Graduate Studies

Why McGill Linguistics?

Graduate Student Handbook

Programs

PhD

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Linguistics

For more information see the Handbook

MA

Master of Arts (M.A.) Linguistics (Non-Thesis) (45 Credits)

For more information see the Handbook

Qualifying Year

Applicants whose application files show strong evidence for truly outstanding potential despite a lack of background in linguistics may be considered for admission to a Qualifying Year (QY).  Several students have successfully used this program to transition into the field of linguistics from other fields (e.g., from Math, or Political Science). The QY in Linguistics is very small and very selective - we typically admit no more than one QY student per year, and sometimes none. 

The application procedure for the Qualifying Year is the same as for our M.A. and Ph.D. program, with an application deadline that is usually in early December, to be admitted for the fall term of the following year. We do not offer funding for the QY.

The Qualifying year permits students to make up the gaps in their background by taking appropriate undergraduate courses. Students in the QY will normally be required to take the following undergraduate courses: Phonetics (LING 330), Phonology I (LING 331), Syntax I (LING 371), Introduction to Semantics (LING 360), Morphology (LING 440), plus three other courses. 

Students typically take a QY in order to apply for a M.A. or a Ph.D, program in Linguistics in the following year. Admission to the QY does not automatically guarantee subsequent admission to our M.A. or Ph.D. program.

For more information see the Handbook

Courses

500 Level Courses

500 level courses are high-level seminar courses, usually intended for students in honours programs and graduate level students.

Course Syllabus
LING 520 Sociolinguistics 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 521 Dialectology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 530 Acoustic Phonetics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 531 Phonology 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 555 Language Acquisition 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 565 Pragmatics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 571 Syntax 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

600 Level Courses

Course Syllabus
LING 601 Graduate Research Seminar 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 602 Graduate Research Seminar 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 605 M.A. Research 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 606 M.A. Research 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 607 M.A. Research Paper 9 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 610 Linguistic Field Research 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 619 Experimental Ling.:Foundations 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 620 Experimental Ling.: Methods 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 630 Phonetics 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 631 Phonology 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 635 Phonetics and Phonology 4 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 640 Fundamentals of Morphology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 645 Computational Research on Lang 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 650 Testing Theories in the Lab 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 651 Topics in Acquis of Phonology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 655 Theory of L2 Acquisition 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 660 Semantics 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 661 Advanced Formal Methods 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 665 Semantics 4 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 671 Syntax 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 675 Syntax 4 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 682 Selected Topics 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 683 Selected Topics 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 688 Tutorial 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

700 Level Courses

Course Syllabus
LING 706 Ph.D. Evaluation 1
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 707 Ph.D. Evaluation 2
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 710 Language Acquisition Issues 2 2 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 721 Advanced Seminar 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 735 Seminar in Phonology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 751 Advanced Sem.: Experimental 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 752 Advanced Sem.: Experimental 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 765 Seminar in Semantics 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 775 Seminar in Syntax 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 782 Selected Topics 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 783 Selected Topics 4 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 788 Tutorial 2 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 
LING 789 Tutorial 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

Resources

Admissions

We only accept applications for Fall admission. In other words, all successful applicants must start in September each year.

All supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to the online application system (complete instructions here).

For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents please see the Preparing to Apply page.

Paper copies of supporting documents will not be accepted as part of your application.

Applicants for direct admission to the MA or PhD program in linguistics should normally have completed a B.A. with a specialization in linguistics. Applications are also invited from students with a background in other disciplines. Strong candidates who do not satisfy all requirements may be required to take additional undergraduate courses.

Certain candidates whose application files show strong evidence for truly outstanding potential despite a lack of background in linguistics may be considered for admission to a Qualifying Year (QY) program. The QY program in Linguistics is very small and very selective - we typically admit no more than one QY student per year, and quite often none at all. The QY program permits students to make up the gaps in their background by taking appropriate undergraduate courses. A QY student will reapply to the graduate program in the following year. Admission to the QY program does not automatically guarantee subsequent admission to the MA or PhD.

Admission decisions are based on grades, statement of research interests, writing sample, and letters of reference from faculty members who are familiar with the applicant's work and potential. GRE scores are not required.

Admission is competitive, and normally restricted to students whose intended research areas relate closely to the research interests of faculty members. Our acceptance rate is usually less than 15% of applicants. In recent years, only candidates with a CGPA of at least 3.5 (on 4) have been admitted. Non-Canadian applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed a degree (undergraduate or graduate) at a recognized institution where English is the language of instruction must submit proof of competence in oral and written English. A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 575 (paper based), an iBT TOEFL score of at least 93 overall with not less than 22 for each component score (i.e. Writing, Reading, Speaking, Listening), an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) overall band score of at least 7.0, or the equivalent in other tests, is acceptable as proof of English proficiency. McGill’s requirements for proof of English proficiency can be found here. Note that the requirements of the Linguistics Department are higher than the minimum required by the University.

Supervisory Procedure

The McGill online application system allows applicants to specify a 'Supervisor Preference', but this is not required for our program. Different programs have different supervisory procedures, as is explained here.

