Graduate Admissions: Prerequisites

Admission Standards

The website of the Faculty of Graduate Studies outlines the minimum academic admission requirements for applicants from Canada and the USA as well as for applicants from other countries. However, meeting these minimum requirements is by no means a guarantee for admission to the Linguistics graduate program. Our application process is very competitive, and in a typical year fewer than 10% of qualified applicants are admitted. As a department we carefully take into consideration all components of each application (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, and the writing sample), and our eventual decision is never based on a single factor in isolation.


Course Requirements

Applicants to both the Ph.D. and the M.A. programs are normally expected to have done substantive coursework in the areas of linguistics that form the theoretical core of our program: syntax, phonology, phonetics, and semantics (roughly the of equivalent UBC’s undergraduate courses LING 200, LING 201, LING 300, LING 311, LING 313, and LING 327; a course in formal logic may be substituted for LING 327). However, students who lack background in one or two of these areas may still be admitted, but they will have to take the relevant undergraduate courses during the first year of their program. Your application can be further strengthened by additional coursework in other areas of linguistics, training in linguistic fieldwork or experimental methods, and courses in neighbouring disciplines (such as psychology, philosophy, computer science, anthropology, or individual languages).


Additional Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

Applicants to the Ph.D. program are normally required to have a Master’s degree, or at least one year of training at the graduate level. In exceptional cases, applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree who have very strong grades may be admitted to the Ph.D. program. However, the more common route for applicants without a Master’s degree who are interested in pursuing doctoral studies is to apply for a transfer directly into the second year of the Ph.D. program after completing the first year of the M.A. program.


English Proficiency Requirement (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

See the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for information about the English profiency requirement. The minimum standard required by the Department of Linguistics is the same as the minimum set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


GRE Not Required

The Linguistics Department does not require applicants to do the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). However, if you have done this test, you are encouraged to submit your test scores with your application.


Diploma Program in Linguistics

Prospective applicants who do not have sufficient course background in linguistics to be admitted to our graduate program may consider taking UBC’s Diploma Program in Linguistics first. This program is specifically intended for students with a Bachelor’s degree in a different field who want to do the core courses of the undergraduate linguistics major in order to prepare for graduate studies in linguistics, second-language teaching, speech-language pathology or audiology. Please note however that completion of the Diploma program in no way guarantees admission to our graduate program. Students in the Diploma program are not eligible for financial support from the department.