Admissions

Students interested in the Department of Linguistics graduate programs must meet the minimum admission requirements and follow the application procedures below.

Our application process is very competitive. Typically, we admit fewer than 10% of qualified applicants. We carefully take into consideration all components of each application and our eventual decision is never based on a single factor in isolation.

MA Admission Requirements

Students interested in our masters’ programs must meet the below requirements and submit the necessary supplemental documents in their online application.

Applicants are expected to have done substantive coursework in the areas of linguistics that form the theoretical core of our program: syntax, phonology, phonetics, and semantics. These would roughly be the equivalent to UBC’s undergraduate courses: LING 300, 311, 313, and 327. A formal logic course may be substituted for LING 327. Students who lack background in one or two of these areas may still be admitted, but 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).

MDS-CL Admission Requirements

Students interested in the Master of Data Science in Computational Linguistics (MDS-CL) must meet specific academic requirements. For full details on admission requirements, please visit the Master of Data Science department website.

PhD Admission Requirements

Students interested in our PhD programs must meet the below requirements and submit the necessary supplemental documents in their online application.

Applicants are expected to have done substantive coursework in the areas of linguistics that form the theoretical core of our program: syntax, phonology, phonetics, and semantics. These would roughly be the equivalent to UBC’s undergraduate courses: LING 300, 311, 313, and 327. A formal logic course may be substituted for LING 327. Students who lack background in one or two of these areas may still be admitted, but 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).

Applicants to the PhD 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 PhD 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 PhD program after completing the first year of the MA program.

Application Process & Documents

For both the MA and PhD programs, those interested must complete an online application. In this application you will be asked to submit the following documents: statement of intent, description of core linguistics courses, writing sample, transcripts and reference letters.

All documents can be either uploaded as scanned documents through your online application or mailed directly to the Department of Linguistics.

Please go through each section carefully and ensure that your documents are fully completed.

Each applicant must submit a short statement of purpose, approximately 300 words, which indicates what they hope to accomplish in the program. Please be as specific as possible in describing your research interests and explaining why you wish to join our department.

To assess your preparation for particular courses, it is requested that you submit the following information about previous courses in phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics:

  • Syllabi/course outlines
  • Reading list/main textbook
  • Indication of how much of the textbook was covered
  • Copy of term paper (if applicable)

Applicants are also requested to submit a copy of a representative short paper which they have written. If possible this paper should be on a linguistic topic (or on any academic topic otherwise).

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has strict requirements for admissions documents, and the procedures may be unfamiliar to those outside of North America. Detailed instructions are available on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Please note that unofficial copies of transcripts will be accepted at the time of application. However, originals will be requested if you are shortlisted for admission. When sending original transcripts, please follow the guidelines for transcripts found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. Please review the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies details on reference letters.

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application For more details and information on English proficiency requirements, please review the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

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.

Admissions FAQs

No, we do not offer any graduate courses or supervision in those areas. Consult the research page and list of permanent faculty to see which areas we focus on in research and graduate teaching.

Yes, all our departmental sources of funding are available to international students as well as Canadians. In fact, there is a high proportion of non-Canadians among our current graduate students, and we welcome applications from all countries and nationalities.

No, in our department, students choose their supervisor only when they start doing their thesis research. In the first year of their program, all students will be assigned an interim supervisor. For more details on supervision, please visit the MA and PhD program pages. If you are specifically interested in working with one or more particular faculty members in our department, we encourage you to get in touch with them. This will be especially relevant for Canadian students who are applying for SSHRC or NSERC fellowships in the year before entering the program

Generally, no. Such courses usually do not have enough linguistic theory content (i.e., syntax, semantics, phonology, or phonetics) to fulfill our admissions requirements. However, if you took language courses with substantial linguistic content, you are encouraged to supply detailed information about them in 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.

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