Application Process

In order to apply to the graduate program in the Department of Linguistics, you must apply via our online application. The deadline for graduate applications is typically December 15 for the following academic year or, if December 15 falls on a weekend or holiday, the first working day following December 15. Applicants may be required to participate in an interview as part of the admission process.

All Applicants

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

Online Application »

  • $50 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.
  • Official GRE scores from ETS are required. The GRE reporting code for Pitt is 2927. We do not have cut off scores, but students who are competitive for our program normally have scores close to 160 on the Verbal, 144 on the Quantitative, and 4.5 on the Analytical sections of the GRE. For students whose native language is not English, we also consult the TOEFL or IELTS score for further information on verbal proficiency.
  • 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.
  • Proposed Area of Specialization: This field is not required by ApplyYourself. However, we request that you enter a specialization. After you choose your Academic Plan (Hispanic Linguistics-MA; Hispanic Linguistics-PhD; Linguistics-MA; Linguistics-PhD)—the next field is “Proposed Area of Specialization”. You will see a list of choices and you should click on the field or fields you prefer. If no choices appear in the pick list, please type your specialization in the next text field.
    • NOTE: If you are interested in only a Master’s degree under the Proposed Area of Specialization, you would choose Applied Linguistics-MA. However, if you are interested in a Master’s Degree with a TESOL certificate, you should choose “Applied Linguistics with TESOL-MA under the Proposed Area of Specialization. If admitted, you will be admitted to our Master’s program and upon arrival, we will process your enrollment in the TESOL Certificate.
  • If you are applying for the Hispanic Linguistics Program and Spanish is not your native language, you must supply evidence of Spanish proficiency.

International Applicants

Additional materials needed for International Applicants

Submission of the TOEFL or IELTS is a University requirement for all applicants whose native language is not English. 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.

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 Admissions Administrator, Allison Thompson 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!