In our Ph.D. program, students do not commit to a dissertation supervisor until after their evaluation papers are done (typically in year 3), just as in many other graduate programs in linguistics. Before this, students have a preliminary first-year advisor to help them navigate through the program, and then choose supervisors for their evaluation papers depending on the paper topics during year 2 and year 3. Similarly, MA students only have to commit to an advisor in the second half of the first year (see our graduate student handbook for more details).

Applicants could still mention one or more potential supervisors under 'Supervisor Preference' on the online application system if there are faculty members whose areas of research fit well with their own research interests, or who they have contacted before applying. But this is not a requirement, and it does not commit students in any way with respect to who they will work with once they join the program. Admission decisions are made by the entire department, so who you specify under 'Supervisor Preference' will not affect your chances of being accepted. Applicants are encouraged, nevertheless, to familiarize themselves with our faculty profiles and what types of research are done in our department on our webpage, and to contact a faculty member, if necessary, to get your specific questions about his or her research areas in our program answered.

Application

Applications must include the following:

  1. Application form and fee: Applicants must submit the application form online, including the application fee (MasterCard or Visa credit card). Applying to McGill on the web
  2. CV
  3. Transcripts: See detailed instructions here.
  4. Two letters of recommendation: Applicants must arrange for two instructors who are familiar with their work to upload letters of recommendation to the McGill admissions processing system. On the application form you must provide the names and email addresses of at least two professors who are familiar with your academic work. McGill will contact these referees and invite them to upload the references on your behalf.
  5. Statement of research interests: The official University term for this requirement is Research Proposal. Statements of research interests should primarily focus on intellectual interests and research plans. We encourage specific, focused, and well-reasoned statements, in which applicants describe their research interests in some detail. Autobiographical material is only useful where it is clearly relevant to the proposed research plan. Avoid general comments, bibliographical lists or personal anecdotes. Applicants must submit a statement of research interests (1 to 2 pages), in which they explain:
    • Their relevant background for graduate studies in linguistics
    • Their research interests and goals
  6. Writing sample: Applicants must also submit a writing sample in English, such as a published paper, a term paper for a class, an MA thesis, or any other research paper written by the applicant (co-authored papers are not acceptable). The paper will preferably be about linguistics; it should demonstrate the applicant's ability to pursue serious scholarly inquiry.
  7. Proof of proficiency in English (if applicable): See detailed instructions on the English Language Proficiency page.  The institutional code for McGill University is 0935-00.

For more information, email the gradprogram.linguistics [at] mcgill.ca (Graduate Program Coordinator).

FAQ

Do we require a General Record Examination (GRE) score?

No, we do not require a GRE score.

Do we accept international students?

Yes, we accept international students.

Visit McGill's Future Graduate Students website for more information.  

May I send my TOEFL/IELTS scores after the deadline?

No, all supporting documents must be submitted by the deadline. There are no exceptions.

For more information, visit the English Language Proficiency guidelines. 

Do I need to contact a potential supervisor prior to submitting my application?

We do not require applicants to contact a 'potential supervisor', if an applicant is interested in working with a specific researcher feel free to mention it in your statement of research interests.

Funding

At McGill University, we are committed to helping you finance your education. We offer our research students the most competitive and generous funding in Quebec. Our funding, coupled with Montreal’s low cost of living, makes graduate studies at McGill a wise educational investment.

In the Linguistics Department, we provide five years of funding for PhD students and one year and eight months of funding for MA students (covering living expenses, tuition and fees), provided that students do not have external fellowships. All successful applicants are automatically considered for relevant funding. At the same time, we strongly recommend applicants to look for funding from external sources. In the past, students have been very successful in obtaining funding from sources such as SSHRC, FQRSC, NSF, Government of Canada Awards, Commonwealth Scholarships, etc.

There is no funding for students in the Qualifying Year program.

For details of our funding policy and the amounts involved, see Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook , section 5: Policy for Funding of Graduate Students.

Funding for graduate students in our department comes from a variety of sources:

Fellowships

The Department has a number of recruitment fellowships, full fellowships and top-up fellowships (funded by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and by the Faculty of Arts) to assign each year, to incoming and continuing students.

TAs and RAs

The department has a number of positions for Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants.

Travel funding

Some travel funding is available to allow students to present at scholarly conferences. See Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook , section 7, for details.

Awards

Cremona Memorial Fellowship in Linguistics

Established in 2002 by a bequest from Isida Bernardinis Cremona, B.A. 1965, M.A. 1967. Eligibility: Awarded by the Department of Linguistics to an outstanding graduate student registered in the Ph.D. or M.A. program in Linguistics. Value: Minimum $6,000.

Lara Riente Memorial Prize in Linguistics

Established in 2002 by family, friends, fellow students, professors and the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation in memory of Lara Riente, B.A. 1992, M.A. 2001. Lara was a gifted graduate of the Department of Linguistics whose sudden and tragic death was mourned by all who knew her. Eligibility: Awarded by the Faculty of Arts Scholarships committee on the recommendation of the Department of Linguistics on the basis of high academic standing to a graduate or an undergraduate student enrolled in a full-time degree program in Linguistics. Preference shall be given to students in Neurolinguistics and/or Morphology. Value: Minimum $500.

Past award recipients can be found here