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The Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan, founded in 1963, has 17 research faculty, 11 adjunct faculty, over 30 Ph.D. students, and more than 100 undergraduate concentrators. The doctoral program provides broad training in linguistics as both a cognitive and a social science. Students formulate and test theories of linguistic knowledge, variation, and use by drawing on observational, experimental, and computational methods. In the 60-year history of Linguistics at U-M, roughly 300 Ph.D.'s in Linguistics have been awarded.

Graduate student life is enriched by our Linguistics Graduate Student Organization (GLaM) and regular events such as department colloquia and research group meetings.

Degrees Offered

The Linguistics Department offers a Ph.D. in Linguistics. Student-initiated combined degree programs are also possible (for example: Linguistics and Anthropology; Linguistics and Psychology, Linguistics and Romance Languages). 

The University of Michigan also provides students with diverse opportunities to acquire expertise in other areas that can complement their linguistics education, including a wide range of graduate certificate programs such as a certificate in Cognitive Science or in Women's Studies.

The Department does not accept M.A. applications.


Fields of Study

The graduate program focuses on linguistics as a cognitive and social science. We offer strong theoretical grounding in phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics, as well as the opportunity to investigate the intersection of these fields with language contact, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and computational linguistics.

The program at Michigan takes a strongly interdisciplinary approach. Thus, in addition to the areas described above, the research of many faculty and students bridge these areas. In support of interdisciplinary research, close ties are maintained with the Departments of AnthropologyComputer SciencePhilosophy, and Psychology, as well as the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, the language departments, and the English Language Institute.

Many of our faculty specialize in particular languages or language areas, including Chinese, Germanic, Indo-Aryan, Romance, and Salishan languages, and languages of North West and sub-Saharan Africa. Several faculty members are also experienced fieldworkers, offering expertise in a variety of field methodologies and in the preparation of descriptive grammars and dictionaries.

More information about departmental research.