Application Process

The GradCAS application portal for will be made active in the early fall:  Please submit all application materials via GradCAS.  If you wish to be considered for a fee waiver, please review the information below for more information on that process. 

The application deadline for the PhD programs is December 15 for admission in the fall of the following year. If you are seeking an MA/PhD degree, apply for the PhD.

The deadline for MA programs is March 15 for admission in the fall of that year--however, early application to either program is strongly recommended.

All Applicants

In order for your application to be considered complete, we have provided a checklist of what you will need to submit via our online application:

  • $75 check or payment voucher if you chose to pay your application fee by credit card. You will be asked to pay this fee when you have completed the online application.
    • In an effort to reduce financial barriers to attending graduate school, the Kenneth P. Dietrich Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers application fee waivers. Please note that fee waivers are approved on a case-by-case basis and not all fee waiver requests will be granted.  All requests received will be reviewed and responded to within 48 hours during normal business hours: Monday - Friday 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. EST.  To be considered for a fee waiver, please complete the following fee waiver survey for review:
  • Upload copies of your undergraduate transcripts and when applicable, graduate transcripts, with your online application. Certified transcripts and translations of all undergraduate and graduate study are required if you are accepted to the program. We will request these certified copies at the time of the formal admission.
  • Three forms/letters of recommendation are required. You should submit the names of three referees with your online application for admission. The recommendation form we ask to be included with each letter of recommendation is available for download as a pdf file once you begin your online application process. Referees should submit their recommendations electronically.
  • Career/Research Statement
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume is required. We need this information to decide on appropriate financial aid packages.
  • Writing Sample: Because your success in our program will depend on your writing skills, all applicants must submit a sample of written academic work. Preferably this example will be on a linguistic topic, but it need not be. The writing sample should demonstrate your ability in academic prose and argument.
  • If you are applying for the Hispanic Linguistics Program and Spanish is not one of your first languages, you must supply evidence of Spanish proficiency.

If you are having issues with any part of your on-line application for the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences please reach out to the GradCas Applicant Help center:  If you cannot find the answer to your question you can also contact them by phone 857-304-2086 or via email:  For the quickest response it is best to contact them via chat on the Applicant Help center page.

Additional materials needed for International Applicants

Submission of the TOEFL or IELTS is a University requirement for all applicants for whom English is not one of their first languages. The required minimum TOEFL score for admission to graduate study in the Department of Linguistics is 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing). The required minimum IELTS score is 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections). Please enter your scores in the TOEFL or IELTS section of the online application. An official copy of the test score must be sent directly from ETS or IELTS to our department. The institution code is 2927. Personal copies of test scores are not acceptable. TOEFL and IELTS scores submitted must not be more than two years old.

English Language Proficiency: In recognition of physical and financial constraints experienced by many international applicants with regard to conventional test options, the Dietrich School will accept the Duolingo English Test as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS for the 2020/21 application season. The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken on demand in ca. one hour (requires computer with camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection). It involves an adaptive test via a graded section that evaluates applicants’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills (45 mins) and a video interview recording answers to open-ended questions (10 mins).Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. For more information, please visit Duolingo’s website. The minimum Duolingo score acceptable for admission to Department of Linguistics MA programs in AY2021 is 120.  (Candidates with very strong preparation in linguistics and or Teaching Experience may be considered on a case-by-case basis if they have at least 115 on the Duolingo test.) Applicants must share their Duolingo test results either by uploading them as a PDF under ‘Additional Information’ in their online application (preferable) or by sending the test results in PDF format to the Graduate Administrator for the admitting program.

NOTE: If you wish to apply for the MA in Applied Linguistics with TESOL Certificate, the requirement is 100 on the IBT and 7 on the IELTS.

Only applicants who have recently received a degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States are exempt from submission of the TOEFL and this requirement is also waived for certain countries where the medium of university instruction is English, for example the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, as well as some universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Singapore and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

International Graduate Student Financial Information

Upon learning of your decision with regard to our recommendation, we will forward your information to the Office of International Services (OIS). At that point, you will be contacted by OIS directly on how to submit your financial documentation. Find more information on the financial requirement.

Please refer to our Admission FAQ’s for additional information. For further questions, email the Graduate Student Administrator, Michael Orbin, at

For information specific to our programs, please visit the pages of the MA Degree (Applied Linguistics or Hispanic Linguistics), PhD Degree, MA/PhD Degree and TESOL Certificate.

Living in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh offers a wonderful combination of 'big city' advantages and choices and 'small town' atmosphere and friendliness. Learn more about life in Pittsburgh!