Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applications?

In order to apply to the graduate program in the Department of Linguistics, you must apply via our online application. Applications for the one- or two-year stand-alone MA programs are due by March 15, 2022, and admissions will be considered on a rolling basis.  Two-year MA applicants who submit by February 28, 2022 will be notified of the resulting decision in time to attend a prospective student day in the spring. Two-year MA applicants who meet the March 15 deadline will be notified by April 1, 2022. Applicants may be required to participate in an interview as part of the admission process. It is important that you begin your application process early so that tests results are submitted in advance of the deadline and enough time is allowed for your recommenders to submit their letters. 

When will I hear what decision has been made about admission?

All applicants will be notified in late April, at the latest. Decisions on financial aid are not made before March.

I have transcripts and other materials to send through regular mail. What address should I use?

All application materials, including transcripts, should be uploaded via the online application.  If there are documents that will not upload properly, first contact the Technology Help Desk in ApplyYourself. If your writing sample is too large for an upload, you can send a portion of your writing sample.  See question below about writing samples.

What are the prerequisites for entry into the program?

For the MA program, the applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent.  A minimum grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4-point scale) is the academic requirement for admission to full graduate study.  For the PhD program, evidence of excellent potential for doctoral-level study in linguistics and a good fit between the applicant's scholarly interests and those of relevant faculty is the major substantive criteria for an admission.

You do not need an undergraduate major in Linguistics to apply to Pitt’s Linguistics Graduate Program.  Students who enter our program often have degrees in a variety of modern languages, English, anthropology, psychology or education.

What is the relative importance of disciplinary background, grade point average, letters of recommendation,  and English language proficiency scores?

All of these factors are important, but a good score on one of them can compensate for a weak showing on some other factor. If English is not one of the applicant’s first languages, we also consult the TOEFL or IELTS score for further information on verbal proficiency.

Is the GRE required for admission?

No, the GRE is no longer a requirement for admission to the MA or PhD programs.

What about financial aid?

View information on financial aid »

I am applying for a degree program. Do I need to apply for funding separately?

All applicants to the graduate program are considered for departmental funding as teaching assistants or for Arts and Sciences fellowships by checking the box under the Financial Aid section on the Apply Yourself application. There is no separate application for funding.

How much is the monthly stipend for TAs and TFs?

Learn more about current stipend and funding info. Students can elect to receive these funds over the course of 8 or 12 months

Can I apply for spring semester admission?

No. Because of our course sequencing we only admit in the fall.

Where can I see detailed course descriptions?

Visit the University's Graduate Catalog at: 

How long does the program take to complete?

Other than our one-year MA/TESOL program, our MA programs usually take 2 years to complete and they have a four year statute of limitation.  The PhD program takes from 5-6 years to complete and has an eight year statute of limitation.

What program do I check on the online application if I want to apply to the MA/PhD program?

Choose the "PhD program."

What kind of writing sample should I submit?

The best form is a research paper of 10-20 pages that you wrote for a class and that shows congtrol of an academic style such as MLA, APA, etc. Shorter reports provide less insight into your ability to develop a set of ideas. 

I would like to get conditional admission until I improve my English.

We do not offer conditional admissions. English fluency is an important part of our admissions.

I am an international student. What is your requirement for the English language test score?

For admission to graduate study in the Department of Linguistics at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, a recommended TOEFL score of 90 (with a score of at least 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing) is required for all applicants. If taking IELTS instead of TOEFL, the minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections) is required for all applicants.

For admission to graduate study in the MA in TESOL or the MA in Applied Linguistics with TESOL Certificate programs, the recommended TOEFL score is 95 or higher on the iBT TOEFL (Skill Requirements: Reading and Listening – 22 or above; Speaking and Writing – one skill must be at the level of Advanced) and the recommended IELTS Score is 7 or higher on the IELTS (Skill Requirements: Speaking and Writing – combined minimum of 13). 

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.

Contact us

If you have further questions, please contact the Graduate Administrator, Michael Orbin, at

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