The School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures offers a rigorous doctoral program in theoretical linguistics, drawing on work in syntax, phonology, phonetics, morphology and more to train authoritative scholars with a comprehensive understanding of the discipline. Our program also has a long tradition of field work-based research and work closely with speakers, collaborators and educators in our local First Nations communities. PhD students take six courses and conduct two small-scale independent research projects as part of their candidacy requirements. Post-candidacy, students complete a doctoral thesis, based on original research, which is expected to make a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of linguistics. Students benefit from a low student-to-faculty ratio that ensures personalized attention to each student's academic needs and research goals. Students are expected to complete the program within four years; we guarantee funding packages of $22,000/year for four years.
Outcomes and next steps
A PhD in linguistics will qualify you for a post-doctoral or faculty position in academia.
Linguistics PhDs also have the skills to pursue a variety of non-academic career paths. Students interested in the computational side of linguistics may work on speech recognition, speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing or computer-mediated language learning. Students interested in language education may teach English as a Second language or develop educational materials, train language teachers, or work on assessment methods for more effectively teaching language. Linguists may also work in translation or interpretation. Field linguists work on the preservation of endangered languages by conducting fieldwork, documenting a language, or establishing literacy programs for endangered language communities. Linguists also work in speech-language pathology, audiology, publishing, law, national security, medicine, editing, market research, and the film industry.
A PhD in linguistics is usually considered a final degree.
Introduction to Graduate Studies in Linguistics, Advanced Syntactical Analysis and Advanced Phonological Analysis.
Knowledge of a language other than English demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Students will be required to submit and defend an original thesis.
Topics may include semantics, morphology, language acquisition, historical linguistics, quantitative modelling and others.
Students complete a primary and a secondary research paper, which they defend in a Field of Study examination. Students must also complete a written thesis research proposal.
Admission requirements and information
Requirements for the Linguistics Program
A minimum of 3. GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.
A master’s degree in linguistics, or a master’s degree in a related field with significant training in linguistics at the graduate level, normally including at least one graduate course in syntax and one graduate course in phonology.
A sample of previous work in linguistics or a related field (e.g., a seminar paper or Master of Arts thesis).
A statement of purpose specifying the applicant’s research interests and reasons for wishing to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Calgary
English language proficiency
An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:
TOEFL score of 86 (Internet-based) and a minimum of 5.0 on the Test of Written English (TWE) or 560 (paper-based). Our institution code is 081
All graduate students must pay general fees each year, as well as program fees.
Estimate for full-time students
Canadian and permanent resident
12 months of study
First 12 months of study
For first year of studies
General fees and program fees
General fees are annual and per-term fees. Annual fees are paid once per year, while per-term are paid each term (3 terms per year).
Program fees cover standard academic costs. Textbooks and other course material costs are not included.
What are annual continuing fees?
Domestic Continuing Fees: $1,627 CAD
International Continuing Fees: $3,693 CAD
Continuing fees apply in the first term following completion of candidacy requirements.
The Graduate Program in Linguistics offers excellent financial support packages to qualified applicants on a competitive basis. We guarantee support packages of at least $22,000 annually for PhD students (first 4 years of program).
Fees listed here are estimates only, and have been rounded to the nearest dollar. These amounts should not be considered accurate. All amounts are in Canadian Dollars.
Fees are subject to change.
For more details and the most accurate information go to the Academic Calendar
For more general information, see our Fees and Funding Guide
Have you made your final decision and you’re ready to apply?