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Admissions Information

Application Deadlines

Degree Requirements


Financial Assistance








Idsardi, William, Full Member

Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Lasnik, Howard, Full Member

Lidz, Jeffrey, Full Member

Phillips, Colin, Full Member

Pietroski, Paul M., Full Member

Distinguished University Professor

Lasnik, Howard, Full Member


Hornstein, Norbert R., Full Member

Idsardi, William, Full Member

Lidz, Jeffrey, Full Member

Phillips, Colin, Full Member

Polinski, Michael,

Resnik, Philip S., Full Member

Uriagereka, Juan, Full Member

Associate Professor

Feldman, Naomi, Full Member

Haquard, Valentine, Full Member

Preminger, Omer, Full Member

Williams, Alexander, Full Member

Assistant Professor

Alvares de Azevedo Lau, Ellen, Full Member

Assistant Research Scientist

Zukowski, Andrea, Full Member

Affiliate Professor

MacSwan, Jeff, Full Member

Affiliate Associate Professor

Daume, Hal, Full Member

Affiliate Assistant Professor

Huang, Yi-Ting, Full Member

Senior Lecturer

Antonisse, Margaret, Non-Member

Bleam, Tonia, Full Member

Professor Emerita

Weinberg, Amy S., Full Member

Professor Emeritus

Pietroski, Paul M., Full Member

More LING Faculty Information

Linguistics (LING)   

Program Title and Classification


Graduate Degree Program

College: Arts and Humanities


Research on language has proven to be one of the most fruitful means to cast light on the nature of the human mind and general cognitive capacity and has taken on a new momentum in the last 30 years. The Maryland Linguistics program builds on these recent developments and trains students thoroughly in a research enterprise which tries to develop a detailed answer to these questions: How is a person’s linguistic capacity represented in the mind, how does that representation reflect properties which are encoded genetically, how is language acquired by young children, how can language be encoded as a computational, psychological or neurological system, and how can linguistic knowledge be used to improve human language technology?

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland has an internationally recognized Ph.D. program. The Department combines current theoretical research in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics with state-of-the-art experimental research in psycholinguistics, first language acquisition, language processing, neurolinguistics, and computational linguistics. An interdisciplinary background enables students to evaluate proposals critically and make a lasting contribution to the field. Many students choose to split their major and minor areas between theoretical and experimental linguistics. Many students also choose to concurrently pursue the Certificate Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. The department also hosts an NSF-supported interdisciplinary training program on "Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity" (see web site for more information).

The Department encourages applications from students with an interest in the Department’s areas of expertise. Students with a primary interest in Neurolinguistics and Cognitive Science may also want to consider applying to the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) Ph.D. program. See the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory for more details on alternative programs of study for psycholinguistics. Students seeking a Ph.D. in other areas of linguistics may want to consider a range of other strong programs at the University of Maryland. The PhD program in Second Language Acquisition, based in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, has a strong cognitive science and research focus. Students with a focus on TESOL should consider the Curriculum and Instruction Program, based in the College of Education. Students with a clinical focus should also consider the Hearing and Speech Sciences Program. Students interested in human language technology should also consider the PhD programs in the iSchool (CLIS) or the Department of Computer Science.

Admissions Information

General Requirements:

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • CV/Resume
  • Supplementary Application
  • Writing Sample: Up to 3 sample submissions, uploaded to the Upload Requirements section of the application.

All students must hold a Bachelors or Masters degree (or international equivalent) prior to starting the Ph.D. program. Although the student’s previous degrees may be in a field other than linguistics, it is essential that a student have some previous experience in linguistics.

Applicants should check the University’s admission requirements and the department’s web site for the most up-to-date information on graduate applications. Electronic submission of application materials is strongly preferred. Applicants are encouraged to submit the initial on-line application form well before the application deadline, preferably by mid-December, since this form must be processed before an applicant is able to submit other electronic materials. Note that the January 5th target date applies to all applicants, domestic and international. 

