Ph.D. Program

Rowers on Lake Mendota

Students in our graduate program receive strong foundational training in all major subfields of linguistic theory, and work closely with a faculty advisor to develop an individualized program of advanced research tailored to the student’s goals and experience. Students have access to Language Sciences faculty from across campus and extensive research opportunities at our world-renowned institution.

The degree can generally be completed in 5-6 years, and is comprised of 3-4 years of coursework (including two original research papers defended before a preliminary exam committee), plus 2 additional years for dissertation preparation and defense.


All admitted students are offered a 5-year full funding package. This includes tuition remission and a yearly stipend, as well as access to benefits including health insurance. The funding package usually includes a combination of fellowship, teaching assistantships, and/or research assistantships. (Note that students funded through an assistantship will receive tuition remission, but will be required to pay segregated fees, which are prorated by credit.) Teaching assistantships are available for Linguistics 101, as well as for courses in other departments such as English, Psychology, and world language departments, depending on the specific student’s prior training and skills.

Funding is also available to support graduate student research and conference travel.

The UW-Madison Arboretum in Spring

Careers and Professional Development

Graduate student Jae Weller presenting their research at MidPhon 22

A doctoral degree in Linguistics can prepare students for language science research and teaching positions in higher education, as well as for work in private and public sector fields. You can peruse a sampling of career paths for our doctoral alumni on the Graduate Alumni page.

Students in our program receive training and experience in teaching at the college level, conducting research using various methodologies, and presenting their work at academic conferences.

For students who hold the MA degree, lectureships are also available for summer (and occasionally Fall or Spring semester) teaching in Linguistics.