How to Apply

Requirements for Admission

The graduate program in Linguistics admits only students whose goal is the Ph.D. degree. We do not offer a stand alone M.A. program.

Students are admitted with a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, typically in Linguistics or a related cognitive science. Some students have a Master’s degree already, but an MA is not required for admission to the program.

The statement of purpose (also called a “personal statement”) is considered carefully to ensure that the applicant’s goals are compatible with the strengths of our program. See Preparing for Graduate Study for more information about preparing your dossier, including tips for writing your statement of purpose.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with our faculty and areas of research expertise, and state clearly who you want to work with at UW-Madison and why.

Your writing sample should be a sample of your academic writing in linguistics or a related field.

Your letters of recommendation should come from people familiar with your academic strengths and research promise, as well as your overall character.

Note that as of the Fall 2022 admission cycle, GRE scores are no longer required as part of the application to the Linguistics PhD program.

Application Items

  • Your statement of purpose
  • A writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic transcripts
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable (See the Graduate School’s requirement page to check if English proficiency tests are required for your situation)
(Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

How to Apply

Timeline: New students are admitted for Fall term only. The deadline for receipt of all materials is December 23. The admission portal usually opens each year in October.

Online application: Application materials are submitted online directly to the Graduate School. For links to start the application process, see the Graduate School’s Admission page:

Start the Application Process

Application fee waivers are available for U.S. residents (including DACA students) from low-income backgrounds. Please note that international applicants are not eligible for fee waivers. See the Graduate School’s Applying for a Fee Grant page for more information about eligibility and a form to apply.

Interviews: Some applicants may be contacted by faculty for virtual interviews.

Notification: Students receiving a decision in the first round of review are usually notified of their status in February. Admitted students have until April 15 to accept their offer. A small number of students may be placed on a waitlist for admission; offers may be extended to students on the waitlist if spots become available, up until April 15.

International Students

Please note that international applicants are required to have sufficient funds to cover expenses completely while attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison. International applicants are not eligible for application fee waivers. For more information specific to international applicants, see the Graduate School’s International Students page.

Additional Questions? Contact Graduate Coordinator Rebecca Shields.