​For more admissions information or to apply to the program, please visit our Graduate School website:

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
4 Jan
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
4 Jan

Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Under exceptional circumstances, students are awarded an MA degree on completion of the core coursework requirements (six courses, see PhD requirements), four further classes, and writing either an MA thesis which is defended publicly (LING 799) or two comprehensive papers in different areas of language study (LING 798). Two of the post core-level class requirements should be taken in the Department of Linguistics, with the rest being taken either in Linguistics or in other departments satisfying a secondary area of specialization and complementing the student's work. Note that the Department of Linguistics does not normally admit students whose objective is a terminal M.A. degree. The M.A. degree primarily serves students who withdraw from the Ph.D. program.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Core Requirements

Doctoral students are required to complete 39 credits of coursework, in addition to 12 credits of LING 899: Doctoral Dissertation Research. 

Requirements include:

LING 800-level electives (9 credits)

Minor area courses (6 credits)

LING 895: Doctoral Research Paper (6 credits)

One of the following course sequences (6 credits):

Syntax - LING 610: Syntactic Theory (3 credits) and LING 611: Issues in Syntax (3 credits)

Phonology - LING 620: Phonological Theory (3 credits) and LING 621: Issues in Phonology (3 credits)

Semantics - LING 660: Introduction to Semantics (3 credits) and LING 661: Issues in Semantics (3 credits)

One additional sequence, and two additional courses from any unselected sequence :

Psycholinguistics - LING 640: Psycholinguistics (3 credits) and LING 641: Issues in Psycholinguistics (3 credits)

Computational Linguistics - LING 723: Computational Linguistics I (3 credits) and LING 773: Computational Linguistics II (3 credits)


Students pursuing the Ph.D. take at least 33 graduate-level credits of course-work, of which at least 9 credits are at the 800-level (seminars) and 6 credits correspond to the Minor area of specialization, possibly in another department. These minimum requirements are usually fulfilled by formal classes and not by independent studies, although the latter may be used to supplement a student's program of study. The student's first year is normally devoted to the 'core', foundational coursework in the department's three primary research areas: (i) theoretical linguistics (syntax, semantics, phonology), (ii) psycholinguistics/neurolinguistics/language acquisition, (iii) computational linguistics. Students must take at least 6 core courses, comprising at least two 2-semester core course sequences. At least one of these core course sequences must be in an area of theoretical linguistics. The core courses are the 600 level LING courses and LING 723, 773. The core sequences are:


  1. LING 610, 611 Syntax
  2. LING 620, 621 Phonology
  3. LING 640, 641 Psycholinguistics
  4. LING 723, 773 Computational Linguistics
  5. LING 660, 661 Semantics

In addition to satisfying (part of) the 9 credit requirement for seminars, the next two years are devoted to satisfying 6 credits (beyond any core courses) in the Minor, as approved by the Graduate Director. Some students choose to pursue the Certificate in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, which may count as the minor area.


By their fifth semester, students write a substantial paper (LING 895), under the supervision of a faculty member. This paper enables students to demonstrate a capacity for productive research and to make an original contribution to the literature, often forming the basis for the dissertation research. It is submitted to a three member examining committee, is defended publicly two weeks later, and must be approved by the committee after the defense. The student must then upload the completed 895 paper to the 895 folder in the department PDF locker, and inform the Graduate Director that this has been done.


In addition, by their seventh semester students must also write a paper in their Minor area of specialization (or some other area that is not their major area). The paper must be prepared under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Once the paper is completed to the satisfaction of the supervising faculty member, it must be uploaded to the 896 folder in the department PDF locker, and the Minor Area Paper approval form presented to the Graduate Director. [Under special circumstances, upon the written recommendation of the student's advisor and with the approval of the faculty of the department, a student may satisfy the Minor area paper requirement by instead taking a third course in the Minor area.]

LING 895 and the Minor area paper replace the 'comprehensive examinations' held in some departments.

To help ensure satisfactory progress towards the degree, students are required to submit to the Graduate Director a Ph.D. Roadmap once each semester, completed in consultation with their advisor.

After satisfactory completion of the 895 paper, students are admitted to candidacy and write a proposal for a dissertation, which a faculty member agrees to supervise. Students enroll in LING 899 while working on the dissertation, and must take at least 12 credits of this course. The dissertation must make a substantial and original contribution to knowledge. The supervisor, in consultation with other committee members (selected by the student and the supervisor), determines when there is a draft which will be defended publicly at an oral examination. The dissertation is approved by a five member examining committee. On completion of the approved dissertation, a hard copy will be submitted to the department, along with a 2nd hard copy or else an electronic version for the department web page.



