an original research paper to demonstrate the ability to conduct high-quality research. The third year is largely devoted to mastering the student's field of specialization and selecting a dissertation topic. It culminates in an oral qualifying examination by which a student advances to Ph.D. candidacy. The candidate then writes and defends a substantial dissertation incorporating the results of original research.
A graduate student is formally evaluated by the entire faculty at particular stages during the first two years of graduate study. The first evaluation (at the end of the third quarter of graduate study) pertains chiefly to performance in courses. The second (or comprehensive) evaluation at the end of the sixth quarter determines the student's fitness to continue in the Ph.D. program. It takes into account performance in course work and ability to engage in original research in one area of linguistics as demonstrated in a research paper.Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must pass an oral qualifying examination which tests the student's knowledge in the area of specialization. Prior to taking this examination, the student must pass the comprehensive evaluation, satisfy all language requirements, successfully complete all required courses, and demonstrate—through research papers—the ability to carry out independent, dissertation-level research. Students must take the qualifying examination by the end of the third year of graduate work.
Candidates for the Ph.D. who have not previously earned a master's degree may be granted the M.A. in linguistics after 1) satisfactorily completing twelve courses (the seven core course required for the PhD and five electives, three of which must be Department of Linguistics graduate course offerings; all but LIGN 293 must be taken for a letter grade); and 2) passing the comprehensive evaluation at the end of the sixth quarter.
Candidates for the Ph.D. may also be granted the C. Phil. upon completion of all degree requirements other than the dissertation.