Deadline for submitting an application is Sunday December 9th/2018

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.

A note on 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.

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

For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents please see:

The application process for Fall 2019 will open via uApply on September 15th/2018 - our deadline is Sunday December 9th/2018

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

See detailed instructions here.

3. 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.

4. Statement of research interests (the official University term for this requirement is Research Proposal)

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

NOTE : 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.

5. 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. 

6. 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: gradprogram.linguistics [at] (Graduate Program Coordinator)