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FAQ about Graduate Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Would you please send me information about your Ph.D. program in linguistics?
A: The best source of information about our Graduate Program is our website. Since everything is now on the web, we no longer print hard copy materials. Under the Graduate Program link, you can obtain the full details about our Ph.D. program. The Prospective Students link has an abundance of information for those interested in applying to our program. Please feel free to contact us at if you cannot find the information you need.

Q: I am interested in applying to your graduate program. Can you send me an application?
A: The application for admission is only available online: online application. To view information about a faculty member, click on Faculty. Click on their name to go to their personal homepage for more information.

Q: What is your application deadline?
A: The application deadline is December 1 to enter the program the following Fall. All online application materials must be submitted by this date, and any items being sent by mail must be postmarked by December 1. We cannot accept additional or updated materials after the application is submitted.

Q: When does UM Linguistics hold the recruitment weekend? 
A:  The Recruitment weekend usually takes in late February, although specific dates may vary from year to year.  Candidates are included by invitation only. Activities begin early in the morning on Thursday and run through the evening on Friday. Therefore, travel for invited candidates is normally arranged for Wednesday and Saturday.

Q: Where do invited candidates stay?  
A:  Candidates invited to the recruitment weekend are housed in the homes of current UM Linguistics graduate students, as a way to increase the opportunities for candidates to learn more about the graduate program from their prospective colleagues.

Q: One of my recommenders recently informed me that he would not be able to finish his letter by the December 1st deadline. He will be able to complete it and mail it, but it may not make it to the institution by the 1st. I was wondering if that would still be acceptable?
A: The application and the fee payment are the only things that absolutely have to be in by the December 1st deadline. As long as your recommender's letter arrives by early January, you should be okay as all complete applicant files are submitted to the areas at that time. It is highly recommended, however, that your credentials arrive as close to the deadline date as possible.

Q: Are GRE scores required for my application?
A: GRE scores are no longer considered for the applications to the Linguistics PhD program.

Q: What is the minimum GPA requirement for admission to your program?
A: There is no minimum GPA requirement or cut-offs. The admissions committee takes all parts of your application into consideration and reviews it as a whole. On average, entering students have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, although there is no strict minimum requirement.

Q: I am an international student and wonder if I have to take the TOEFL?
A: Generally, students who are not native speakers of English must submit scores on the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the “Michigan Assessment Battery” (MELAB). A minimum score of 84 on the MELAB, of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL, of 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, or of 7.5 on the IELTS is normally necessary for admission. This requirement is waived for students who have earned or will earn a bachelor’s degree from a University where English is the primary language of instruction. (These required scores are higher than the Rackham Graduate School requirements list here for the English Proficiency Exam).

Q: When are applicants notified of acceptance/rejection?
A: No later than April 1st.

Q: Do you offer a Master's degree in Linguistics?
A: No, we do not offer an independent Master's degree. We offer a 5- year, fully funded Ph.D. program. However, students may request a Master's degree en route to their Ph.D.

Q: What is the institution code for the University of Michigan? 
A: 1839.

Q: What is the code for linguistics? 
A: 2903.

Q: I applied to the university in the past and would like to re-apply. Do you still have the information from my previous application?
A: We keep applications for two years. You do have to re-apply by completing a Rackham application. If you would like us to retrieve your previous application file, please send an E-mail to You should also let us know if you plan to submit additional information to your file.

Q: Where should the letters of recommendation be sent?
A: We prefer electronic submission of letters of recommendation. Be sure to register your recommenders when you fill out the online application. However, we still accept paper letters of recommendation which should be sent to:

Graduate Admissions
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
440 Lorch Hall
611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220

Q: Do letters of recommendation need to be sent directly from the recommender to your department?
A: The recommender can send them to our office or you can collect all three and mail them together in one envelope. However, the recommender's letters must be in an envelope that is individually sealed and signed.

Q: I was wondering if it would be acceptable to submit letters of recommendation through my university's Graduate Letter Service? The forms that would be completed by the recommenders would be similar, but not identical, to those with the application.
A: Yes, you can submit your letters of recommendation through your university's Graduate Letter Service.

Q: I am an international applicant. Do I have to complete the University of Michigan Statement and Certification of Finances?
A: Since our Ph.D. program is for 5 years and fully funded, you need to complete the certification form only if you are bringing dependents with you.

Q: Can you tell me where to find the Letter of Recommendation forms?
A: All forms required for an application can be found at the Rackham Graduate School website.

Q: What should I submit as my writing sample?
A: If you have written an honors or master's thesis, you should submit that. However, many of our applicants will not have written such theses. In that case, a term paper, preferably from a class in linguistics, would be best.

Q: Do you offer fellowships to students?
A: All of our incoming students are funded for 5 years through a combination of fellowships and Graduate Students Teaching/Assistant positions. This includes full tuition, medical coverage and a stipend.

Q: How many years does it take to complete the program?
A: We hope that students will finish their dissertation at the end of the fifth year, though it may take longer depending on the nature of the topic and the research methods employed.

Q: Are there funds available outside of the standard funding package available?
A: Both the Rackham Graduate School and the Department of Linguistics have funds available for purposes such as travel to a conference or for emergency expenses. Students should first apply to the Rackham Graduate School for funds before applying to the department.

Q: Can I find information on housing?
A: Housing information is available. Please follow this link.