Graduate Admissions


The deadline to apply is December 10th, 2024.

The application system will be open as of September 15th, 2024.


We only accept PhD, Masters and Visiting/Exchange/Special student applications for Fall admission. In other words, all successful applicants must start in September each year. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered. 

All supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to McGill's online application system.

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.

The English proficiency requirements for admission to the department are the same as the McGill requirements for all entering graduate students, with the following differences: if you are using the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to demonstrate proficiency, an IBT (Internet-Based Test) score of at least 93 overall with not less than 22 for each component score is required. If you are using the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), a band score of 7.0 or greater (Academic module) is required.  Note that the requirements of the Linguistics Department are higher than the minimum required by the University. Note that the Duolingo English Test (DET) is not accepted for admission to graduate programs at McGill University.


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). For the full application guidelines, visit the Preparing to Apply page. 
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  3. Transcripts
    Visit the Future Graduate Students website for more information regarding international credentials and grade equivalencies. 
  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)
    The institutional code for McGill University is 0935-00.

If you have any questions, email the gradprogram.linguistics [at] (Graduate Program Coordinator).

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.


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:


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.

What we do not do

Please note that the Department of Linguistics does not offer training in applied linguistics and language teaching. At McGill, these areas are covered in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (


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

We do not require a GRE score.

Do we accept international students?

Yes, we welcome international students to apply to our graduate program. The application process remains the same for all applicants, as described in the Application tab. You can also refer to the Future Graduate Students page on Applying and Admissions for general guidelines.

Visit McGill's Future Graduate Students website for more information with regards to international applications.

For details about the services provided to international students accepted to McGill, visit the International Student Services website. 

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

All supporting documents must be submitted by the deadline. There are no exceptions. 

Please make sure to schedule your test well in advance in order to receive your results in a timely fashion. Consult either the ETS TOEFL or IELTS websites for the approximate length of time it takes for score reports to be sent electronically to McGill University. 

For more information, view the English Language Proficiency guidelines. 

May I send my supporting documents via email?

Supporting documents sent via email will not be accepted as part of your application. All applications and documentation should be uploaded through uApply.

Please review the guidelines outlined on the Ready to Apply? page, as well as the Submitting Documents page on the Future Graduate Students website. 

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.

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