Facilities and Special Resources

In addition to university and departmental library facilities, linguists at Maryland have ample office and meeting spaces. The department has outstanding resources for interdisciplinary research that bridges theoretical, experimental, and computational linguistics. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Language (CNL) Laboratory has the specific purpose of bridging the gap between theoretical/computational models of human language and the brain-level mechanisms that support language. The research in the CNL Lab combines the study of linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, language acquisition and psycholinguistics, genetic disorders and computational modeling. The CNL Lab is housed in around 5000 sf. of labs and offices and includes the following:

  1. Event-Related Potentials (ERP) Lab: 128-channel Neuroscan ERP facility for recording electrical signals originating in the brain by measuring electrical activity at the scalp.
  2. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Lab: a 160-channel whole-head MEG facility that is used for non-invasive measurements of the magnetic fields associated with neuronal activity in the brain.
  3. Head-mounted Eye Tracking Lab: lightweight eye-tracker suitable for use with children and adults.
  4. Fixed Eye Tracking Lab: eye-tracker suitable for on-line studies of reading.
  5. Center for Young Children: state-of-the-art on-campus preschool for 3-6 year olds, with testing rooms suitable for study of language acquisition.
  6. Infant Language Lab: for testing infants and young children.
  7. Phonetic/Speech Analysis facilities: equipment for generation, recording, manipulation and analysis of speech sounds.

In addition to the facilities available at the CNL Lab itself, Maryland linguists have taken advantage of the many additional research opportunities in closely affiliated departments and institutions, in particular at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), located in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. These include fMRI brain imaging, PET brain imaging and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) at NIH, and aphasia research in collaboration with NIH researchers.

Computational Linguistics

The department also runs two computational linguistics laboratories housing state-of-the art facilities funded by the NSF and DARPA. The Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) laboratories contain state of the art computing facilities and data resources.

Financial Assistance

Initial offers of admission and financial aid are normally made in February-April. Further offers are sometimes made at a later date, if additional funds become available. In recent years, around 6-8 new students have started the Ph.D. program each year.

Financial aid (tuition + stipend) is available on a competitive basis. The department aims to provide graduate students with financial aid (stipend + tuition) during their full course of study (5 years), provided that the student makes satisfactory academic progress. Graduate funding comes from a number of sources. The Department offers Graduate Assistantships (GAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs). GAs typically involve teaching service in undergraduate linguistics courses. RA positions typically involve research associated with a grant-supported faculty research project. Also available are Graduate Fellowships. The University offers a number of these to outstanding applicants, which release the student from GA or RA responsibilities for 1-2 years of study. Other sources of funding are occasionally available through the Department or University. Also, a number of students come to the Department with funding of their own from external fellowships.

Fellowships and GAs provide 12 and 10 credits of tuition remission respectively per semester. In additions to tuition remission, the Graduate Assistantship comes with Health benefits. The student is responsible for approximately $440.00 in mandatory student fees per semester.

The Department sets aside a portion of its operating budget to support travel by faculty and graduate students to present papers at conferences. Any member of the Department can request support for this purpose. Graduate students may also apply for university travel awards for this purpose.

Contact Statement

The Department’s web site, Maryland Linguistics, contains a good deal of information on the program, but if you have further questions about Graduate Study in the Department, you should contact Dr. Jeffrey Lidz ( Alternatively, if you have a particular interest in the research of an individual faculty member, you may want to contact that person directly via email.



Dr. Jeffrey Lidz

Linguistics Dept.,University of Maryland,

1401 Marie Mount Hall,College Park,

MD, 20742

Telephone: (301) 405-7002(301) 405-8

Fax: (301) 405-7104


Associated Information




Syntax; Phonology; Semantics; Language Acquisition; Parsing; Comparative Grammar; Morphology; Computational Linguistics; Experimental Psycholinguistics; Neurolinguistics; Phonetics


Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP)

Neurosciences and Cognitive Science (NACS)

Second Language Acquisition (SLPH)