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Competition for PhD's in Linguistics?


NewScientist12

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Hi, all:

My girlfriend is thinking about pursuing an academic career in liguistics. How competitive are PhD programs in this field? In my field (psychology), it's not uncommon for top programs each year to admit only 1 or 2 applicants out of pools of ~50 per division. And from my experience in applying this season, it seemed that to have a shot at a decent/top program, the typical candidate had something like 1300+ GRE, 3.5+ GPA, 2 years of research exp in a couple different labs. How do linguistics programs compare in competition?

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Linguistics programs are no different, except that maybe cohorts are a little larger.

To give you an idea, UMass Amherst had 147 applicants for 7 spots. UCLA only gave offers to 5% of students who applied. (I think they gave 12 offers, not sure on their cohort size)

You can look through CVs of current grad students and the results board to get an idea of the typical candidate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My program admits ~12 students a year. Most of them are international students who already have master's degrees and fairly extensive research experience. Of the domestic students, many have some connection to our department via personal contacts, reputation of undergrad program, etc. I was kind of surprised at how important this was, and my sense is that it probably really helps to establish contact with a few professors at the program in advance of applying. The domestic students don't always have extensive research experience and usually don't have an MA, but probably have good recommendations, great grades, and most important, highly compatible research interests. I have the sense that GRE doesn't matter that much, except maybe quantitative (depending on what field of linguistics you're looking into). Of course, I cannot speak for other programs.

Good luck to both of you!

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Hi, all:

My girlfriend is thinking about pursuing an academic career in liguistics. How competitive are PhD programs in this field? In my field (psychology), it's not uncommon for top programs each year to admit only 1 or 2 applicants out of pools of ~50 per division. And from my experience in applying this season, it seemed that to have a shot at a decent/top program, the typical candidate had something like 1300+ GRE, 3.5+ GPA, 2 years of research exp in a couple different labs. How do linguistics programs compare in competition?

Are there fields that aren't competitive? For a spot in a top program, you need to demonstrate an ability to conduct serious, independent research in (at least) one subfield of linguistics. How you demonstrate that, or are required to demonstrate that, varies by school. Most top programs have profiles similar to or in excess of what you've described, and admit 4-10% of applicants. If a program has limited funding, they may admit fewer applicants. What does it matter? If this is what your girlfriend wants to do, and the faculty she's worked with think she's well-suited to it, she ought to apply to programs that will nurture her interests and go from there.

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